Educating Peter # 49

May 26, 2013

This week’s attempt by Michael to persuade me that the music of the Eighties wasn’t all that bad (I think it was) is “Hey Girl” by Expressos. I had a quick look on the Internet for some information about it to see what I was up against, and all signs point to it being a skinny-tie song. That’s fine by me. Being a skinny-tie song, it’ll only last a couple of minutes. (I’m not a huge fan of skinny-tie power pop, but I will say this in its favour: the songs are mercifully short.)

Expressos – “Hey Girl” (1980)

0:00-0:07 – This is a chirpy way to start the song. I like it. And it reminds me of a bit of Billy Swan‘s fabulous “I Can Help“:

Expressos – “Hey Girl” (1980) (excerpt)

Billy Swan – “I Can Help (1974) (excerpt)

I love that song.

But I must wrench myself away from “I Can Help” and concentrate on the song Michael sent me.

0:07-0:13 – The chirpy introduction is out of the way, and we’re already into the verse.

Major announcement: I like this part of the verse very much. Thank you, Michael.

0:13-0:22 – Grrr. The band had to go and bring the momentum of the first half verse to a grinding halt by inserting the ubiquitous “Be My Baby” drum beat. Why, band, why?

Nice choice of chord at 0:20, though.

0:22-0:28 – OK. Here’s the chorus, and I like it. I don’t know why the drummer decided to add the Buddy Holly-ish drum rolling to the chorus (from 0:25-0:28). I thought the chorus didn’t need it at all. Maybe the drummer just likes Buddy Holly-ish drum rolls.

0:28-0:35 – And back to the “Be My Baby” drum beat. I’m starting to get confused now. Did I just hear the chorus a moment ago? And if so, was that the shortest chorus (6 seconds) I’ve ever heard? Or is the bit I’m listening to at the moment (actually, I paused the song so I could type what I’m typing now) also part of the chorus?

The song structure so far is a little squirrelly. I’m not entirely sure what’s what in the verse / chorus department so far. I’m enjoying it, though, because each section of the song is short, and also not emphatically one thing or the other (as in: “This is the chorus and it goes for exactly eight bars”).

It’s certainly different from yer standard song structure, and I’m having fun being disoriented by a skinny-tie song. (They’re usually much more predictable than this.)

0:35-0:42 – What’s this bit of the song? Is it something that leads up to the real chorus?

I like this part of the song, whatever it is. But I could have done without the singer’s dodgy high notes at 0:41-0:42.

0:42-0:56 – Ah, so this is the chorus. Righty-o. I have my bearings now.

0:56-1:02 – And this is the guitar solo. It’s pretty much a Regulation Issue Skinny-Tie Guitar Solo, in that it simply plays the vocal melody with a few embellishments. Nonetheless, I like it. (It was short.)

1:02-1:38 – A return to the weirdness of the multiple short sections that make up the, er… whatever part of the song this is.

That’s odd. At 1:12 the singer hit a flat note (on “heart”).

1:38-1:51 – Another guitar solo, but this time it’s a proper guitar solo, not just a playing-the-vocal-melody one.

By the way, near the end of the solo the guitarist plays fast runs, and they remind me of the fast runs played by Mark Knopfler in Dire Straits‘ “Sultans Of Swing“:

Expressos – “Hey Girl” (1980) (excerpt)

Dire Straits – “Sultans Of Swing (1978) (excerpt)

1:51-2:05 – Another chorus, and this time I’m really noticing the 1950s influences.

2:05-2:08 – A couple of bars after the chorus, and then…

2:08-2:21 – …a return of the Billy Swan introduction (see above) with some extra vocals, leading into…

2:21-2:28 – …ending the song with those Buddy Holly-esque drum rolls.


Overall, I can quite comfortably say that I found “Hey Girl” to be an enjoyable little ditty.

Didn’t mind it at all.


As a bonus, here are the full versions of those songs I excerpted earlier:

Billy Swan – “I Can Help (1974) (radio edit – 2:58)

Billy Swan – “I Can Help (1974) (album version – 4:02)

Dire Straits – “Sultans Of Swing (1978)

Musical coincidences # 8

June 25, 2009

It is my melancholy duty* to inform you of a musical coincidence involving the wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful (I can’t tell you how wonderful I think she is) Kate Bush and “Sat In Your Lap“. Here’s how it starts:


“Sat In Your Lap” was recorded and released as a single in 1981 and was used as the opening track on her 1982 album, The Dreaming.

A year earlier, XTC had released the Black Sea album which contained the track “Paper And Iron (Notes And Coins”). The main rhythm of the song starts at the 26-second mark, like so:


And I’d always thought that Kate Bush was utterly original…

Nevertheless, I want to think that Kate had never heard of XTC, and that it’s all a horrible coincidence. I really, really want to think that.

All of the above doesn’t stop me from marvelling at how amazing “Sat In Your Lap” is, though. It is amazing – as is all of The Dreaming, which I still think is one of the best albums of the 80’s. (I also think it’s Kate best album, although most critics tend to proclaim Hounds Of Love to be her pièce de resistence.)

Anyway, enough with the sadness. Enjoy some marvellousness from both Kate and XTC:

Kate Bush – “Sat In Your Lap (1982)


XTC – “Paper And Iron (Notes And Coins)” (1980)


Oh, and speaking of XTC, I chanced upon a little guitar bit in their first single “Science Friction” (1978) at the 1:55 mark here:


That reminded me of a little guitar bit in Billy Swan‘s hit from 1973, the Ringo-esque “I Can Help” (at 1:42):


Pure coincidence.

Here are the full tracks – and as a bonus (yep, there’s more) I’ve included two versions of “I Can Help”:

XTC – “Science Friction” (1978)

Video (embedding disabled)

Billy Swan – “I Can Help (single version) (1974)


Billy Swan – “I Can Help (album version) (1974)


(*Anyone over 80 will know that phrase also means something far more important than a musical coincidence.)