Around 2007 The Wedding Present started previewing songs live that would eventually end up on the album El Rey. One of which was entitled Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Very Drunk and featured the lines: “she spoke a line of Holly Golightly’s from Breakfast At Tiffany’s, she said “Don’t take me home until I’m very drunk””. I loved the song and soon after watched the film to spot the line where the gorgeous Audrey Hepburn said this dialogue. Shock, horror. These words were not what she said in the film. What happened next is explained by David Gedge in his Q&A below. Suffice to say for now, that this was the closest I will ever get to co-writing a song with the master.
To the song itself – it starts with a lovely breathy vocal “The heaven’s were alive with stars” before the rest of the band comes in. The cute, romantic nature of the song is highlighted from the second line referencing the film mentioned above. It’s all coy and delicate and gentle. By the end of the song though the narrator has been dumped again and he looks back realising that ‘love’ for one is just ‘like’ for another.
This could almost be a late Cinerama song with it’s melodic guitar play courtesy of Christopher McConville. Nothing too extreme, just a playful bit of noise in the bridge but overall this is a story rather than an explosion. Terry de Castro’s beautiful backing vocals end the piece highlighting the painful, possible truth that maybe no two people can ever love one another to the exact same degree
Questions and Answers with David Gedge:
How did this song first come about?
DLG: I originally called this ‘Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Very Drunk’ because it’s a line that Audrey Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, uses in the 1961 film Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Or, well, at least I thought it was…
Leigh Hunt, the author of this very blog emailed me to let me know that the line from Breakfast At Tiffany’s was actually “Don’t take me home until I’m drunk. Very drunk indeed!” Leigh thought that I’d changed the quote to make it fit the song but, no, I’d just remembered it incorrectly. Accordingly, I altered the lyric and consequently the title so that it was exactly as it was in the film. On the recording, after the ‘very drunk indeed’ line you can hear the sound of a squeaky-voiced little Japanese toy that we brought back from Tokyo.
What are your thoughts on the song now?
DLG: I love playing this live. It obviously falls into the ‘poppy’ section of The Wedding Present catalogue, which is why we chose it for a single. But I think it’s a good pop song and has one of my favourite lyrics. My co-writer on this song was Chris McConville [guitar; The Wedding Present, 2006-2008] who’s one of the best musicians I’ve ever worked with and who has a real knack for coming up with some ingenious and catchy tunes.
Going to take a wild stab in the dark and assume you are a massive Audrey Hepburn fan? Is Breakfast At Tiffany’s your favourite of her films? Can you say what it is you like about her?
DLG: Well, I always like a good romantic comedy and Breakfast At Tiffany’s is one of the very best, although it’s totally different from Truman Capote’s original novella, which I also love, but which is considerably darker. And yes, of course, Audrey Hepburn is heartbreakingly cute in it! And there’s a Henry Mancini score, too, which is the icing on the cake…
It’s a pain that feels so real. Telling someone you love them and they reply back that they like you. Has it happened to you? Have you said that to someone else?
DLG: Without going into specifics… of course it’s happened to me! Hasn’t it happened to everyone?!
The song was highlighted on How The West Was Won with an acoustic version. Plus there was also a remix, something you don’t normally do. What was the thought process behind all of that?
DLG: I thought that the song would stand up to the acoustic treatment… they don’t always, it has to be said… so we did that… but then Chris, who’s also a recording engineer, fancied having a go at a remix, too. He called it the ‘Team Wah Wah’ mix after a comment Steve Albini had made during the recording of El Rey. It’s a pretty crazy version.
Any thoughts on the video? Chris smashed a guitar – real or fake one? You all look pretty bored. 🙂
DLG: Well… it’s pretty boring making a video! You have to mime to the song over and over again, don’t you? It is a real guitar, yes… but just an old cheap one from a second hand shop in Bristol where we filmed the video.
The song sounds Cinerama-y in places and then occasionally a nice squeak of feedback comes out. Did any of this start as a Cinerama song?
DLG: No, it was always a Wedding Present song. We wanted it to build in intensity throughout, though… hence the later overdrive and distortion pedals. I think it sounds heavier when it’s played live.
Nick Hallworth asks: If the Holly Golightly quote was the seed for the whole tale, one wonders how long David Gedge sat trying to think of a rhyme for ‘drunk’. I wonder – did he consult another song telling a tale of relationship discord… ‘You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk’? Neil Tennant set the standard by coming up with monk, punk, sunk and junk. Whereas David somehow managed to weave a tree trunk into the picture!
DLG: Ha, ha. I’ll have to listen to that song. That’s a great title. Well, I always spend ages on rhymes, far too long probably… but I think the trunk one works particularly well in terms of scene setting…
The heavens were alive with stars
She pointed out which one was Mars
Lying arm in arm against an old tree trunk
She used a phrase of Holly Golightly’s from ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’
She said “Don’t take me home until I’m drunk. Very drunk indeed!”
We talked about a second date
She said that meeting me was fate
And, though I don’t believe in that crap, I said “Yes”
We both knew where the night would end
But when we kissed, I won’t pretend, I still shook with apprehension, I confess
And then I said “I could fall in love with you”
But, as I recall, she said “I like you too”
And that little word was the warning sign
That little word meant she’d never be mine, as I discovered the next day
A text on my phone saying:
“I don’t know whether I mentioned him last night, but I’m getting back together with my old fiancé
I’m sorry, by the way”
And, when I think about that night, I wonder if perhaps I might not have done every single thing I could
But, deep down, I know I was blind; she just used me to make up her mind
But if I had to do it all again, I would
And then I said: ”I could fall in love with you”
But, as I recall, she said “I like you too”
Yeah, I could fall in love with you
But as I recall, she said “I like you too”
Written and published by Gedge / McConville. Gedge’s publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Fintage Publishing BV.
1 – El Rey/How The West Was Won version recorded January 2008 TIME: 3:07
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Christopher McConville (guitar); Terry de Castro (bass) and Graeme Ramsay (drums) Steve Albini & Pete Magdaleno (producers)
2 – Team Wah Wah Remix (How The West Was Won) TIME: 3:44
3 – Acoustic version (How The West Was Won) TIME: 3:33
Recorded by Ulysses Noriega
Live Versions: none
The song was introduced throughout live shows in 2007. Since it’s release on record in 2008 though it’s rarely been played.
Video: (directed by Tim Middlewick)