Tag Archives: Iconic songs and the story behind them

Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division: Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Love Will Tear Us Apart

Joy Division

June 1980

Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Love Will Tear Us Apart” is a song by English rock band Joy Division, released in June 1980. Its lyrics were inspired by lead singer Ian Curtis‘ marriage problems and frame of mind before his suicide in May 1980

Recording

Joy Division first recorded “Love Will Tear Us Apart” at Pennine Studios, Oldham, on 8 January 1980, along with the B-side, “These Days”. This version was similar to the version the band played live. However, singer Ian Curtis and producer Martin Hannett disliked the results, and the band reconvened at Strawberry Studios, Stockport in March to rerecord it.

 Drummer Stephen Morris recalled:

Stephen Morris

Martin Hannett played one of his mind games when we were recording it – it sounds like he was a tyrant, but he wasn’t, he was nice. We had this one battle where it was nearly midnight and I said, “Is it all right if I go home, Martin – it’s been a long day?”

And he said [whispers], “OK … you go home”.

So I went back to the flat. Just got to sleep and the phone rings.

“Martin wants you to come back and do the snare drum”.

At four in the morning! I said,

“What’s wrong with the snare drum!?”

So every time I hear “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, I grit my teeth and remember myself shouting down the phone,

“YOU BASTARD!” …

I can feel the anger in it even now. It’s a great song and it’s a great production, but I do get anguished every time I hear it.

The guitar on the recording, a 12-string Eko guitar, was played by Bernard Sumner. While Curtis generally did not play guitar, to perform the song live, the band taught him how to strum a D major chord. Sumner said:

Ian Curtis

Ian didn’t really want to play guitar, but for some reason we wanted him to play it. I can’t remember the reason now … We showed him how to play D and we wrote a song. I wonder if that’s why we wrote “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, you could drone a D through it. I think he played it live because I was playing keyboards.

While Joy Division were recording, U2 were in the studio to see Hannett about producing their first album, Boy. U2 singer Bono said of the encounter:

Bono

Talking to Ian Curtis is … or was a strange experience because he’s very warm … he talked—it was like two people inside of him—he talked very light, and he talked very well-mannered, and very polite.

But when he got behind the microphone he really surged forth; there was another energy. It seemed like he was just two people and, you know, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, it was like [when] that record was released … it was like, as if, there were the personalities, separate; there they were, torn apart.

Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart, 1995 Remastered Version (Official Video)

Releases

12" cover

Lyrics

“Love Will Tear Us Apart”

When routine bites hard,
And ambitions are low,
And resentment rides high,
But emotions won’t grow,
And we’re changing our ways,
Taking different roads.

Then love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.

Why is the bedroom so cold?
You’ve turned away on your side.
Is my timing that flawed?
Our respect runs so dry.
Yet there’s still this appeal
That we’ve kept through our lives.

But love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.

You cry out in your sleep,
All my failings exposed.
And there’s a taste in my mouth,
As desperation takes hold.
Just that something so good
Just can’t function no more.

But love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.

Joy Division

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” became Joy Division’s first chart hit, reaching number 13 in the UK Singles Chart.

The following month, the single topped the UK Indie Chart. The song also peaked at number 42 on the Billboard disco chart in October 1980.

 “Love Will Tear Us Apart” also reached number 1 in New Zealand in June 1981.

The single was re-released in 1983 and reached number 19 on the UK charts and number 3 in New Zealand during March 1984. In 1985, the 7″ single was released in Poland by Tonpress in different sleeve under licence from Factory and sold over 20,000 copies.  In November 1988, it made one more Top 40 appearance in New Zealand, peaking at number 39.

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” appears on the Substance compilation album. It was first recorded for a John Peel session in November 1979, then re-recorded in January 1980 and March 1980. It is the latter version that appears on Substance. The January 1980 version, which has become known as the “Pennine version”, originally appeared as one of the single’s B-sides.

Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (Pennine Version)

In 1995, to publicise the release of Permanent, the track was reissued, complete with a new remix by Arthur Baker and a new radio edit, also known as the “Permanent Mix”. On 24 September 2007, the single was again reissued, in its original configuration. This time, it was to publicise the Collector’s Edition re-issues of the band’s three albums. Although the single was now issued on the Warner label, it retained the classic Factory packaging, including the FAC 23 catalogue number.

Cover photo

According to Curtis’s wife Deborah, to create the single cover photo, the song title was etched upon a sheet of metal; this was aged with acid and exposed to the weather to create the appearance of a stone slab.

 For the 12″ version of the single, a photograph of a grieving angel on the Ribaudo family tomb in Genoa‘s Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno (sculpted by Onorato Toso circa 1910) was used. This photograph was taken by Bernard Pierre Wolff in 1978.

Music video

Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

The video was shot by the band themselves on 25 April 1980 as they rehearsed the song at T.J. Davidson’s studio, where the band had previously rehearsed during the early days of their career. At the start of the video, the door that opens and shuts is carved with Ian Curtis’ name; reportedly this was the beginning of an abusive message (the rest later erased) carved into the door.

Due to poor production, the video’s colour is ‘browned out’ at some points. Also, as the track recorded during the recording of the video was poor, it was replaced with the single-edit recording of the song by the band’s record company in Australia, leading to problems with the synchronisation of music and video. This edited version of the music video would later become the official version due to the improvement of sound quality.

This was the only promotional video the band ever produced as Ian Curtis hanged himself three weeks after the video was recorded.

Legacy

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” was named NME Single of the Year in 1980, and was listed as the best single of all time by NME in 2002.

In 2004, the song was listed by Rolling Stone magazine at number 179 in its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

 In 2011, the song was listed at number 181.

In May 2007, NME placed it at number 19 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever, one place ahead of another Joy Division song, “Transmission”. The song is also listed as being one of the 5 best indie songs of all time in the “All Time Indie Top 50”.

The song reached number 1 in the inaugural Triple J Hottest 100 music poll of 1989 and again in 1990. When being interviewed for New Order StoryNeil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys stated that “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was his favourite pop song of all time.

At Christmas 2011, listeners of Dublin’s Phantom FM voted “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as their favourite song of all time. Furthermore, in 2012, in celebration of the NME‘s 60th anniversary, a list of the 100 Greatest Songs of NME‘s Lifetime was compiled, and the list was topped by “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. Serbian rock musician, journalist and writer Dejan Cukić wrote about “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as one of the 46 songs that changed history of popular music in his 2007 book 45 obrtaja: Priče o pesmama. In 2015, the online magazine Pitchfork listed “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as number 7 upon their “200 best songs of the 1980s” compilation

Following Curtis’s suicide, his wife Deborah had the phrase “Love Will Tear Us Apart” inscribed on his memorial stone.

A greyish stone block with "Ian Curtis 18-5-80 Love Will Tear Us Apart" carved into it in a sans-serif typeface. There are several small pots of flowers and other objects on top.

In June 2013, Mighty Box Games released Will Love Tear Us Apart?, a browser-based video game that adapts every verse of the song into a level

My Thoughts ?

Epic and awesome on so many different levels and one of my fave tunes of all time. The melancholy lyrics and theme of the tune touch my heart and souls everytime I hear it and it never grows old. Truly a song that defined the music scene back then.

New Order – Love Will Tear Us Apart [Live in Glasgow]

THE CURE – Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division COVER)

Joy Division: The Story Of the Band & Death of Ian Curtis

Love Will Tear Us Apart – Nerina Pallot

See: Joy Division open up about ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’

See: Ian Curtis

See: Joy Division

That’s Entertainment -The Jam : Iconic Songs & the story behind them

The Jam That’s Entertainment

January 1981

The Jam : Iconic Songs & the story behind them

That’s Entertainment” is a 1980 song by British punkmod revivalist group the Jam from their fifth album, Sound Affects.

