English indie rock quartet Arctic Monkeys' first single from their fourth studio album Suck It And See, was this garage rocker. The song was premiered on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show on April 11, 2011 and released as a digital download the following day. A limited-edition white-label seven-inch vinyl version was also released on Record Store Day, which was April 16.
The inspiration for the song came from a comment chief Monkeys songwriter Alex Turner made whilst recording the soundtrack for his friend Richard Ayoade's debut film, Submarine. He recalled to the NME: "I said it to somebody whose chair I'd moved and I didn't want them to hurt themselves. This was while we were in the studio doing the Submarine recording. James (Ford, producer) said, 'Oh that sounds like it could be a '60s garage 'Nuggets' tune and be called that. So then we thought, 'Well, OK if that's what you can't do (sit down because your chair has been moved), then what sort of ridiculous things can you do that probably more dangerous than if you just sit down?' But also I quite like that it's, y'know.. Well, you don't want people to be sat down, do you? You want them to be up."
The psychedelic video features filmed band rehearsals intercut with various bits of general footage, including highlights of one of the band's local football teams, Sheffield Wednesday.
The song finds Turner singing: "Find a well known 'ard man and start a fight/Wear your shell suit on Bonfire Night." He explained to Q magazine the song is a "list of really daft, dangerous things that you shouldn't do."
For those of you who aren't Brits, Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night is a British celebration whose origins go back to the early 17th century. On November 5th 1605 Guy Fawkes was discovered hiding in a cellar beneath the Houses of Parliament in close proximity to 20 or more barrels of gunpowder, a length of slow match and a lantern. He was taken to the Tower of London where he was agonizingly tortured on the rack until he named his co-conspirators. Since then the British have celebrated this escape from the Houses of Parliament being blown up. On November the fifth every year, they light up bonfires, place effigies of Guy Fawkes on the fire and combine this with a firework display.
Alex Turner told Shortlist Magazine the main reason the band opted to release this as the lead single from Suck It And See was because it was one of "the most guitar-heavy" tunes on the album and he wanted people to hear it as guitar music was currently in the doldrums. He explained: "People ask us why we released 'Don't Sit Down…' as the first single, because it's not the poppiest one on there - it's really guitar-heavy. But because we've got that fanbase and we're one of the guitar bands that have a shot of getting on the radio in the daytime, I almost feel like it's our job to put that sort of tune out."