Jesus In A Camper Van

Album: I've Been Expecting You (1998)
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Songfacts®:

  • In 2000, Robbie Williams was sued by the publishing company Ludlow Music because "Jesus in a Camper Van" lifted a lyric from the Loudon Wainwright III song "I Am the Way," which itself is a parody of the Woody Guthrie song "New York Town." The lyric from "I Am the Way" goes: "Every Son of God gets a little hard luck sometimes, especially when he goes around saying he's 'the way.'" Williams changed it to: "I suppose even the Son of God gets it hard sometimes, especially when he goes around saying 'I am the way.'"

    Williams claims he heard someone utter the line while he was in rehab for cocaine addiction in 1997, and only found out it was from Wainwright III's song after he recorded it. Speaking to MTV News at the time, Williams continued: "I found out afterwards that Loudon Wainwright III actually wrote the lyric. So, I phoned him up and asked 'Can I use it?' and he said 'Yes.' So, cheers to Mr. Wainwright III."

    Despite this, Williams was ordered to pay 25% of the income generated by "Jesus in a Campervan" to Ludlow Music. The judge also ruled any future copies of I've Been Expecting You must not include the song. As a result, I've Been Expecting You was reissued with "Jesus in a Camper Van" replaced by "It's Only Us."
  • Before performing this song at a secret rarities concert at the Roundhouse in London in October 2019, Williams commented: "You know what happens when you release an album and it's really successful? If somebody else has written the thing that you think you've written, they'll find you. And they did. Ladies and gentlemen, this song cost me £2.5 million. Enjoy!"
  • I've Been Expecting You is Williams' second album after Life Thru a Lens. The album spawned five singles: "Millennium," "No Regrets," "Strong," "She's the One," and "Win Some Lose Some." The album has been certified 10x Platinum in the UK, where it has sold over 2.5 million copies.

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