Although never released as a domestic single in the UK during the band’s lifetime, “That’s Entertainment” nonetheless charted as an import single (backed by a live version of “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight“), peaking at No. 21. It was given its first full UK release in 1983 and peaked at No. 60. A second reissue in 1991 also made the top 50.

The song remains one of the two all-time biggest selling import singles in the UK, alongside the Jam’s “Just Who Is the 5 O’Clock Hero?“, which hit the charts at No. 8 as an import in 1982.

“That’s Entertainment” has been listed by BBC Radio 2 as the 43rd best song ever released by any artist.

The Jam – That’s Entertainment (Official Video)

Song profile

“That’s Entertainment” is the group’s lone entry, at No.306, on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list released in 2004. It consistently makes similar British lists of all-time great songs, such as BBC Radio 2‘s “Sold on Song” 2004 Top 100, at No.43.

The song uses an almost entirely acoustic arrangement with only very light percussion. Like much of Sound Affects, the song has strong undercurrents of pop-psychedelia. The only electric guitar part in the song is played backwards over one of the verses, a hallmark of psychedelia.

The minimalist, slice-of-life lyrics list various conditions of British working-class life. The first verse:

A police car and a screaming siren
Pneumatic drill and ripped-up concrete
A baby wailing, stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamp light blinking

culminating in the laconic and ironic refrain of “That’s entertainment, That’s entertainment”

“I was in London by the time I wrote ‘That’s Entertainment’,” said Weller, “writing it was easy in a sense because all those images were at hand, around me.”

In an interview with Absolute Radio he said:

“I wrote it in 10 mins flat, whilst under the influence, I’d had a few but some songs just write themselves. It was easy to write, I drew on everything around me.

Lyrics

“That’s Entertainment”

A police car and a screaming siren
Pneumatic drill and ripped-up concrete
A baby wailing, a stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamplight blinking

That’s entertainment
That’s entertainment

A smash of glass and the rumble of boots
An electric train and a ripped-up phone booth
Paint-splattered walls and the cry of a tomcat
Lights going out and a kick in the balls

I say that’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah

Days of speed and slow-time Mondays
Pissing down with rain on a boring Wednesday
Watching the news and not eating your tea
A freezing cold flat with damp on the walls

I say that’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la
La la la la la

Waking up at 6 A.M. on a cool warm morning
Opening the windows and breathing in petrol
An amateur band rehearsing in a nearby yard
Watching the telly and thinking ’bout your holidays

That’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la

Waking up from bad dreams and smoking cigarettes
Cuddling a warm girl and smelling stale perfume
A hot summer’s day and sticky black tarmac
Feeding ducks in the park and wishing you were far away

That’s entertainment
That’s entertainment

Two lovers kissing masks a scream of midnight
Two lovers missing the tranquility of solitude
Getting a cab and traveling on buses
Reading the graffiti about slashed-seat affairs

I say that’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah

See: Thats Entertainment chords

Morrissey – That’s Entertainment ( rare version, The Jam cover)

Main Source: Wikipedia , That’s Entertainment

See below for some stories during my crazy mod days ,

I write about these in my book

See: Mod Days & Getting Stoned with Paul Weller

noddy funeral

See: The Loyalist Mod: Death of a fellow Mod & A catholic friend! Noddy Clarke R.I.P

My book is published on the 8th September , see pinned tweet for more details

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .

Tin Soldier – Small Faces : Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Small Faces

TIN SOLDIER

2nd December 1967

Tin Soldier – Small Faces : Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Tin Soldier” is a song released by the English rock band Small Faces on 2 December 1967, written by Steve Marriott (credited to Marriott/Lane). The song peaked at number nine in the UK singles chart and number 38 in Canada. It has since been covered by many other notable rock artists

Tin Soldier – Small Faces

My Thoughts ?

