Full Steam
by David Gray (featuring Annie Lennox)

Album: Draw The Line (2009)

Songfacts®:

  • Gray said of this track in publicity materials: "It's a song with quite dark sentiments. I see it as a broad political thing, I think of the line from TS Eliot, 'a patient etherised upon a table', that's the state we're in as a collective mass. We're just sedated, talking s--t. We're so disconnected from the guts of life most of the time."
  • This is a duet with former Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox. Initially Gray thought the song needed another male vocal like Chris Isaak. However after demoing it he realised a female was needed. The Welsh singer-songwriter explained in publicity materials: "It would have sunk under it's own worthy weight with another male singer singing with me. When I was demoing it with my own voice it was like two bullocks braying in a field – too testosterone."
  • Gray told The Daily Mail August 14 2009 that getting the Scottish diva on board helped him escape from a musical formula he felt was becoming stale. The Welsh singer had decided that he wanted to offer fans something more upbeat. He explained: "I went back to the drawing board. I wanted to make some big changes. Working with Annie was part of that process. We did everything live, and it added some real magic. The great thing about Annie is her lack of ego. She didn't just turn up and sing. She lifted the whole album. Her energy was scintillating."
  • The song was recorded in the Eurythmics' old North London recording studio, The Church, which Gray now owns. However when Lennox turned up at her old stomping ground to sing with him, she ended up reprimanding the singer. He explained The Daily Mail: "She was outraged that we hadn't changed the tartan carpet she and Dave Stewart put down. But she also told me the main studio brought back lots of memories. I think things had become pretty strange for her at the height of her fame - but she was genuinely pleased to be singing in that old room again."
  • Gray on Annie Lennox's vocal talents: "She sings lines like, 'Bullied, suckered, pimped and patronized,' and makes it sound like a good idea."

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