This Is What She's Like

Album: Don't Stand Me Down (1985)

Songfacts®:

  • The centerpiece of Dexys Midnight Runners' Don't Stand Me Down album, this mini-opera ran for just short of twelve and a half minutes. Trombonist Jim Paterson commented to The Guardian in 2014: "It's not really a pop song, more of a classical piece: three separate symphonies. When we play it live now it can be 22 minutes long."
  • The lyrics came to frontman Kevin Rowland as he was going off to sleep. He recalled: "Those words – "What's she like? Tell me what's she like" – and melodies just came. It didn't sound like anything."

    "It's a love song, but it's got a s--tlist in there about the English upper classes," he added. "I wouldn't write that now, but back then I hated them very passionately."
  • The 'Little Nibble' mentioned in the opening dialogue is a cafe in Bearwood Road, Smethwick in which the band used to meet up for tea-drinking sessions.
  • The Don't Stand Me Down album was a commercial failure upon release, in part due to Kevin Rowland's stubborn refusal to release a single. Without anything being played on the radio, the LP died at the hands of the paying public. This song was eventually released as a single, but it was unable to kickstart any sales.

    Don't Stand Me Down is now considered something of a lost treasure: It was featured in the book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, who refer to it as a "towering achievement, one that can be viewed as Pet Sounds for the 1980s."

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