Me in my Mod days

Song profile

Tin Soldier was originally written by Steve Marriott for singer P.P. Arnold, but Marriott liked it so much he kept it himself. It was a song that he wrote to his first wife, Jenny Rylance. P.P. Arnold can be heard singing backing vocals on the song and also performed as guest singer at television recordings of the song.

The song signalled a return to the band’s R&B roots whilst continuing their forays into psychedelic rock and other musical experiments. When Tin Soldier was released the BBC informed the band that the last line of the song had to be removed from all TV and radio broadcasts, mistakenly believing that Marriott sang “sleep with you”, when in fact the lyric is “sit with you”. Marriott explained that the song was about getting into someone’s mind—not their body.

 Tin Soldier reached number nine in the UK Singles Chart and remains one of Small Faces’ best known songs.

Talking about the song, and the influence of his wife Jenny, Marriott stated:

The meaning of the song is about getting into somebody’s mind—not their body. It refers to a girl I used to talk to all the time and she really gave me a buzz. The single was to give her a buzz in return and maybe other people as well. I dig it. There’s no great message really and no physical scenes.

The song seems to have been influenced by Hans Christian Andersen‘s fairy tale The Steadfast Tin Soldier, the story of an imperfect tin soldier’s desire for a paper ballerina. The opening lyric is:

“I am a little tin soldier that wants to jump into your fire”.

Upon reaching No. 73 in the USA with this single, their label Immediate Records abandoned its attempts to penetrate the American market. “Tin Soldier” would ultimately be the last song performed live by the Small Faces during their original incarnation; It was performed on 8 March 1969 at the Theatre of Jersey in Jersey.

” So now I’ve lost my way
I need help to show me things to say
Give me your love before mine fades away “

Lyrics

“Tin Soldier”

I am a little tin soldier
That wants to jump into your fire
You are a look in your eye
A dream passing by in the sky

I don’t understand
All I need is treat me like a man
‘Cause I ain’t no child
Take me like I am

I got to know that I belong to you
Do anything that you want to do
Sing any song that you want me to sing to you

I don’t need no aggravation
I just got to make you
I just got to make you my occupation

I got to know that I belong to you
Do anything that you want to do
Sing any song that you want me to sing to you

All I need is your whispered hello
Smiles melting the snow nothing heard
Your eyes are deeper than time
Say a love that won’t rhyme without words

So now I’ve lost my way
I need help to show me things to say
Give me your love before mine fades away

I got to know that I belong to you
Do anything that you want to do
Sing any song that you want me to sing to you

Oh no no
I just want some reaction
Someone to give me satisfaction
All I want to do is stick with you
‘Cause I love you

Mojo readers’ poll

In 1997, some 30 years after the song’s original release, Mojo voted “Tin Soldier” the tenth best single of all time, in a readers’ poll. The poll placed it ahead of anything by The Who or The Rolling Stones. The song has also been much mentioned over the years by Paul Weller and featured in Noel Gallagher‘s personal all-time top ten song list.

Personnel

Steve Marriott – lead and backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars

Ronnie Lane – bass guitar, backing vocals

Ronnie Lane

Ian McLagan – acoustic and electric pianos, Hammond organ, backing vocals

Ian McLagan

Kenney Jones – drums

Image result for kenney jones small faces
Kenney Jones

Additional personnel

P.P. Arnold – backing vocals

Image result for P.P. Arnold small faces
P.P. Arnold

Covers

The song has been covered by Quiet RiotLou GrammUriah HeepStreetheartTodd RundgrenThe Guess WhoPaul WellerTransatlantic, and Humble Pie (which also featured Marriott.) Scorpions made a cover of the song for their 2011 album Comeblack. Progressive rock band Transatlantic covered this song on their 2014 album Kaleidoscope, on disc 2 of the special edition. In October 2007 Tim Rogers, of You Am I, and Talei Wolfgramm performed the track on Australian music quiz show RocKwiz. In 1998 the Argentine musician Charly Garcia recorded a version, in Spanish, for his album El aguante

See also

See: Steve Marriott Jan 1947 – April 1991 All or Nothing

Small Faces Documentary

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .

