Album: D.o.A: The Third and Final Report of Throbbing Gristle (1978)

Songfacts®:

  • The brainchild of Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fan Tutti, Throbbing Gristle formed in London in 1976 evolving from the performance art group COUM Transmissions. They are widely viewed as having had a seismic influence on the industrial music genre.
  • This was their debut release which, music writer Jon Savage described in his 1991 book England's Dreaming, as "one of the first electropop singles."
  • This began with the idea of having a Throbbing Gristle song that was sung at football matches. "We thought of Manchester City and United – United just sounded better," the band's Genesis P-Orridge told Mojo magazine May 2014.

    "We failed miserably, but thanks to the idea, the song took on a life of its own," he added.
  • P-Orridge told the story of the song to Mojo: "The lyrics were inspired by this couple we'd met in 1976 when COUM Transmissions were performing in the US – Rhoda Mappo and Billy Haddock, people we'd been in touch with via mail art," he explained. "We were struck by how in love they were, how they'd share everything and make collages together at night. We thought: 'Is there a way to deal with the idea of love without compromising our stance musically?' We sat down with a typewriter and typed it almost word perfect."

    "My brain does puns and cross references, metaphors and layers of meaning almost instantaneously," he continued. "For example, 'You and I' was virtually 'united' without the 'ed' on the end. The 'You became me' line is almost prophetic about pandrogeny."
  • The band have wondered if U2 got their name from the 'She is you too' bit. P-Orridge told Mojo: "Virgin Prunes were big TG fans... Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Daniel Miller and others were influenced by 'United' and how it opened up the possibilities for electronic music - they told us."

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