Gulls

Album: Mutineers (2014)

Songfacts®:

  • This windswept album closer sums up Gray's approach to songwriting. "There's a yearning for removal from earthly stuff, you are in music, and gone," he told The Daily Telegraph. "That's how it feels to me, music is the land of the gulls, and the wind that blows through it is nobody's, you can't take ownership of it, it's just there, you have to surrender to it."
  • Here are some gull fun facts:

    The herring gull's cry features in the opening of BBC Radio 4's long-running program Desert Island Discs.

    Toronto police arrested Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield in 1983 for "causing unnecessary suffering to an animal" after Winfield threw a baseball during warm-ups and accidentally killed a seagull.

    Students from Leicester University in England showed that 2,425,907 seagulls would have been needed to lift a giant peach, not 501 as in Roald Dahl's story.

    A seagull drinks salt water because it has special glands that filter out the salt.
  • David Gray first came up with this song after coming off the road in 2011. "I sat down at the piano," he recalled to Artist Direct. "I started to get into some somber, moody chords. They sounded interesting. I started sketching a lyric. I said, "I don't want to make this dingy middle age music that vaguely moans about being alive. I want to be saying, 'Hallelujah' in a different way!"

    Gray decided to approach Mutineers in a different way and began to work back from words into music. "It's the wrong way around for me," he said. "Usually, I go from the melody and rhythm into lyrics. In doing so, I had some interesting success. Then, I began to use other people's words."

    This song came from a Belgian poem by Herman de Coninck called Just As This Island Belongs to the Gulls ."I took it downstairs, simplified it, and found a chord sequence that began to walk," Gray said. "I started to write. When I wrote the first line, it really got my attention. It was the s--t I was after. I was finding something new, and it was a major shard of light coming through."
  • Herman de Coninck (1944 - 1997) was the editor of the popular Belgian weekly radio and television magazine HUMO between 1970-83. His first volume of poetry, De Lenige Liefde, appeared in 1969, and became the best-selling volume of 20th-century Flemish poetry, winning several literary prizes. Just As This Island Belongs to the Gulls was translated into English by Laure-Anne Bosselaar and Kurt Brown in 2006.

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