Top 10 "talky bits" in songs

6 November 2020, 19:51

Morrissey chats to Smiths producer Stephen Street (artist's impression)
Morrissey chats to Smiths producer Stephen Street (artist's impression). Picture: Harry Prosser/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

How many of these spoken word moments in classic tunes can you remember?

There's nothing more effective in a classic track than the instant the singer breaks off for a spoken word moment. Are they playing to the audience? Is it an internal monologue? Or a dialgoue between two band members accidentally caught on tape? Radio X looks at some examples.

  1. The Smiths - I Started Something I Couldn't Finish

    "OK Stephen, shall we do that again?" Morrissey ends this latter-day Smiths classic with a call out to producer Stephen Street. Presumably they didn't do it again.

  2. Weezer - Undone (The Sweater Song)

    "It's been a while man, life's so rad. This band's my favourite man, don't ya love 'em?" Karl Koch (Weezer’s unofficial fifth member chats to enthusiastic bassist Matt Sharp and then Mykel Allen, who ran the Weezer fan club, in a horribly realistic portrayal of backstage hipsters.

  3. Len - Steal My Sunshine

    "Hey, Matt"
    "Yeah, Tim?"
    "Hey, you talked to Marc lately?"
    "Uh, haven't really talked to him but he looks pretty, uh, down"
    "He looks pretty, uh, down?"
    "Yeah, well, maybe we should cheer him up then"
    "What do you, uh, suppose we should do?"
    "Well, does he like butter tarts?"

  4. David Bowie - Modern Love

    "I know when to go out... I know when to stay in. Get things done." Bowie kicks off this song - and the whole Let's Dance album from 1983 - with this philosophical muttering.

  5. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - It's A Beautiful World

    "Attention, attention! Mesdames, messieurs! Accrochez-vous bien et faites vos adieux! L'humanité est en train de fondre aux deux pôles" Noel's French scissor-playing bandmate Charlotte Marionneau announces the following: "Attention, attention! Ladies and gentlemen! Hold on tight and say goodbye! Humanity is melting at both poles!" Crikey.

  6. Mötley Crüe - Girls Girls Girls

    "Hey Tommy check that out, man!" "What Vince, where?" Mötley Crüe set back the cause of feminism at least a century with their ode to "gentlemen's" clubs.

  7. Nirvana - Territorial Pissings

    "Come on, people, now! Smile on your brother. Everybody get together, try to love one another right now." Kurt Cobain opens this ferocious song from Nevermind by quoting an old hippie song from 1967 by The Youngbloods.

  8. R.E.M. - Belong

    "Her world collapsed early Sunday morning. She got up from the kitchen table, folded the newspaper and silenced the radio." Michael Stipe was always half poet, half singer, as this track from 1991's Out of Time demonstrates.

  9. The Doors - The End

    "The killer awoke before dawn. He put his boots on. He took a face from the ancient gallery and he walked on down the hall..." Jim Morrison pauses in this epic Doors song for a memorable spoken word interlude, which was censored on its initial release.

  10. The Beatles - Helter Skelter

    "I've got blisters on my fingers!" There must have been a few takes of this raucous 'White Album' rocker to cause the normally amiable Ringo Starr to give this exclamation.