Soho (Needless To Say)

Album: Past, Present And Future (1973)
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Songfacts®:

  • Al Stewart calls this his Alzheimer's song, because when he is no longer able to sing it, he will know it's time for the old folks' home. In November 2009 when he appeared at Eddie's Attic, Decatur, Georgia, accompanied by his acolyte Dave Nachmanoff, he said the song is "mindbogglingly complicated" adding "the words come really, really fast. I have no idea why I wrote this; I was probably reading W.H. Auden at the time..."

    The reason he wrote it is probably not that mysterious; when he moved to London as a teenaged singer-songwriter chasing the dream he actually lived in Soho; he wrote his classic "Bedsitter Images" while living at 25B Lisle Street in its heart before moving to Elvaston Place and maneuvering to California via Swiss Cottage.
  • As well as being a commentary on a district of London that is glamorous, mysterious, notorious and historically fascinating simultaneously and in equal measure, this is a list song, the sort Cole Porter might have written had he been "a post-war baby in a small Scots town."
  • Recorded for the 1973 album Past, Present And Future, the original cut runs to 3 minutes 55 seconds. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above

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