I won’t insult anyone by recounting the life and times and ultimately the tragic and untimely death of Kirsty MacColl.

Like most of you who are aged 40 and upwards, I’m guessing the first time she would have appeared on your radar was when she took this into the charts back in the spring of 1981:-

mp3 : Kirsty MacColl – There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis

Released in an era when many refused to believe the ‘King of Rock’nRoll’ had really died four years earlier, this is a  humourous pop song that just stays on the right side of novelty from the pen of someone who Johnny Marr has described as one of England’s greatest-ever lyricists….and from a man who has worked so closely with Morrissey and Matt Johnson, then that has to be seen as praise of the highest order.

It’s a single I picked up cheap quite recently and outside of maybe a couple of plays on radio I haven’t heard it much over the past 33 years.  Sad to say, I found myself a bit underwhelmed by it – it was a lot duller and far more mainstream that I had ever remembered and I found it all a bit disappointing.

For a long time after ‘Chip Shop’ it looked as if Kirsty was going to go down as a one-hit wonder, but thanks to her cracking cover of a Billy Bragg song she was able to kick-start her career in 1984, and while she rarely made an impact on the higher echelons of the chart, all of her records were afforded critical acclaim and respectable sales.

There were two b-sides to ‘Chip Shop’, one of which is features an alternative take on the single:-

mp3 : Kirsty MacColl – Hard To Believe
mp3 : Kirsty MacColl – There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis (country version)

Again, I was left a little disappointed by these.  They are certainly not as good as the later material she would release.



  1. I’ m not overly keen on the early stuff/ 1st lp. But from kite onwards she go nowhere near the credit and sales she deserved

  2. “Elvis” was an okay single. I gave my copy, bought in the early 90s to a friend who was collecting Kirsty who I owed big time. But I still have her exquisite Stiff 7″ of “They Don’t Know!” I would like to hear her “Desperate Character” album now that it’s been reissued and available!

  3. If Kirsty MacColl had been a Mongolian throat singer, she would still have been the most remarkable and wonderful Mongolian throat singer that ever lived. End of.

  4. One of the most lovely human beings there ever was and what a great singer/artist.

  5. there seems to be a problem with the country version, i can’t get it. which i want. had a crush on kirsty when she released this (and a few years on) but my copy got lost in transition. i have a couple of albums, but miss this b-side version. can you please re-up the song?

  6. Sorry about that Martin….seemed to work OK when I checked it just there. But I’ve disconnected the original link and re-loaded. E-mail me if you continue to have problems.


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