Going Underground – The Jam: Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Going Underground – The Jam

The Jam

Going Underground

March 1980

Going Underground – The Jam: Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Going Underground” is the first British #1 chart single by The Jam, released in March 1980. It went straight in at #1 in the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks at the top.

It was the first of three instant chart-toppers for the group

Going Underground

Song profile

“Going Underground” was not released on any of the band’s six studio albums, although it has appeared on many compilations and re-releases since then. The song was released as a double A-side with “Dreams of Children”, which originally had been intended to be the sole A-side; following a mix-up at the pressing plant, the single became a double A-side, and DJs tended to choose the more melodic “Going Underground” to play on the radio.

The song was ranked at #2 among the “Tracks of the Year” for 1980 by NME. In March 2005, Q magazine placed “Going Underground” at #73 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks, and in October 2006, placed it at #98 in its list of the 100 Greatest Songs Ever.

Jam Facts:

The band released 18 consecutive Top 40 singles in the United Kingdom, from their debut in 1977 to their break-up in December 1982, including four number one hits

“Going Underground”
Single by The Jam
A-side“Dreams of Children”
Released14 March 1980
Format7″ vinyl
RecordedDecember 1979
GenreNew wavemod revivalpower pophard rock[1]
Length2:50
LabelPolydor
Songwriter(s)Paul Weller
Producer(s)Vic Coppersmith-Heaven
The Jam singles chronology
The Eton Rifles
(1979)”Going Underground” / “Dreams of Children”
(1980)”Start!
(1980)

My Thoughts ?

me with hat.PNG
Me in my Mod days

Being an old Mod and a Jam super-fan this was one of the first Jam records I bought and from the first moment I heard it I loved it and became obsessed with the Jam and this set me on the road to becoming a Mod and the best years of my teenage/young adult life in Belfast, what I can remember anyways. The Jam became the sound track to my crazy teenage odyssey and I came to love everything about them and the Mod way of life and even to this day I still love all the Jams stuff and listen to it whenever the feelings take me , which is a few times a week at least.

My fav Jam album ?

Its a hard one but its between Setting Sons & Sound Affects , although I love In the City and This is a Modern World also . Grrrr…. Its like trying to choose which of your kids or pets you love best , an impossible task and Im the same with Jam albums I feel i’d be betraying those I left out. Going Underground is a personal fav of mine for the path it set me on but I have to say Thick as Thieves and That’s Entertainment are two of my fav Jam tunes off all time.

See: Getting Stoned with Paul Well

See: The Loyalist Mod – Death of a fella Mod and a catholic friend

See: Steve Marriott Jan 1947 – April 1991 All or Nothing

Lyrics

“Going Underground”

Some people might say my life is in a rut
But I’m quite happy with what I’ve got
People might say that I should strive for more
But I’m so happy I can’t see the point

Something’s happening here today
A show of strength with your boy’s brigade
And I’m so happy and you’re so kind
You want more money – of course I don’t mind
To buy nuclear textbooks for atomic crimes
And the public gets what the public wants

But I want nothing this society’s got
I’m going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

Some people might get some pleasure out of hate
Me, I’ve enough already on my plate
People might need some tension to relax
Me, I’m too busy dodging between the flak

What you see is what you get
You’ve made your bed, you’d better lie in it
You choose your leaders and place your trust
As their lies wash you down and their promises rust
You’ll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns
And the public wants what the public gets

But I don’t get what this society wants
I’m going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground (going underground)
So let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

La la la la…

We talk and we talk until my head explodes
I turn on the news and my body froze
These braying sheep on my TV screen
Make this boy shout, make this boy scream!

Going underground, I’m going underground!

La la la la…

These braying sheep on my TV screen
Make this boy shout, make this boy scream!

I’m going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout,
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet go pow, pow, pow
Going underground (going underground)
So let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

Covers and parodies

Ade Edmondson‘s folk punk band The Bad Shepherds covered it in 2013.

