So Alive

Album: Love And Rockets (1989)
Charted: 79 3

Songfacts®:

  • After Bauhaus broke up in 1983, lead singer Peter Murphy launched a solo career, and the other three members formed Love and Rockets. "So Alive" is by far their most popular song, reaching #3 in America, where it also topped the Modern Rock Chart. Their only other Hot 100 entry was "No Big Deal," which reached #82.
  • This sultry track was conceived by Love And Rockets guitarist Daniel Ash, who also handled lead vocals. "I'd gone to a party on Saturday night, and I was married at the time, and I saw this woman over the other side of the room, and I was completely transfixed which is very odd because I was freshly married," he told Xsnoise. "It was very weird, but I was completely infatuated by her and so much so that I couldn't go near her to even speak to her, it was just this overwhelming thing. I can't explain it to this day. That's why the first line is, 'I don't know what color your eyes are.' Because I didn't get that close, I just saw this person in the distance."
  • The Bauhaus classic "Bela Lugosi's Dead" was famously recorded in one take, with the song forming very quickly. "So Alive" was similar in that it happened in a flash.

    The Monday after he saw the girl at the party, he joined his bandmates David J (bass) and Kevin Haskins (drums) in the studio. He had just the opening line and two chords, so he went to the basement to finish the track, which took him about an hour. The band was planning to record one of David J's songs, but they put that on hold for "So Alive," which they recorded that day. All three members share songwriting credit on the track.
  • Love And Rockets didn't typically use backup singers, but they wanted a "Walk On The Wild Side" vibe for "So Alive," so they brought in the trio of Lorna Wright, Sylvia Mason-James, Ruby James to "do do" the backing vocals.
  • The video was one of the first directed by Howard Greenhalgh, who went on to do Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" and Iron Maiden's "Wildest Dreams."
  • Some listeners interpreted this song to be about drugs, with the singer feeling "so alive" when he's high. It's actually the woman making him feel alive, although it makes him crazy that he can't have her:

    Wish I could stop
    Switch off the clock
    Make it all happen for you

Comments: 1

  • Chris from Germany One of the few songs of British bands which was more successful in the US than in the UK. Thanks to MTV. Mainstream Success.
    #3 on the HOT 100 in late 1989
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