Tag Archives: The Wedding Present

No

Lyrics:

Why can’t you pick up the telephone?
Oh, I know that you’re at home
I’m really past caring how you think
I just want to know about him

And you’re so right, they don’t miss a thing round here
And how do you think I feel?
Oh, you can try but you’re not getting out that way
You’re just as much to blame

And if it didn’t mean a thing
And you’ve told him to go
And if you’re as sorry as you say
Why didn’t you just say no?

It’s strange that this room’s so different now
Oh I didn’t come to row
It’s just this razor; he’s left it on your shelf
I’ll throw it out myself

And if it didn’t mean a thing
And you’ve told him to go
And if you’re as sorry as you say
Why didn’t you just say no?

Crushed

Lyrics:

Somewhere, sometime, I’ve got to say this somehow
Oh no, it’s fine, I couldn’t face it just now

Oh, oh, please don’t use that voice, I think I’ve made my choice
I’d change it if I could
Oh, you know I’m crushed inside, but goodness knows I’ve tried
I think I’ve had enough

Oh no, I swear. there’s no one else I promise
The ‘phone? Up there
But please don’t leave here like this

Oh, oh, please don’t use that voice, I think I’ve made my choice
I’d change it if I could
Oh, you know I’m crushed inside, but goodness knows I’ve tried
I think I’ve had enough

You’re late, been where?
Worried sick about you
All right, take care
I’m sorry that I hurt you

Oh, oh, please don’t use that voice, I think I’ve made my choice
I’d change it if I could
Oh, you know I’m crushed inside
Goodness knows I’ve tried
I think I’ve had enough
Ah

A Million Miles

1988 and I was in the Sixth form at a high school in Surrey. Over the previous year I’d started to broaden my musical horizons into the world of indie and along the way had picked up on a band from the North of England that just struck a chord, some pun intended. By now they were developing from their early roots into a band that would soon court the major labels but I had missed out on the very early days.

Thankfully a friend at school (thank you Martin Short) made a copy of George Best on cassette for me. I can’t even remember what was on the other side of that C90 tape but it wasn’t a band that became a love and obsession like TWP.

Of the songs that made up George Best, four in particular stood out and A Million Miles was one of them. If you’re reading this then you probably know why. It’s the lyrics, it’s the gorgeous melody, it’s the chiming layered guitars, it’s the overall pang of the joyous love that the whole thing evokes.

Since 1988 I have purchased about 4 copies of George Best in various formats and re-mastered editions.  I think it’s safe to say that Home Taping did NOT kill music.

Questions and Answers with David Lewis Gedge:

I’ve always preferred titles that aren’t just the main words in the chorus. I like mysterious titles and I like titles that are just hidden there in the verses. It can make those particular lines resonate even more. So for example when titling this song would you have ever thought of calling it ‘You’re Not Like Anyone I’ve Ever Met’ or was it always what it came to be?

DLG: I know what you mean and I do like those kinds of titles myself. I do often have a working title, which will be a recognisable line from the chorus or whatever, but then I’ll go back and change it when I’m putting the finishing touches to a song. However, in this case, the title was always going to be ‘A Million Miles’; I never liked the idea of calling it ‘You’re Not Like Anyone I’ve Ever Met’ because it sounded too obvious.

Do you have any memories of how this song came about? I’m guessing at this time new song ideas were pouring out so was this just one in the crowd or did it stand out at all?

DLG: There are always new song ideas pouring out… it’s a blessing and a curse, to be honest! But this one did always stand out, yes. I wanted the lyric to evoke a very real situation that is familiar to everybody. We actually talked about it being a single at one point; obviously that never happened… but when we released George Best we put out a two-track ‘radio sampler 7”’ [Catalogue Number LEEDS 1X] and this song was the A-side.

From doing surveys and speaking to fans over the years, this is certainly one of the favourite tracks from George Best and often people’s actual favourite. The lyrics are a big factor in that adoration. It was kind of opposite to The Smiths’ ‘How Soon Is Now?’ from a few years earlier in that the narrator, despite his shyness goes out to a party, chats to a girl and walks her home. To the awkward teenage boys of the world, that sounded like a wonderful dream. How were you at parties as a lad?

