According to the book The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock
by John Harris, this song was written about the fall of the Iron Curtain and taken up as an anthem by bomber pilots during the first Gulf War. The song reflected the optimism felt around the free world as nations came together. A good indicator of this attitude is the Doomsday Clock, which is run by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to indicate how close the world may be to destruction at any given time. In 1947, the clock was set at 7 minutes to midnight, but in 1953, when the US and USSR tested nuclear devices, the clock reached 2 minutes to midnight as nuclear war loomed. Tensions eased in the '70s and the clock moved back, but the cold war brought the clock to 3 minutes in 1984. In 1991, the year the US and USSR signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and destroyed many nuclear weapons, the clock was moved to 17 minutes, which is the farthest it has ever been to midnight. In 2007 it was at 5 minutes.
Radhika - Gurgaon, India
In America, this is by far the best-known song by Jesus Jones, but they did have another big hit with the follow-up single, "Real, Real, Real," which went to #4. In their native UK they had several other hits, including "International Bright Young Thing" and "The Devil You Know."
Band leader Mike Edwards wrote this song. He told the Guardian newspaper August 9, 2003: "With hits around the world we became famous for a few years. At the start of 1990 I wrote a song called 'Right Here, Right Now,' a title I disliked but intended to change before the final recording. Thirteen years later, I'm still making a living from that title, even if Fatboy Slim's identically titled song may have eaten into my action."
The message of hope makes this a popular song for political candidates; Bill Clinton used the song during his 1992 presidential campaign, and his wife Hillary Clinton used it during her 2008 campaign.
In a 1992 MTV interview, keyboardist Iain Baker said that the band never expected this song to be a hit - right up until it became one.
Inspiration for this song struck in 1989 when Mike Edwards was listening to the Simple Minds' version of "Sign O' The Times
," which they recorded on a 1989 EP titled The Amsterdam
. The song, written and originally recorded by Prince, is his perspective of the troubling events of the late '80s.
While Edwards listened to the music, he watched the Berlin Wall coming down on television.
"I never thought that I'd see such a thing in my lifetime," he told The Guardian in 2018
, "and I wanted to write a sort of updated but positive 'Sign O' The Times' to reflect what was happening."
Keyboardist Iain Baker described the house Edwards was in when the song came to him.
"It was the last place you'd imagine a gangly 24-year-old bloke to come up with a song that played a role in two US elections," he told The Guardian
The house was located
at Chapter Road, near Dollis Hill in London. Baker remembers several mundane items and one funny detail. On the wall hung a poster of the 1985 film film Subway
, which has become a cult favorite primarily because it's so bizarre. The movie is about a crook who robs a safe, blackmails a wealthy man's wife, hides out in the underbelly of the Paris Metro system with people resembling characters from a comic book, and starts a rock band with a bunch of buskers.
Jesus Jones originally sampled Prince's "Sign O' The Times" for the song and constructed a guitar solo out of "lots of Jimi Hendrix samples mashed together."
None of this sampling made it onto the record because their producer, Martyn Phillips, learned the hard way that using samples could lead to legal distress; after producing the 1990 album Happiness for the British New Wave band The Beloved, he got in hot water for sampling bits from an opera singer who sued the band.
After finishing the song, the band performed in Romania just after the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu and his Communist dictatorship. "The country was emerging out of a tunnel," Edwards told The Guardian, "which was exactly what I was singing about."
SBK Records, Jesus Jones' US label, wanted the song remixed from its UK version, simply for the sake of having a remix. Edwards went in and did it, but the song that came out the other end was basically the same exact one he started with.
The song's original title was "Nelson." The name comes from Prince, whose full name was Prince Rogers Nelson.
Even though the finalized sound doesn't bear the markers at all, the band started out wanting to create a guitar line reminiscent of the stuff on Lou Reed's New York album.