Today’s song is so well-known in Australia that practically every adult Antipodean rock fan can sing the whole thing note-for-note. But if you don’t live in Australia there is a chance that you haven’t heard this song before and that means that you’ll hear it with fresh ears. That’s a good thing, because this song has, over time, been tainted by some pretty unhelpful audience participation (more on that shortly) and reduced the song to a coarse punchline.
But first, the song itself. Here are The Angels with their debut single, “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” (1976):
(Historical footnote: As far as I know, that guitar sounding like a siren/bagpipe is the first ever instance of a guitar sounding like a siren/bagpipe on record – it was a full seven years before Big Country appeared on the charts.)
The Angels came from my hometown, Adelaide, and for years were the kings of Pub Rock. “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” became a permanent fixture in the band’s set-list (well, it would because it’s a mighty good song). However, crowds eventually developed a rather rude response to singer Doc Neeson’s plea in the chorus. Consequently, the song is better known nowadays for the chant associated with it instead of the qualities of the song itself. I think that’s a pity because it detracts from the notion that this is actually a pretty good song, and not simply an excuse for crowds to shout obscenities at the singer.
I don’t know how The Angels themselves felt about the swearing hurled their way whenever they played the song. I suppose it didn’t bother them too much, because there were eventually three – count ’em, three – studio versions of “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” (you can’t keep a good song down).
The first studio effort was The Angels’ debut single from 1976. That’s the version you heard at the top of this post. (You did press “play”, didn’t you?)
The band then recorded another version for their debut album, The Angels (1977). Here it is:
The Angels – “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” (album version) (1977)
As for the third version, well…
I was going to give you a hideously complicated story about how The Angels renamed themselves Angel City for the American market and re-recorded “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” in 1979 for the US release of Face To Face, but Wikipedia explains it much better than I ever could.
Anyway, here’s the third version:
Angel City – “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” (1979)
Whichever version of “Am I Ever See Your Face Again” you listened to, I hope that you enjoyed at least one of them.