Debris

Album: A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...to a Blind Horse (1971)

Songfacts®:

  • The July 3, 2009 issue of the London Evening Standard includes "Debris" in its London Calling 15 Capital Classics with the comment: "East Ender Ronnie Lane locates his saddest love song by the Blitz-era rubble that hosts the Sunday morning market".

    This is a fair description of this semi-acoustic track which includes a passable saxophone solo.
  • Ronnie Lane (1946-97) was born at Forest Gate, London, and romantic interests aside, "Debris" is a fairly obvious tribute to his East End/working class roots. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2

Comments: 3

  • David from Cleveland, Ohio, Usa“Debris” is Ronnie Lane’s tribute to his dad, first recorded with the Faces. By all accounts, Lane’s father, a bus driver (hence the reference to “the depot” in the song) was an irrepressibly cheerful guy who never once complained about his lot in life as a de facto single parent, caring for a couple of young sons as well as a wife disabled by multiple sclerosis. Sadly, MS is the same disease that would one day rob Ronnie Lane of his ability to play his music, and eventually take his life at the age of 53.
    The “debris” in the song refers to a bombed-out portion of the hardscrabble East End London neighborhood in which the Lanes lived that had not yet been rebuilt after World War II. Apparently, on weekends an impromptu flea market would spring up on the rubble, with locals trying to generate some cash by selling whatever they could.
    The last lines in the song are “And I wonder what you would have done/ Without me hanging around”. In live performances, Ronnie Lane often changed the wording to “I wonder what you could have been”, in clear recognition of the great sacrifices his father made for the family. Understated as it is, I can’t think of a greater expression of gratitude toward a parent that I have heard than this song.
    An added treat is some of the most tasteful lead guitar work of Ron Wood’s career.
  • Tim from North Mankato, MnCarlos: The song is about Ronnie Lane's father (Stan Lane, Sr.) and growing up in a bombed out area of east London. I found a December 1983 interview with Ronnie Lane in which he discusses "Debris" and other songs... "Oh, "Debris" is basically about my old man. Yeah, the Debris used to be… The Debris was down… not Petticoat Lane. Adjoining Petticoat Lane-- which is famous, everybody knows about it—is another market called Club Row, and that was all on Debris. People just used to come out there with all their chuck-outs and flotsam and jetsam and spread it out on the Debris, you know? And my father used to go down there every Sunday. Every Sunday morning, he’d take me down there and he’d root around for hours in all this s--t! (Laughter) And, uh, it wasn’t until I was in New York that I realized that I quite missed it! I was feeling homesick at the time." The complete interview can be found at http://the-faces.com/lane/ints/2lane1.htm .

    Faces' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction is well-deserved. It shed light on a wonderful group that many people weren't familiar with. They left behind four good LPs. And Rod Stewart's best solo work is on his first four solo albums recorded while in Faces - and largely with the help of his bandmates.
  • Carlos from São Paulo, BrazilCould someone confirm if Mr Ronnie Lane, in this song, is talking to his father? I knew it since the LP record was launched here in my country. But due to the natural difficulties to catch the meanings in English I never went far to understand what is was about. Maybe a song for his wife or girlfriend. But it's really another story. Thanks. C.Alberto / São Paulo - Brazil.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Sarah BrightmanSongwriter Interviews

One of the most popular classical vocalists in the land is lining up a trip to space, which is the inspiration for many of her songs.

Kristian Bush of SugarlandSongwriter Interviews

Kristian talks songwriting technique, like how the chorus should redefine the story, and how to write a song backwards.

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.

Crystal WatersSongwriter Interviews

Waters tells the "Gypsy Woman" story, shares some of her songwriting insights, and explains how Dennis Rodman ended up on one of her songs.

Krishna DasSongwriter Interviews

The top chant artist in the Western world, Krishna Das talks about how these Hindu mantras compare to Christian worship songs.

David Bowie Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

How well do you know your David Bowie lyrics? Take this quiz to find out.