Bohemian Like You

Album: Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia (2000)
Charted: 5

Songfacts®:

  • According to the Independent newspaper July 22, 2011, the song was inspired by a girl that Courtney Taylor-Taylor, the Dandy Warhols' guitarist and principal songwriter, found himself fantasizing about. He recalled how he was idly looking out of his apartment window watching traffic pull up at the lights below. "An early Eighties BMW 320i with a primer-grey front-left quarter panel stops there with an amazing looking young woman behind the wheel," Taylor Taylor said. "Her elbow was hangin' out the window at a jaunty angle and her roots were showing. She had a cool tattoo for that time and her face was exquisite." A one time car mechanic, the Dandy Warhol found himself desperately daydreaming her car might break down and he could spring to the rescue. "I sat there willing steam to pour from the hood of her car. I almost gave myself a hernia I was willing so hard."

    As the lights changed and she pulled away, Taylor-Taylor started strumming some chords on his guitar. Then he began to fantasize about what a relationship would be like with the mystery girl, in the shape of a one-sided conversation. "My silly little brain ran amok with the dream of love and vintage motor malfunctions," he recalled. "It was only natural to weave it into a song on the spot. I was overwhelmed, ya know?" His fantasy about the vision of loveliness at the traffic lights became "Bohemian Like You."

    So did he ever find out who the car girl was? "Sadly I never saw her again, although I asked around a lot with my German-car buddies," said Taylor-Taylor. "One dude told me she was a pastry chef. Needless to say I ate a lot of pastries that week."
  • Many people, especially those in the UK, know this song because it was featured in a Vodaphone commercial. It was also featured in more than a dozen films and TV shows in North America, and guitarist Pete Holmstrom is OK with the commercialization of the tune. When we talked to Holmstrom in 2012, he said, "as far as I'm concerned, anyway that works is fine by me."

    Holmstrom added that royalties the band made from this song's advertisements paid for some of the creative luxuries they enjoy. Holmstrom claimed the tune "paid for our independence" and said that the band wouldn't have been able to build a studio called the Odditorium in Portland without the extra cash.
  • When this song was first released in the UK in 2000, it failed to chart. After its prominent placement in a Vodaphone commercial, however, it was re-released and it eventually reached #5. The success of this tune helped The Dandys sell over 200,000 copies of Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia in the UK alone.
  • The music video for this song is very controversial and contains depictions of full-frontal male nudity as well as topless female nudity. The clip was rarely broadcast without the offending images pixilated.
  • This is the theme music for the BBC Radio Five sports phone-in show 6-0-6.

Comments: 13

  • Jrhartley from UkIt seems pretty evident to me that this song is mocking young hipster-types with delusions of being different, artistic and bohemian, hanging out in coffee shops. I imagine it was a response to the pretentious Portland Oregon late 1990s / early 2000s scene.

    "What do you do - oh yeah I wait tables to.... No I haven't heard your band but you guys are pretty cool".

    It's poking fun at twenty-somethings who think they are so painfully cool and alternative when actually they just work in coffee shops, making next to no money, making crap music that no one will ever hear, whilst their parents are paying for it all.
  • Joel from EarthSongfact:
    The opening guitar riff is played with an Open G tuning, and makes use of suspended fourth chords. The Open G tuning and the suspended fourth chords are most associated with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.
  • Ryan from Lawrence, KsOne of the best songs to hear them play live. They put so much energy into it.
  • Elena from Port M., AustraliaFrank, YES!!!!
    I just listened to all the songs people think it sounds like, Little Bitch, sounds closest to me!
    ps. awesome song!!
    :D
  • Louise from Newcastle, United KingdomI kind of agree with Jani. I've always interpreted this song as being about going through the motions of dating-
    "I really love your hairdo","You've got a great car"- the usual compliments when you flirt.

    "Well come over to my work,I'll have them cook you something that you'll really love"- that to me is the beginning of dating.

    "Wait, Who's that guy, Just hanging at your pad." Jealousy.

    "And I like you, I like you, I like you, I like you, I like you, I like you"- The constant reasuring that you like the person.

    Just my thoughts, lol.


  • Joe Ardinger from Fairfax, VaThe opening riff is more like "One hit to the Body" by the Stones. It can be found on the Dirty Work CD.
  • Sam from Christchurch, New Zealandi have to agree with JP i can hear the Similarity to 'jumping jack flash'in the Beginning
  • Joe from Fairfax, VaTo Stones Snobs like myself, the opening is obviously more like "One hit to the Body" by the Stones on their Dirty Work release.
  • Jp from King Of Prussia, PaJani from NZ- I can see what you mean about this song sounding similar to the Rollings Stones' "Brown Sugar", but actually I thought the very opening sounds similar to the beginning of their "Jumping Jack Flash".
  • Jayfoo from Radio City, CanadaOne of at least three Dandy tracks used in commercial advertising, the most recent I've heard being used "Godless"... from Thirteen tales as well.
  • Paul from Galway, IrelandUnreal song. catchy. great video. naked kareoke orgy
  • Jani from Auckland, New ZealandI thought the opening riff sounds like The Rolling Stones's "Brown Sugar". To me this song is really sarcastic and cynical - I used to know some 'Bohemian' types at university, and they did act/speak like this. The line "I'm getting wise..." says to me that this guy is faking his lifestyle to get what he wants, ie the girl.
  • Frank from Dallas, TxJust curious but, has anyone else noticed the beginning guitar riff sounds a lot like the opening riff on The Specials' "Little Bitch"?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Bryan Adams

Bryan AdamsSongwriter Interviews

What's the deal with "Summer of '69"? Bryan explains what the song is really about, and shares more of his songwriting insights.

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star RidersSongwriter Interviews

Writing with Phil Lynott, Scott saw their ill-fated frontman move to a darker place in his life and lyrics.

Amy Lee of Evanescence

Amy Lee of EvanescenceSongwriter Interviews

The Evanescence frontwoman on the songs that have shifted meaning and her foray into kids' music.

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"They're Playing My Song

With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Michael Franti

Michael FrantiSongwriter Interviews

Franti tells the story behind his hit "Say Hey (I Love You)" and explains why yoga is an integral part of his lifestyle and his Soulshine tour.

Marvin Gaye

Marvin GayeFact or Fiction

Did Marvin try out with the Detroit Lions? Did he fake crazy to get out of military service? And what about the cross-dressing?