DLG: Ha, ha… I was completely useless at parties as a lad… and I still am, to be honest. I’ve never been comfortable at any social gatherings when the numbers are greater than about four, really! And I was truly hopeless at chatting to girls and stuff. I do hint at that kind of discomfort in the second verse of this.

Who was Charlie?

DLG: I use to have a practise of name-checking acquaintances in songs and the Charlie in this case was Charles Gant, a school-friend of Keith Gregory [bass; The Wedding Present, 1985-1993]. We used to always stay at his flat in London whenever we played down there and I don’t know how he and his house-mates put up with us for so long, to be honest. He’s now a successful writer about films.

On the George Best version it always sounded to my ears more like “sharlie” so for years I thought you were singing “Sally” despite the ‘him” reference in the next line.

DLG: Ah, no… I didn’t meet Sally until much later.

Did people used to come up to you and ask if they were the people in your songs?

DLG: They did, yes. But I rarely confirmed or denied it, to be honest. I think people liked being immortalised in song, ha, ha… even if it it’s not a particularly flattering reference.

There’s an unusual way you have the lyrics written: the song is told in the first person perspective and yet in the first verse it seems to be the narrator talking to himself (I assume) and by the end talking to another friend on the phone. But all three perspectives use “you” whereas one might expect “she” and “he” to be used instead. Would you write this differently if you doing it today? Anything else you’d change?

DLG: That’s correct… in the verses and choruses the narrator is talking to the subject directly [in either a real or imagined conversation!] but in the middle eight [well, middle fourteen, strictly speaking] the narrator is telling a friend about the meeting with the subject. Is that not obvious? I thought it’d be clear by the way the melody and instrumentation have a different feel in that section… but perhaps you’re right…

One other way this song stands out on George Best is the guitar work which is less thrashy and frenetic and more layered. The tone especially throughout the verses really adds to the overall wistful mood of the song. Did the sound come about early in rehearsals or later in the recording process?

DLG: It’s funny because when I imagine this song I always think of it as one of the slower George Best tracks but it’s still pretty pacey. I do like those layered guitar parts, though. It was all worked out before the recording… as you can tell because this is pretty much what it sounds like live. There is an acoustic guitar overdub playing over everything, however, which, although it’s not that prominent, helps smooth it all out and adds to that wistful tone, I think. That was the producer’s idea.

Do you enjoy playing it live?

DLG: Very much so… for me it’s an easy one to play and I there’s a real sing along feel to it.

“Well, at least not yet” – the final lines take this song up another level from being just another love song but there’s conjecture about what it means. Is it just realism, sarcasm or something else entirely?

DLG: Definitely realism. I like to make all my lyrics and the subjects behind them as authentic as possible and in this case I’m just saying “Let’s not get too carried away here…”

Official Lyrics:

I must have walked past this doorway thirty times, just trying to catch your eye
You made it all worthwhile when you returned my smile
It all became worthwhile
Don’t you feel a little cold stood by the door?
You know I’d really like to talk some more
Oh don’t be worried about your friend; I think she left some time round ten
What was her name, again?

You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met
You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met

Do you see much of Charlie over here?
Oh I’ve known him off and on for years
He’s never mentioned you before
Oh that didn’t come out right at all and now I feel this small
That seems to be it
Don’t get me wrong but how’re you going to get back home?
Oh, I’d be willing to walk that way
There’s something I’ve just got to say
I could walk a million miles today

You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met
You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met

I kept bursting out with laughter all the way home
I had to tell somebody, and you happened to phone
I can’t think of anything else, no matter how I try
But you know I can’t even remember the colour of her eyes and that’s right

You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met
You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met
Well, at least not yet…

Studio Versions:

1 – George Best version  released 12/10/1987 TIME: 3:33

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Shaun Charman (drums);  Chris Allison (producer) and Alan Jakoby/Mick Williams/Steve Lyon (engineers)

2 – Peel Sessions version recorded 03/03/1987 TIME: 3:20

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Shaun Charman (drums);  Dale Griffin (producer) and Mike Robinson/Martin Colley (engineers)

