What You're Proposing

Album: Just Supposin' (1980)
Charted: 2

Songfacts®:

  • Co-written by lead guitarist Francis Rossi and Bernie Frost, who sang backing vocals on the Just Supposin' album, this uptempo commercial track runs to 4 minutes 13 seconds. It was released October 3, 1980 backed by "A B Blues."

    The single was the subject of a full page advertisement in at least one music paper which said the first 75,000 copies would be sold in a special bag. This appears to have been money well spent as it just missed out on topping the chart. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • So what exactly is being proposed here? "It was about this meeting with this woman who had offered herself to me," Francis Rossi said in our 2014 interview, adding that this woman was somebody's wife. Francis passed up this opportunity, which he came to regret. "Wish I'd gone there, now that I think about it," he told us.
  • The very unusual guitar sound on this song comes courtesy of a very unusual guitar-maker. Steve Acworth, who the band referred to as "The Cosmic Cowboy," worked out of a London music shop that the band used for their gear.

    The guitar he made for Francis Rossi is a piezo crystal model, which was new at the time. These guitars use pickups made of the crystals to create a distinctive sound. "I wanted a guitar that sounded like a telecaster before it hits that pickup," Rossi told us. "So just the resonance - literally the strings."

    Acworth made such a guitar and Rossi purchased it. When he started to play it, this song quickly developed. Said Rossi: "I'd stuck a capo on, so I think it made it into C sharp. I played, but it was much slower, and for some reason, I started to instantly carry on with it - this was before the days when you could just stick it down on your iPhone and keep it.

    I sort of strummed it, and it started to sound gospel-y to me. I had this whole vision - and I can't find that vision anymore - but I know that was going on in my head.

    I got it down in minutes and thought, Wow, this is really good. I was writing with Bernard Frost at the time, and he came around the following morning. Within minutes that song was finished. It's so repetitive. But. It. Just. Has. Something. I get very enthused about the song. I love it, and it was a very big hit in this country, did extremely well, which makes me salivate."

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