Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime

Album: Dumb Waiters (1980)
Charted: 5 18
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  • The Korgis were James Warren on vocals and bass, and Andrew Cresswell-Davies (aka Andy Davis) on guitars and keyboards. The duo first came to the public attention in their native Britain with mid-tempo ballad "If I Had You," which made UK #13 in April 1979. It quickly transpired that, far from being newcomers to the music scene, the band had in fact been making records with the prog-rock quartet Stackridge between 1968 and 1976. After Stackridge petered out, Warren and Davis had continued to record, and followed up the success of their debut single with this sensitive ballad which became their only US hit.
  • In Jim Beviglia's book Playing Back The 80s: A Decade Of Unstoppable Hits, Korgis' frontman James Warren explained the impetus for "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime."

    "I'd been toying with the idea that it'd be great if I could just come up with a Transatlantic rock ballad, something that would appeal to the States, to the Americans as well as English listeners," he said. "So that's when I started playing the piano intro. Just one that chord, which is C-sharp minor seventh. And everything just sort of happened very easily, effortlessly from that. I think the whole tune was written in about ten minutes. I got straight down to writing the words. So it was a very fast thing."

    Warren also said the simple lyrics concealed big ideas. "At the time, I was very into Buddhist philosophy. And also there was a particular Indian spiritual teacher called (Jiddu) Krishnamurti. He had his very individual philosophy, but it was basically a Buddhist approach to life. I used to read his books constantly at the time. So the lyrics to that song were really his kind of idea which I had imbibed. This thing about changing fundamentally the way we look at life, the way we look at other people. Change your heart and look at the world with completely fresh eyes, not with the eyes of our social conditioning. Break away from your social conditioning and look at the world as if you were looking at it for the first time without any preconceptions. All that kind of stuff. As simply as possible, I made that the lyric of the song."
  • Warren explained in Playing Back The 80s that "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime" was a creation that was impossible to repeat. "It was one of those unusual, magical things that just seemed to have a life of its own. It just seemed to work. It's not a repeatable kind of thing. I don't think I've ever been able to write 'Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime, Part II.' It's just sort of one of those one-off things."
  • Dumb Waiters was The Korgis second album and one of the signature releases of 1980 in the UK, ushering in the New Romantic era. This was the peak of The Korgis success, although James Warren kept the band going with constantly changing personnel into the early '90s.
  • This song has been covered many times over the years, by folk-rockers The Dream Academy in 1987, Yazz (1991), Baby D (1995), French techno duo Marc Et Claude (2000) and even Beck (2004), who's version was used in the Jim Carrey film Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dave - Cardiff, Wales

Comments: 14

  • Brian from MobileWas stationed on Guam when I first heard it. I was stirred by the undercurrent of encouraging empathy for the forgotten ones. It stuck with me.
  • Harry White from CaliforniaThis played at the end of "The Eternal Sunshine", a title using a quotation from the 1717 poem Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope and recited in the movie by Kirsten Dunst:

    The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
    Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
    Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd;
    Labour and rest, that equal periods keep;
    "Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;"
    Desires compos'd, affections ever ev'n,
    Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav'n.

    The song fits perfectly into the story's ending when Carrey's character is asking for forgiveness from Winslet's character and then both realizing it's just memory, and they can forgive each other. We are all human and make mistakes but we're learning, and everybody can't survive without love.

  • Chris from Pontypridd, WalesThe best song of the 1980s. Only Toto’s ‘Africa’ comes anywhere near.
  • Neil from AustraliaStill brings tears to my eyes ... the song is about the eternal craving for love from someone that won't give it ... each individual version gives this song justice ... one of the most underrated pop songs from the 80s in my opinion.
  • Mark from UsaThe string instrument you hear in the background is called a Guzheng pronounced "Goo-Zheng". It is the most ancient Chinese instrument.
  • Don from Sevierville, TnWhen I first heard this song, I thought it was Al Stewart. I think the singer sounds a lot like him, almost identical.
  • Markantney from Biloxi, MsJun 2014, so you guys know it wasn't just you:):) That song stopped me in my tracks too when I first heard it; sometime in the early 80s when it first came out. I remember Casey Kasem (RIP) introducing it and I would listen for the following weeks to see if it would make it to #1; which it didn't.

    But I swear they didn't play it too much on the radio, maybe because the song sounds like it could/should be played at the end of a Horror Movie.

    I'd be surprised if it was re-released that it wouldn't chart again?
  • Jeff from Fairfax, VaDoes anyone know the name of the stringed instrument that is shown in the music video? - it has puzzled me for years!
  • Chris Davidson from Greenock, United KingdomThere's also a sublime version on THE FIELD's lp from 2009, 'Yesterday And Today'!!!
  • Lore from Scanabush, MbI was just a kid when I first heard this song on the radio at my 'big city' cousin's place (as I was all country boy). It stopped me in my tracks, I was transported to a mysterious place! I heard it only a few times on the radio that year (1980) but managed to capture it on a cassette recorder on AM radio (mono! remember those!). The tape got eaten but I managed to repair it somewhat. I found that old tape 15 years later and played it. The song was even more haunting on the old garbled up tape, all faint. I looked for The "Georgies' for 20 years but to no avail. My kid finally found it 22 years later on the internet by the lyrics! I cried. I never forgot it and would hear it in my fading memory over the years. It still takes me away. Its a very cool song.
  • Phil from Torrance, CaThe first time I heard this song was as background music at a communications facility in Northern Scotland; a hauntingly beautiful song. I finally heard it again about 10 years later, and listened to it time after time. There are two variations to this song by the Korgis: The music is the same, and the lyrics similar. I prefer the more-well-known version, but they are both outstanding.
  • Marian from Eugene, Oregon, OrHere I am in late middle age, and I'm going to carry on like a crazed fan! That song is a miracle! That it is a soaring, powerful ballad is an understatement! It feels supernatural, and makes me get goosebumps. Like I have a direct line to the Universe, and it's talking directly to me. I heard it once, in 1980, and was griefstricken that I never heard it again, until April 19, 2009. You sure those guys aren't channels?
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesNo problem Edward. For the record, other artists who have covered this song in addition to those listed above include - Army of Lovers (1996); Erasure (2003); The Kings Singers (2004 - featuring ex-Korgis member James Warren on lead vocals); and Zucchero featuring Vanessa Carlton (2005)
  • Edward Pearce from Ashford, Kent, EnglandOne of the classic songs of the early 80s. Thanks Dave for the info. Incidently their first hit single If I Had You was taken from Rachmanioff?s Symphony no 2.
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