3 – Swedish Radio Session version  27/03/1988 TIME: 3:37

(Recorded at BBC Broadcasting House; commissioned by Sveriges Radio and broadcast on Bowmen programme)
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Simon Smith (drums)

Live Versions:

1 – Live 1987 (Disc One) – TIME: 3:31

Recorded 05/05/1987 at Leicester Polytechnic
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Shaun Charman (drums); Mike Stout (live sound mix)

2 – Live 1987 (Disc Two) – TIME: 3:51

Recorded 22/11/1987 at Munchen Alabama-Halle
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Shaun Charman (drums); Mike Stout (live sound mix)

3 – Live 1988 (Disc One) – TIME: 3:40

Recorded 30/03/1988 at Rotterdam
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Simon Smith (drums); Mike Stout (live sound mix)

4 – Shepherds Bush Welcomes – TIME: 3:55

Recorded 20/11/2005 at London, Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry de Castro(bass); Simon Pearson (drums); Roger Lomas (live recording); Chris McConville(live sound mix)

Video Version:

1 – An Evening With The Wedding Present  released 2008
Live version – same details as Shepherds Bush Welcomes cd as above

George Best
George Best
Live 1987
Live 1987
Live 1988
Live 1988
Complete Peel Sessions
Complete Peel Sessions
Shepherd's Bush Welcomes
Shepherd’s Bush Welcomes

Live:

A Million Miles was a strong live favourite from its first appearances around 1987 through to 1988. It reappeared in 2005 during the reformation tour and of course again during the George Best +20 tour of 2007.

Video:

Here’s the video from the Evening with the Wedding Present dvd:

You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends

In April of 1987, Beechwood Music released the first of many, many indie music compilations and so it was that when I purchased this, I heard my very first song by The Wedding Present. Little did I know that they would go on to become my favourite band by some country mile. The eighth track on the cassette was a song called You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends. An admirable sentiment of course but was it really a good idea for a song? The answer: you bet your jangly guitar it was!

Coupled with This Boy Can Wait, this was the band’s third single released in short succession as they fired with energy and ideas. We start with a short drum roll by Shaun Charman followed by the afore-mentioned chiming guitar by David Gedge and Peter Solowka. I’m not a musical expert but I think this song is played in the key of ‘poignant heartbreak’. I’m already tearing up and the singing hasn’t even started yet. The story is set in school age, a time when bonds are first formed and lifetime friendships can sometimes be forged. Is this a platonic or a romantic relationship? At first it’s not clear but by the end it sounds like the pangs of a first love that drifts apart and is only viewed in the rear-view mirror.  One of the most evocative of lines is the third describing a “bridge that stood close by the sea”. I have only just found out some 26 years later that this bridge is apparently in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. The thing should have a plaque on it!

By the time we get to the first chorus, this sounds like not just the first love but a first sexual encounter and yet the sweetness of the lyrics never feel dirty. This is a song about love and the aching of memory. The third verse continues the theme of pain in remembrance. Of course, these would become familiar themes in the years to come as David Gedge revisits this favourite subject many times. Three minutes, two seconds in and we’re done. It’s fitting that a song that is all about looking back should end with the words that are the title. It’s a message and one you aren’t supposed to forget.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

Do you have any memories of how the idea first came to you?

DLG: I stole the title from the end of a letter written to me by Charles Gant who went to school with Keith Gregory [bass; The Wedding Present, 1985-1993] and who later went on to be a film journalist. He’s currently the film editor of Heat magazine, actually! He signed off with “you should always keep in touch with your friends” which I found to be quite a poignant line in itself but which also inspired me to think about how ‘first love’ can have a lasting impact…

Any general thoughts on the song now and whether you like playing it live?

DLG:  Yes, it’s one of my favourite songs from the ‘early’ Wedding Present era and it’s very enjoyable to play live. I share this view with Terry de Castro [bass, backing vocals; Cinerama, 1997-2005, The Wedding Present, 2005-2010] who says: “It really ‘drives’. It’s exciting. When it starts, it’s like a kick of adrenaline and it maintains an intensity and momentum that I find fun to play. It’s also kind of 80s retro-sounding but in a really authentic way because that’s when it’s from! Great bass line as well. It has a real groove.”

