A GUEST SERIES
30. God Knows It’s True – Teenage Fanclub (1990 Paperhouse Records)
Released as a single in November 1990 (It did not chart)
Another day, another record that I was introduced to by OPG. I was a huge Teenage Fanclub fan, I guess I still am, although I admit, that as part of the same pointless space saving exercise that I referred to in Number 41, I sold three of their albums on vinyl for vast amounts of cash. Apparently original Creation Records vinyl releases are worth money, who knew…? As brilliant as ‘Grand Prix’ is, I wouldn’t pay £54 for a slightly battered vinyl copy (but still in good condition and playable) of it but some fool from Cheltenham did exactly that.
Anyway, ‘God Knows It’s True’ was one of the songs that convinced me that I should pick up a guitar and learn how to play it, rather than actually just pretend I could in front of the mirror and say I could to impressionable young ladies in pubs.
I can’t remember exactly where I was when I first heard it, but I know it was on a tape that OPG did for me, which was called ‘Shoplifters Paradise Vol.2’. It was compiled entirely from songs that she had nicked from the shelves of Our Price and then returned a few weeks later when no one was looking.
Anyway, I found myself an old acoustic guitar and found a bloke who could teach me the basics. My plan was to master the acoustic, upgrade to Fender or something cool, form a band and headline Reading (not Glastonbury) before 1995. Easy.
I walked into my first lesson, guitar slung over my shoulder, charity shop shirt unbuttoned down to the pubis bone, like the troubled troubadour I was, and my teacher, Mr Hawkins, looked at me over his half-moon glasses and sighed, loudly. The first words to me were, “You’re not Jim Bloody Morrison”. His second words to me were “If you tell me you want to learn how to play like Kurt Cobain, you can leave right now. I’ll give you your money back.”
Now. I sort of did want to learn how to play like Kurt Cobain, but I said, “No, not at all. I want to learn how to play like this” and thrust a tape with ‘God Knows It’s True’ at the start of it into his delighted hands. He put it on and sighed loudly again. He went to a cupboard and pulled out a piece of vinyl and put that on. It was “The Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum.
“It’s fundamentally the same record” he said (it’s not, clearly) “But, we can work with that”.
Six weeks later I’d mastered the basics, well I knew three chords. Eight weeks later I formed my first band.
I’ve realised that the version of ‘God knows Its True’ that I truly love is the Peel Session version because it in the words of Badger “Rocks, like a bastard” so in fact it’s that version I’ve picked. Both the single and the Peel Session are backed with versions of this
Oh and I still can’t play ‘God Knows It’s True’ on the guitar.
Here’s the studio versions of both songs:-