This song is a reworking of Theodore Gericault's painting The Raft of the Medusa, with the songwriter Jem Finer placing himself and his fellow Pogues within the horrific tableaux among the desparate sailors and passengers afloat on the raft. The painting was based on a real life incident when a French frigate, the Medusa ran aground off the west coast of Africa in 1816. 133 passengers were forced to fend for themselves for days on a makeshift raft with no food or water. Only 15 survived to be rescued a week later. The painting is currently exhibited in the Louvre in Paris.
The same painting appeared on the cover of the Pogue's second album, Rum, Sodomy, And The Lash with faces of the band members replacing those of the men on the raft.
Suggestion credit: Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2
Stephens Stills played timbales on the Bee Gees hit, "You Should Be Dancing." He was in the next door studio laying down a Crosby, Stills and Nash album and could hear Saturday Night Fever being recorded. Stills recognized its potential to be a monster hit and he wanted to contribute.