…..it might have sounded like this.

The words of The Robster when talking about this song as part of his outstanding Saint Etienne ICA back in November 2015.  And let’s face it, he’s spot on with that observation.

I was surprised, on two counts, about the performance of the single on its release in November 1995.  Firstly, that it achieved the highest ever singles chart placing for Saint Etienne – I was sure it must have been one of Join Our Club, Who Do You Think You Are?, or You’re In A Bad Way.

Secondly, and even more to my surprise (and indeed, shock), is that the chart position in question is #11.  I’d have put my house and my life savings on the fact that the band had enjoyed at least one Top Ten single during their existence.

The single is attributed to Saint Etienne in collaboration with Etienne Daho, a bona-fide pop legend of the French music scene whose recording career dates back to 1981 and has seen him work alongside Arthur Baker, Air, OMD,  Jane Birkin, Marianne Faithfull, Françoise Hardy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Vanessa Paradis among many others.

mp3: Saint Etienne (feat. Etienne Daho) – He’s On The Phone

The single was released in all sorts of formats – there were three different 12″ vinyl versions with a host of remixes and a couple of lengthy remixes of old songs, while 2 x CDs offered up some mixes, some otherwise unreleased songs and a couple of intriguing cover versions.  Here’s the (then) unreleased songs and covers.

mp3: Saint Etienne – Groveley Road
mp3: Saint Etienne – The Process
mp3: Saint Etienne – Is It True
mp3: Saint Etienne – How I Learned To Love The Bomb

Is It True was written by Marc Bolan but never given any proper studio recording.  It’s a home demo which was included on a posthumous release. ‘The Bomb’ is their take on a 1985 single by The Television Personalities.



  1. I really like Saint Etienne but own little of their output, unlike friends who really were devoted.

    Pop. That’s what they did and did it so well.

    I really liked the Bolan cover version.

  2. Hello JC,
    “He’s on the phone” is actually a cover of “Week-end à Rome”, a 1984 Etienne Daho song with Lio as guest singer :

    It’s from his second album. It was released as a single but was not a hit.
    The English version was released earlier in 1995 as “Accident” on the St Etienne Daho EP “Reserection”.

  3. They did have a top ten hit with the Paul van Dyk collaboration “Tell Me Why (The Riddle)”. More his single than theirs, admittedly.

  4. I love ‘Groveley Road,’ and thought I finally found a song good enough to complete my third Trumpets ICA. But I’m almost positive those horn arrangements are synths. Damn.

  5. Thanks, JC, for that superb piece of info.

    And apologoes that that your comment didn’t appear right away…for some reason it went into the Spam folder

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.