Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Album: Non-Sop Erotic Cabaret (1981)
Charted: 3

Songfacts®:

  • This is about a gay man who is still in the closet and cannot acknowledge his lover. Soft Cell lead singer Marc Almond is gay and the band had a large gay following.
  • The first thing Soft cell vocalist Marc Almond did after "Tainted Love" was to buy a flat on Brewer Street in Soho, central London. It cost him £50,000, but was worth it for the views of the people inhabiting the seedy, seductive entertainment establishments. This song was inspired by some of the local locations. "That was Brewer Street in the rain," he explained to Mojo magazine, "outside the Pink Piano bar where the drag artists used to sing, with the neon light from the Raymond Revue Bar reflected on the wet streets. It was what Non-Sop Erotic Cabaret was about, what Soft Cell was about, what I was about."
  • A remix by Julian Mendelsohn featuring re-recorded vocals by Marc Almond was released as a single with the title of "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye '91." This new version reached #38 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • In 1999, David Gray released an acoustic version on his album White Ladder. The lyrics that appear towards the end, "We were born before the wind..." are borrowed from the opening line of the song "IInto The Mystic" by Van Morrison. Much of the final verse is also taken from Van Morrison; the lyrics, "Through the rain, hail, sleet and snow" coming from the song "Madame George" that appears on the Astral Weeks album. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Nick Evan - London, England

Comments: 5

  • Ktg from West Midlands I believe this song is a reflection on the difficulties of a relationship between a Bisexual Man and a female prostitute (Your used to wearing less, Hey little Girl Under the Deep red light)
  • Michael from Santa Cruz, CaI love the comments about this song.Marc Almond is openly gay but I don't know if that was the point of the song.My theory is that there was a break-up with a man/woman/partner and they haunt the club the protaganist hangs out at and refuse to let it go.
  • Matt from Portsmouth, United KingdomThere is a perfectly valid heterosexual interpratation of this son, for me this song is the theme tune to my break up with a former girlfriend who was always going off the rails to paraphrase Marc Almond. Despite all the drama associated with the relationship the final scene WAS played my way.
  • Steve from Lisburn, United KingdomI'd have to agree with Jason that while the song is inspired by the difficulties of a gay relationship where one or other of those involved haven't yet come out, the lyrics have been kept neutral, probably deliberately so to avoid the gay conotations affecting sales. [this is 1981 rememberand a song about gay love aint gonna do well in the charts] Indeed the only hint of the sexuality of the couple during the song is a hetrosexual one with the lyric "You in a cocktail skirt and me in a suit." [cross dressing not withstanding]. Also the lyric "A nice little housewife will give me steady life." fitted well to a hetrosexual listening audience as it painted a picture of the lover being a loose woman and not marriage material while a gay listening audience were able to associate the lyric to a closet gay/bisexual man who is considering moving on from the secret affair by staying in the closet and retaining the facade of a hetrosexual.
  • Jason from Dublin, Irelandreally nice, tender. but i don't agree with the gay intrepation. i think the song is about the great difficulty we all have in communicating with others, and how our efforts nearly always end in empty gestures like a wave or saying goodbye
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