SOME FRIENDLY TRACK BY TRACK
By Tim Burgess
zavvi and Same Teens asked Tim Burgess to cast his mind back over their back catalogue and the songs of the last 20 years starting with Tim guiding us through Some Friendly, the album which catapulted them into the public consciousness…
1. You’re Not Very Well
Originally called Some Friendly. This song is a laid back call to arms for the weary. I remember we were working this one out live because we were short of songs. I remember all the kids at the front of the stage loved us and enjoyed seeing us work it out as we went along and knew we were on to something. At the back the 30 something’s were obviously skeptical. Rob Collins and I decided that the skeptics were obviously jaded – i.e. you’re not very well.
2. White Shirt
Musically inspired by the band FELT who I loved and to this day still think are the best band from Birmingham…ever! When I was a teenager in Northwich/ Manchester I wasn’t allowed to go into most clubs or pubs because of the way I dressed. So I came to accept/believe that I was metaphorically a ‘stain on a white shirt’ which was fine by me, as I was a punk The white shirt brigade wasn’t my style!
3. The Only One I Know
About being a young man, being broken hearted but with hopes of one day finding true love. It’s become a bit of a classic. Rob Collins got light treatment in prison because of this song.
Lyrically inspired by the poll tax riots in London 1990. I walked out of Goodge St. tube to see absolute carnage on the streets of central London – bricks through shop windows cars and buses on fire. It was like a war zone. I saw great opportunity when people got together and stood up for something they believe in, the music inspired by a cross between Talk Talk’s – Life’s What You Make It, obviously for the title positive vibes and Blurt’s – Dyslexia (for the repetition)
A song I think about people losing themselves, or, at least losing their edge… quite dreamy… such a weird single. But I think the first three singles were very odd at the time. Think the drum beat was taken from De La Soul’s ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ album.
6. 109 Pt.2
We had to write Robert De Niro a letter asking him for approval of his voice in the song. We had been watching “Angel Heart” a lot and I was intrigued with the whole ‘egg being a symbol of the soul’ scene. So I had to write the letter. Which I still have somewhere at my mum and dad’s house. Anyway he heard the song read the letter and approved of what we were doing. Amazing…we were very happy
7. Polar Bear
Originally called ‘Looking for the Orange One’ but we decided to call our fanzine that name instead. Andy Bell from Ride/Oasis told me he read in the NME that The Charlatans had a song called Polar Bear and thought it was such a cool title that he used it for one of his songs on Ride’s debut LP.
8. Believe You Me
Inspired musically The Prisoners- a band we all loved, went to see live and all wanted to sound like. Lyrically and emotionally New Order had a song called “Ultraviolence” and I wanted to get that kind of animosity in the song
About saying goodbye to a cold, hollow, bad girl…musically inspired by Rain Parade’s- “This Cant Be Today”. The first song we a wrote together and collectively said “Wow! We really are the best band around”- it was this song that was the turning point
Beat inspired by The Meteors and probably the Joe Meek’s “Girls” LP . The music is very dreamy and the vocals very innocent.
I had two ideas lyrically; 1. About living in a painting but as/when the painting becomes alive so do I 2. Also about a girl who disintegrates through drugs/corruption and needs my help I used to always think people needed my help for some reason.
11. Sproston Green
I remember reading John Lennon would spin himself around during “Tomorrow Never Knows” with a mega phone so during rehearsals I made my own version of a megaphone.
Fancy bagging yourself the complete Charlatans back catalogue?
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of The Charlatans and the re-issue of ‘Some Friendly’, zavvi and Same Teens are offering you the chance to win The Charlatans back catalogue!
CLICK HERE to enter our competition.