The Bad Shepherds Going Underground

Welsh alternative metal band Lostprophets covered the song in 2007 as a B-side to their single 4:AM Forever.

The comedy band Amateur Transplants released a two-minute parody titled “London Underground” in 2005 in the light of the December strike. It became a popular download in the United Kingdom.

Jam Facts:

Jam biographer Sean Egan said of the Jam that they “took social protest and cultural authenticity to the top of the charts.

Amatuer Transplants London Underground

The song was covered by Buffalo Tom for the 1999 Jam tribute album Fire and Skill: The Songs of the Jam. This version also was released as part of a double A-side single with Liam Gallagher‘s and Steve Cradock‘s version of “Carnation” and reached #6 in the UK singles chart.[6]

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band covered the song on their 1986 album “Criminal Tango“.

Daryl Denham released a version of the song titled “Go England” in 2002 after Weller gave permission for it to be adapted as a football song.

Jam Facts:

Paul Weller on becoming a Mod

“I saw that through becoming a Mod it would give me a base and an angle to write from, and this we eventually did. We went out and bought suits and started playing MotownStax and Atlantic covers. I bought a Rickenbacker guitar, a Lambretta GP 150 and tried to style my hair like Steve Marriott‘s circa ’66.

Dreams of Children

“Going Underground” was coupled with “Dreams of Children” as a double A-side. It opens and is intermittently accentuated with a backmasked sample of the band’s 1979 song “Thick as Thieves“. In the US the backwards intro was edited out making the single 10 seconds shorter than the UK Version. This US edit is available on the best-of compilation Snap!.

The Jam released two other double A-side singles: “David Watts“/”‘A’ Bomb in Wardour Street” and “Town Called Malice“/”Precious“.

Jam Facts:

On 29 April 1977, Polydor released the Jam’s debut single, “In the City“, which charted in the Top 40 in the UK.

See: here for more information on the Jam

Thick As Thieves

See: Golden Brown – The Stranglers

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .

Golden Brown – The Stranglers: Iconic Songs & the story behind them

The Stranglers

Golden Brown

January 1982

Golden Brown – The Stranglers: Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Golden Brown – The Stranglers

Golden Brown” is a song by the English rock band the Stranglers. It was released as a 7″ single in December 1981 in the United States and in January 1982 in the United Kingdom, on Liberty. It was the second single released from the band’s sixth album La folie.

Stranglers - La Folie album cover.jpg

See: La folie (album) Track Listing

It peaked at No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart, the band’s highest ever placing in that chart.

In January 2014, NME ranked the song as No. 488 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  It has also been recorded by many other artists.

See : 500 Greatest Songs of All Time NME

Single by The Stranglers
from the album La folie
B-side“Love 30”
Released28 December 1981 (US)10 January 1982 (UK)
Format7″ vinyl
Recorded1981
GenreNew wave[1]baroque pop[2]
Length3:30
LabelLibertyBP 407 (UK, 7″)
Songwriter(s)Hugh CornwellJean-Jacques BurnelDave GreenfieldJet Black
Producer(s)The StranglersSteve Churchyard
The Stranglers singles chronology
Let Me Introduce You to the Family” 
(1981)”Golden Brown” 
(1981)”La Folie” 
(1982)
The Stranglers singles chronoly
Always the Sun (Sunny Side Up Mix)”
(1991)”Golden Brown
(1991)”Heaven or Hell”
(1992)

My Thought ?

This is one of my favorite tunes of all time and I never tire of listening to it, especially after a skinfull of beer and/or a few wee Gin and Tonics , to get me in the mood so to speak. The hunting theme of the song and the hypnotic harpsichord always mesmerize me to the point I feel as though I’m in a trance and thats the kind of escapism I’m looking for when i want to chill out to some music and sooth my sometimes weary soul.

