Roses are Red
Violets Are Blue
Here’s unusual love songs
Curated for you
Chumbawamaba were part of the UK music scene for 30 years prior to them calling it a day in November 2012. In that time they released a whole bundle of singles and albums that raised awareness for all sorts of just causes and campaigns as well as getting across their viewpoint about a burning issue of the day, as was highlighted in the recent posting looking that 1992 single behave!
Some folk got awfully annoyed by Chumbawamba on the basis that they took life far too seriously, but any band that is prepared to tackle issues as diverse as domestic violence, religion, racism, fascism, war, homophobia and the decline of working class rights within short and catchy pop songs is all right by me.
It was really bizarre to seem them gain their 15 minutes of real fame in 1997 when the very catchy and anthemic Tubthumping went to #2 in the UK singles chart and I’m sure the band were bemused to see how it was adopted by the lager-swilling lad culture who regarded the concept of getting pissed and falling over only to pick yourself up and start all over again as something to boast and sing about at the top of your voice. Anyways, the song so was so ubiquitous at the time that just I quickly got sick of it and even almost 20 years on don’t enjoy listening to it.
Having wound up their own Agit-Pop label on the back of being frustrated at the failure of behave! to get into the charts they signed to One Little Indian with the first release in September 1993 being a joint single with Credit To The Nation, an act which was in fact a teenage UK hip-hop singer called Matty Hanson aka DJ Fusion with two backing dancers who had come to the fore earlier in the year thanks to the chart success of Call It What You Want, a single which sampled Smells Like Teen Spirit….a piece of music which got many of those in the press who worshipped Nirvana all hot and bothered under the collar.
This anti-fascism single, released at a time when right-wing politicians were rearing their ugly heads all over Europe, reached the Top 75 despite a lack of support from radio stations:-
mp3 : Chumbawamba & Credit To The Nation – Enough Is Enough
mp3 : Chumbawamba & Credit To The Nation – Hear No Bullshit (On Fire Mix)
mp3 : Chumbawamba & Credit To The Nation – The Day The Nazi Died (1993 mix)
Different versions of the b-sides can be found elsewhere
mp3 : Credit To The Nation – Hear No Bullshit. See No Bullsit, Say No Bullshit
mp3 : Chumbawamba – The Day The Nazi Died
It was in August 1992 that Chumbawamba released a single on 12” vinyl and CD entitled (Someone’s Always Telling You How To) Behave. The sleeve contained a superbly worded essay drawn from a piece by Steven Wells (R.I.P.) in which he highlighted how ludicrous it was for anyone involved in the arts, particularly pop and rock music, to be in anyway homophobic. The single was released on the back of two now infamous events, one being where a famous pop star of the day – Jason Donovan – launched and won a libel action against a magazine that had alleged he was homosexual and the other being where Shawn Ryder was riding the waves of fame on the back of stating openly and unapologetic that he hated ‘queers’ and releasing a press statement ‘confirming his hetrosexuality.’
The single however, was the third such version of the song in a little over six months wherein lies a fine tale.
Chumbawamba began the year with plans to release a new album that would rely very heavily on sampled music and dialogue. Said album, which was entitled Jesus H Christ, was recorded but never given an official release as it was going to prove far too costly and time-consuming to gain clearance for all the samples involved – there were more than 40 – and there was a real concern that someone would simply refuse permission and so lead to the song or indeed whole album being shelved. One of the songs was this:-
mp3 : Chumbawamba – Silly Love Songs
The music sampled on the track consisted of Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney & Wings, Tell Me Lies by Fleetwood Mac and Gimme Some Truth by John Lennon. It also contained a snatch of dialogue involving the single word ‘Behave’ as regularly uttered by music producer Pete Waterman during his stint as presenter on the late night TV show The Hit Man and Her.
The band knew that they had written a decent batch of lyrics for the new songs and so rather than letting them go to waste they went into the studio and recorded the album Shhh with real music instead of samples under which Silly Love Songs had evolved into this very fine number:-
mp3 : Chumbawamba – behave!
Then the band came up with the idea of re-recording Behave! with a completely new lyric as part of their response to the homophobia scandals, particularly the Jason Donovan court case. There’s no little irony that his rise to music stardom was masterminded by none other than Pete Waterman whose contribution to the original version of the song was such that it had led to it being adopted as its new title when the album was released.
mp3 : Chumbawamaba – (Someone’s Always Telling You How To) Behave
The 45 version is quite a bit different from the album version, losing the trumpets and the constant refrain of behave!, as well as having a completely different lyric. The band had high hopes for the record which was being released, as usual on their own Agit-Pop label, but there were huge disputes with the distributor whose efforts were somewhat half-hearted to say the least and indeed went about things while the band were touring in the USA and unable to give it the support they wanted to here in the UK. The issues were so intense that the band would wind the label up almost immediately and sign to One Little Indian.
The 12” and CD had three other songs listed on the sleeve although there was an additional hidden track, which was yet another alternative version of behave!
mp3 : Chumbawamaba – (Someone’s Always Telling You How To) Behave (brittle mix)
mp3 : Chumbawamaba – Misbehave (brittle mix)
mp3 : Chumbawamaba – Misbehave
mp3 : Chumbawamaba – (Someone’s Always Telling You How To) Behave (version)
Misbehave isn’t a remix of behave!. Instead it is a brand new and ridiculously catchy song – particularly in its brittle mix form – in which the names of real people and fictional characters whose claim to fame was that they weren’t always good boys or girls are chanted over a punchy techno-lite track that once heard won’t be easily forgotten. Billy Joel and We Didn’t Start The Fire it certainly isn’t………………..
PS : Copies of Jesus H Christ did quietly make their way into some shops after Shhh was released; some of the owners have since put the songs out there on t’internet which is how I’ve been able to get a copy of Silly Love Songs for inclusion today…..