Russian Hill

Album: Spilt Milk (1993)

Songfacts®:

  • Russian Hill is a neighborhood in San Francisco that even in the '90s was a very expensive place to live. Jellyfish lyricist/singer/drummer Andy Sturmer got an apartment there after the band released their first album, but he couldn't enjoy it because he was always on the road. It was a financial boondoggle, but did inspire this song.

    In "Russian Hill," Sturmer describes the area, singing about the cathedrals and trees and beautiful sunsets. It's rather idyllic, but only a select few can live there. "It was an amazing place to walk around," Sturmer told Steve Harris. "Everybody was so nice and the people were so beautiful - there was a nice park and everything. I was used to living in the not-so-great part of town. I thought, 'It's not like these people are any more deserving to live in such a wonderful place, it's just the luck of the draw.' I wanted to celebrate the beauty of that neighborhood, but inject a little cynicism in it. Why can't everybody live in a place like this?"
  • This is a track on the second Jellyfish album, Spilt Milk, which ended up being their last. The group's colorful pop sound was out of step with hair metal, grunge or hip-hop, the prevailing genres. Roger Manning, the keyboard player and other songwriter in the group, said of their sound in a Songfacts interview: "It's certainly not fashionable in any kind of mainstream sense, but there are pockets of audiences that keep that all alive. When it came time to finally have a stage to share my own ideas with my collaborators, any time we got any attention I was surprised, whether that was getting signed, or getting played on MTV or radio, or having people in the audience. To me, it was a miracle."

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