Lyrics

“Golden Brown”

Golden Brown texture like sun
Lays me down with my mind she runs
Throughout the night
No need to fight
Never a frown with Golden Brown

Every time just like the last
On her ship tied to the mast
To distant lands
Takes both my hands
Never a frown with Golden Brown

Golden Brown, finer temptress
Through the ages she’s heading west
From far away
Stays for a day
Never a frown with Golden Brown

(La la la la la la la la leeeah)

Never a frown
With Golden Brown
Never a frown
With Golden Brown

Overview

Originally featured on the group’s album La folie, which was released in November 1981, and later on the USA pressings of Feline, “Golden Brown” was released as a single in December 1981, and was accompanied by a video.

Golden Brown The Strangles

It reached No. 2 in the official UK Singles Chart in February 1982, remaining there for two weeks behind double A-sided record “Town Called Malice/Precious” by the Jam.

The Jam – Town Called Malice (1982)
The Jam – The Gift – Precious

The comparatively conservative BBC Radio 2, at that time a middle-of-the-road (MOR) music radio station, decided to make the record the single of the week, a surprising step considering the band were almost as notorious as Sex Pistols only a few years before.

The band claimed that the song’s lyrics were akin to an aural Rorschach test and that people only heard in it what they wanted to hear, although this did not prevent persistent allegations that the lyrics alluded to heroin.

How does the Rorschach inkblot test work? 

The single was a top 10 hit around the world, including Australia. It was also featured in the film Snatch and is included on its soundtrack album.[

Meaning

Hugh Cornwell
Hugh Cornwell

There has been much controversy surrounding the lyrics. In his book The Stranglers Song By Song (2001), Hugh Cornwell states “‘Golden Brown’ works on two levels. It’s about heroin and also about a girl.

” Essentially the lyrics describe how “both provided me with pleasurable times.”

Musical composition

The main body of the song has a 6/8 feel and is pitched halfway between the keys of E minor and E-flat minor, possibly to accommodate the tuning of the harpsichord. The instrumental introduction, in (a very flat) B minor, is unconventional. The keyboard and harpsichord vamp in 3/4, and in the head every fourth bar is in 4/4. The music was largely written by keyboardist Dave Greenfield and drummer Jet Black, with lyrics by singer/guitarist Hugh Cornwell.

The BBC newsreader Bill Turnbull attempted to waltz to the song in the 2005 series of Strictly Come Dancing. In February 2012, when interviewing Stranglers bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel on BBC Breakfast, Turnbull described the attempted dance as “a disaster”,

Bill Turnbull attempted to waltz to the song in the 2005 series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Burnel responded that the alternating time signatures made “Golden Brown” impossible to dance to; in contrast, a song written entirely in 6/8 is not unusual in waltzing.

Music video

Two shots from Golden Brown: the band performing the song in Leighton House and as explorers

The video for “Golden Brown”, directed by Lindsey Clennell, depicts the band members both as explorers in an Arabian country and non-Arab Muslim countries (sequences include images of the Pyramids as well as the explorers studying a map of Egypt) in the 1920s and performers for a fictional “Radio Cairo”.

Golden Brown – The Stranglers (Restored Music Video)

In addition to the Pyramids, the video is intercut with stock footage of the Mir-i-Arab Madrasah in Bukhara, the Shah Mosque in Isfahan, and Great SphinxFeluccas sailing, Bedouins riding and camel racing in the United Arab Emirates. The performance scenes were filmed in the Leighton House Museum in Holland ParkLondon, which was also used in the filming of the video for “Gold” by Spandau Ballet.

Charts

Chart (1982)Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)10
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)7
France (IFOP)73
Germany (Official German Charts)63
Ireland (IRMA)3
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)8
Netherlands (Single Top 100)10
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)2
Chart (1991)1Peak
position
Ireland (IRMA)25
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)68

1Remix

Chart (2013)Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)98

Main Source/More Info : Wikipedia/Golden Brown

The Stranglers Documentray Part 1

See: The Jam – Going Underground

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .