Damaged Goods

Album: Entertainment! (1978)

Songfacts®:

  • English post punk band Gang of Four enjoyed little commercial success but their blend of punk with funk has been influential on a number of 21st century bands including Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. This song was the lead track on their debut EP, which was an indie hit. They later included it on their first album, Entertainment! on the EMI record label. Gang Of Four singer Jon King told Clash Magazine: "The song was on our debut Fast Product EP, which became a big indie hit. But we weren't paid a cent for our work, majorly ripped off, so we re-recorded it for Entertainment!. I regret not punching out the bloke who ran the label. (Note to self: do this before you die) We're often asked "why did you sign to a major label if you're so alternative?" One answer: EMI at least paid us for the records it sold."
  • Thirty years after the release of Entertainment!, King recalled the song to Clash Magazine: "Saturday afternoons, we wandered, walleyed, through the sun-bright aisles of Morrison's supermarket in Leeds, looking for a 2-4-1 bargains and generic baked beans. The hopeless in-store slogan at the point of sale was: "The change will do you good" meaning "change" as in money and "change" as in switch store. Someone got paid for this rubbish!. I found this good starter for words about a doomed relationship where legover had become, maybe, too much of a good thing. Or at any rate, a thing. Andy (Gill, guitarist) punctuates the main lyric with a call and response thing and sings the iconic mid section "Damaged goods, send them back" words. The music's cute: alternate the guitar and bass duh duh dink! Duh duh dink! & build the song around this R&B clatter among dynamic drop outs where everyone got to feature. We didn't want a pop structure. We'd had it with dominant, subdominant, tonic chord progressions. So we had none, instead."
  • In 2003, Entertainment! was ranked number 490 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Comments: 1

  • Zabadak from London, EnglandDamaged Goods gave its name to a well-respected indie label in the UK.
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