Bedbugs And Ballyhoo

Album: Echo & the Bunnymen (1985)

Songfacts®:

  • You may find some meaning in this song if you open your mind wide enough, but the lyric is really just a series of images lead singer Ian McCulloch for the sake of wordplay. "I don't even know how the hell I made that crap up," he said in a Songfacts interview. "Maybe it is about imperialism, in a way, or the way people just cower when there's a bully. Or someone who's giving you something and you're down on your knees saying, 'Please, yeah, yeah, yeah,' and then, 'No, no, no.'"
  • The band recorded this because they needed a B-side for their "Over Your Shoulder" single. They found a studio near Manchester and did it in a day. It started with a bassline Les Pattinson developed; Ian McCulloch came up with the lyrics, rhythm and chords. The entire band is credited for writing the track.
  • McCulloch refers to this kind of song as "gibberish and genius." One of its naysayers was Jake Drake-Brockman, who played keyboards with the band. McCulloch told Songfacts: "This Jake fella, we were close, but I never trusted his judgment on anything because he had a hyphenated name and he was from the south of England - he was from a posh village. So, I never trusted his taste or what he had to say. He said, 'That song's rubbish.' He ridiculed it. And I said, 'No, Jake, it's about imperialism.'"
  • This was first released in 1985 as the B-side of Australian and UK issues of "Over Your Shoulder." A new version was included on the group's fifth, self-titled album in 1987 and also issued as an A-side that year with various mixes.
  • Ray Manzarek of The Doors played keyboards on the 1987 version of this track. Around the same time, Manzarek collaborated with the band on a new version of The Doors song "People Are Strange," which was used on the soundtrack of the 1987 movie The Lost Boys. Released as a single, that song went to #29 in the UK.

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