Is there anything you would change about the song now?

DLG: I think on “You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends” you can really hear us trying to establish The Wedding Present ‘sound’ and, so, although I don’t think we would record it that way now, from a historical perspective it’s a valid statement of intent.

 The song refers to a school time friendship/romance. Was this a specific person and do you in general keep in contact with friends from school and your university days?

DLG: It’s my policy never to reveal exactly whom a song is about… but in this case it’s fairly obviously about a first ‘proper’ girlfriend.  I’m actually guilty of not taking the advice offered by the title! The musician’s lifestyle and the consequent travelling makes it really difficult to keep in touch with friends. So I’m not really in contact with anybody I met at school or university, to be honest, and I do regret that to a certain extent.

It’s been said the ‘bridge’ in question is near Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Have you been back to it since? Could you still find it now?

DLG: I think I could find it, yes. It’s not the one that everyone thinks it is though… it’s not the “Spa Bridge”. I don’t know what my bridge is called but it’s next to the The Old Scalby Mills which is a restaurant. That “proper first girlfriend” of mine and I made a solemn pact that we would meet at the bridge on the same day every year for the rest of our lives. We said we’d return there even if we weren’t still together… but then neither of us could imagine not being together, because we were so ‘in love’! Ha, ha. Then, of course, we never went back. Ah, young love…

What made you choose this as a double a-side single since it was quite a break from the pace of the other singles at the start?

DLG: It was because we couldn’t decide which of “You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends” and “This Boy Can Wait” – which was more in keeping with the pace of the first two singles – should be the A-side. They were both worthy of being the title track. And it’s a ‘problem’ we’ve had ever since! Essentially The Wedding Present never have ‘throwaway’ tracks that are obvious B-sides. If a song isn’t good enough it’s simply not released.

Was there any chance of it appearing on George Best?

DLG: No. Apart from “My Favourite Dress” we didn’t want to put stuff we’d already released onto the album. It seemed like it’d be a bit of a rip off.

Where was the video filmed?

DLG: Scotland. The filmmaker approached us and invited us to make it on his friend’s farm out in the countryside near Edinburgh. It was all done on Super-8. I remember that Keith [Gregory] spent ages painting that backdrop, which was ultimately set on fire as we played.

Thanks David. It’s a very poignant song with a very simple message. The imagery is grounded in reality but feels timeless. I think this is one of your best ever compositions because of it’s simplicity  – bomaya

Official Lyrics:

After school, a friendship walking home
We fled across the fields until we were alone
To a bridge that stood close by the sea
The day that we spent there is ours eternally

I don’t have to tell you; I’m sure you understand
The first who lay beside me made me what I am
Oh, she made me what I am

A smile, in these ungrateful times
Makes all that you left me seem more worthwhile
But no, I couldn’t really dare to show how much I miss you
Isn’t that unfair?

I don’t have to tell you; I’m sure you understand
The first who lay beside me made me what I am
Oh, you made me what I am
And no matter how it ends, you should always keep in touch with your friends

Written and published by Gedge. Gedge’s publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Fintage Music International.

Studio Versions:

1 – Peel Session version recorded 11/02/1986, first broadcast 26/02/1986 TIME: 3:02

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass) and Shaun Charman (drums) Producer: Mick Wilcojc   Engineer: Mike Robinson
Special Thanks: Mike Stout (same version released on Tommy in 1988)

2 – AA-side single released July 1986 [Reception Records REC 003] TIME: 3:01

Recorded by: David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass) and Shaun Charman (drums)

Engineer:  Carl Rosamond

the-wedding-present-you-should-always-keep-in-touch-with-your-friends-receptionthe-wedding-present-you-should-always-keep-in-touch-with-your-friends-1986

Live: 

Played regularly from 1986 to 1988 plus 2006-2007.

Officially released on Live CD 1987 & Live CD 1988 [SCOPITONES TONE CD 025 & 033]

Video: 

Promo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rmmVxoNCJ8

From The Other Side of Midnight: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AyUv-7F_Hw