The others were Rocks (#7 in 1994) and Country Girl (#5 in 2003) with the latter being the most successful, charts-wise, of all the Primal Scream 45s.

Kowlaski was released in May 1995 and reached #8. It came out a couple of months before the band’s fifth studio album, Vanishing Point. It was an instant hit here in Villain Towers:-

mp3: Primal Scream – Kowalski

I’m happy to pass on the info that the song is named after the main character of Vanishing Point, a 1971 road movie which, although critically panned at the time of its release, has since obtained cult status.

The CD single came with two rockin’-out cover versions, one of which saw the old punks rise up in anger, but to be fair(ish), Bobby & Co. make it sound like one of their own rather than a Clash number (not that I’m defending it as it’s pretty sore on the ears, sounding as if an act like Lynard Skynard had got their hands on it):-

mp3: Primal Scream – 96 Tears
mp3: Primal Scream – Know Your Rights

Thankfully, the CD closes with an excellent remix of the single:-

mp3: Primal Scream – Kowalski (Automator Mix)



  1. I think Kowalski is a great song, not an obvious single, but that was/is kind of the point with Primal Scream, I guess. It’s the album version over Dan The Automator’s remix for me. 96 Tears actually manages to make The Stranglers’ cover version sound good. I will confess to enjoying their fuzzy take on Know Your Rights, to the extent that my go to is the original, full length version (nearly 6 minutes of sore ears!) that appeared on Retribution’s “Repetitive Beats Remix EP” the previous year.

    And I’m pretty sure that “Vanishing Point” the film was another one of those cult classics that I first saw thanks to Alex Cox’s excellent Moviedrome series on last night BBC2 back in the day. Less sure that I’ve seen it since!

  2. I mentioned, somewhat controversially, elsewhere on the blogs last week that ‘What Are You Going to Do With Your Life’ is my favourite Bunnymen LP, so while I’m in a confessional mood I might as well add that ‘Vanishing Point’ & ‘Echo Dek’ are by far my favourite Primal Scream albums. ‘Kowlaski’ is a particularly terrific tune.

  3. Kowalski’s great, an injection of Mani powered bass giving Primal Scream new life. I like their cover of 96 Tears but it’s not exactly essential. When Know Your Rights was originally released back on the Retribution 12″ I remember being really excited in advance that PS were covering the Clash- and I remember my sense of disappointment on hearing it. It’s grown on me a bit over the years but it still sounds just a tad sloppy.

  4. The US version of the single ended with a preview of their next album release: “Kowalski (Adrian Sherwood Dub)” would be renamed “First Name Unknown” as part of the /Echo Dek/ set

  5. Kowalski is among my favorite Primal Scream tracks, but boy JC, did you hit the nail right on the head about Know Your Rights. Somewhere along the line, their Dirty Blues sound pushed right into kinda swampy Southern Rock territory. Might as well have been covered by The Black Crows…

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