The Ghost In You

Album: Mirror Moves (1984)
Charted: 68 59

Songfacts®:

  • "The Ghost In You" was written by Psychedelic Furs lead singer Richard Butler and his brother/bass player, Tim. The poignant lyrics about matters of the heart are typical of Richard's work.
  • This was released as a single from the band's fourth album, Mirror Moves. By this time, Richard and Tim Butler had moved from England to America and the group seemed staged for stardom in that country, but they never really caught on. "Ghost In You" was the only song from the album to chart in the US, reaching #59. The biggest American breakthrough for the Furs came when their 1981 song "Pretty In Pink" was adapted for the 1986 John Hughes movie starring Molly Ringwald.
  • The band, which started as a 6-piece, was down to a trio for the Mirror Moves album: lead singer Richard Butler, guitarist John Ashton, and bass player Tim Butler. Their producer, Keith Forsey, did double duty, handling drums in place of Vince Ely, who had recently left the Furs.
  • A few soundtracks featured this minor hit from The Psychedelic Furs... by other artists. Counting Crows recorded it for the '90s teen comedy Clueless and Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath covered it for the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore romantic comedy 50 First Dates. On the small screen, Matthew Puckett's cover was used in an episode of the SyFy channel reboot of Being Human (season one's "Some Thing to Watch Over Me"). The Furs' version was finally featured on the '80s-themed series Stranger Things in the season 2 episode "The Pollywog."
  • A slew of other artists have also included covers of the song on their albums or in live performances, including Vernion Process (on Catalysts), Duncan Sheik (on Whisper House and Covers 80's) and BT (on These Hopeful Machines). Robyn Hitchcock gave the song an acoustic makeover for a memorable in-store performance at New York's Tower Records in 1989.
  • The video was directed by Tim Pope, whose work was all over MTV at the time. It shows lead singer Richard Butler at a makeup table, then performing in a landscape of altered reality with special effects that hold up surprisingly well. The Psychedelic Furs had a head start on most American acts when it came to music videos because like most British bands, they were making them before MTV went on the air in 1981.
  • This song opens with a careless motorist running a traffic light:

    A man in my shoes runs a light
    And all the papers lied tonight


    In a Songfacts interview with lead singer Richard Butler, he explained: "It's saying a person like me, or perhaps even me, takes chances, runs a light. It's my little metaphor for taking chances, and then it goes into pretty straightforward, 'The papers lied tonight, but falling over you is the news of the day.'"

Comments: 2

  • Denise from SantafeButler claimed in an interview that the song was inspired by Princess Diana; written while she was still alive.
    “A man in my shoes runs a red light ...
    And all the papers lie tonight
    But falling over you is the news of the day.”

    Ordinary things get lost in the news when
    Diana was alive and everything she did was fodder for all the tabloids.

    “Stars come down in you.
    And love, love you can’t give it away.”

    While the most famous woman on the planet, and even famous people are diminished by her, she can’t find what she wants most which is love. She can’t find it with her Prince or the heart surgeon she loved.

    The song is beautiful, haunting and to hear it this many years later since her death makes the Title and subject that much more poignant. Trying to explain Diana’s popularity to anyone who wasn’t alive then is like trying to explain the Beatles. You can’t. She was deeply loved. This is one of the best Fur’s songs even if it wasn’t a huge hit.
  • Virginia Ramirez from Canoga Park, CaLOVE LOVE LOVE This song such a beautiful Melody with equally beautiful lyrics, I just wish I knew who it's about? It seems like there's some personal story behind it? Of course it could just be Richard Butlers sensitive heart bleeding all over his sleeve? If anyone knows the real story I'd love to read it.
see more comments

Rosanne CashSongwriter Interviews

Rosanne talks about the journey that inspired her songs on her album The River & the Thread, including a stop at the Tallahatchie Bridge.

Lajon Witherspoon of SevendustSongwriter Interviews

The Sevendust frontman talks about the group's songwriting process, and how trips to the Murder Bar helped forge their latest album.

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.

John ParrSongwriter Interviews

John tells the "St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion)" story and explains why he disappeared for so long.

Frankie ValliSong Writing

An interview with Frankie Valli, who talks about why his songs - both solo and with The Four Seasons - have endured, and reflects on his time as Rusty Millio on The Sopranos.

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors ExaminedSong Writing

Doors expert Jim Cherry, author of The Doors Examined, talks about some of their defining songs and exposes some Jim Morrison myths.