Friend of Ours

Album: Seldom Seen Kid (2008)

Songfacts®:

  • This song was written about Elbow's late friend, Manchester songwriter Bryan Glancy, who died in 2006. The album was also titled in honor of Glancy. The "Seldom Seen Kid" originally was a character from a Damon Runyon book. Frontman Guy Garvey explained in an interview with The Sun March 14, 2008 that Glancy was an extraordinary person and when he died the whole of Manchester mourned him: "He was best man for seven people, including singer songwriter David Gray. He was friends with homeless dudes who walked the streets and was friends with millionaire rock stars. His funeral was the biggest the Jewish cemetery had ever seen. The title is just a gentle way of dedicating the record to him but it's more about celebrating life than mourning death. If you lose a friend it makes you appreciate all the others."
  • Elbow won the 2008 Mercury Music prize for The Seldom Seen Kid. When Guy Garvey collected the award he dedicated the prize, "to our friend Bryan Glancy. Because he was one of the greatest men that ever lived." Garvey added that he would be giving the trophy to Glancy's mother, Mandy, to put on her mantelpiece.
  • Lead guitarist Mark Potter told popmatters.com: "That is a low-fi recording on the album. At first the song existed without the orchestration and we wanted the contrast between the beautiful opening coming in and just the five of us playing in a room."
    Garvey added: "It is the only track we recorded where we all just sat down and played our instruments together in one take. And we threw the violins in afterwards. And because he was our mate... we knew we had to have the best song on the record."
  • Garvey told the Manchester Evening News that this song was, "just a very simple goodbye to our old friend." He added: "You don't realize that you're going to die until it happens to somebody else or you get ill. Even when that happens, you don't 100% contemplate it. You don't even give it a second thought until it slaps you around the chops a bit. And it makes you love your friends a bit more and it makes you love your life a bit more. Far from being a sad thing, I hope that the record is a celebration of a pretty extraordinary bloke's life."

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