Hole In My Shoe

Album: Mr. Fantasy (1967)
Charted: 2

Songfacts®:

  • This psychedelic song was written by Traffic's guitarist Dave Mason, who played sitar on the track. Depending on your state of mind, you might find some weighty meaning in the song, but Mason says he was just writing down random thoughts in the style of a nursery rhyme. He also insists that he hadn't tried LSD when he wrote it.

    In our interview with Mason, he explained: "That's the first song I ever wrote. It was my first attempt at songwriting. I mean, that stuff I did back then, when I listen to it, I cringe and realize I need to work on writing. But writing comes out of living. You have to have something."
  • Dave Mason tells us that this song was "the beginning of the end as far as the other three guys were concerned for me." The band's second single (after "Paper Sun"), it was a the biggest UK hit for Traffic, but it wasn't what Mason's bandmates had in mind, since they didn't think it represented their sound.

    Steve Winwood explained to The Sun June 26, 2008: "We never wanted to be a pop band but we had a hit with 'Shoe,' which was Dave's song. Dave had his own idea about the band, the rest of us had another one - a not-quite-as-sensible one, really, because it wasn't half as commercial."

    Mason quit the band soon afterwards and Traffic began to develop a less commercial sound, which put an end to their run of hit singles in the UK. However their new material proved popular on American Rock stations and it gave the band a second wind across the Atlantic.
  • The monologue in the middle of the song was by Francine Heimann. Little is known about her.
  • In 1984 Neil (AKA actor Nigel Planer) recorded a humorous cover, which again fell one place short from topping the UK charts. Neil was a hippie character played by Nigel Planer in the BBC comedy series The Young Ones and there was a great deal of comic potential in Planer's hippie student singing about the "hole in my shoe letting in water." It won the 1985 Brit Award for Best Comedy Record, the only time the category was included. To promote the single, Planer performed this song live on the BBC music show Top of the Pops. In a memorable performance he stumbled and knocked down the scenery.
  • Traffic never performed this song, in large part because of Steve Winwood's disdain for it. He once called it a "trite little song."

Comments: 3

  • Ged from Australia"The monologue in the middle of the song was by Francine Heimann. Little is known about her."

    Indeed, this is true. Perhaps why I became obsessed with wondering who she was and where she is now.

    I will not tell you how I did it, or what her name now is or where she lives, but I did find her.

    We spoke briefly via a chat-function. I got the impression that she has gone all these years without ever telling anyone about her brush with Rock & Roll Fame. I voluntarily agreed not to reveal anything that might identify her. Don't ask.

    But here's one tiny snippet that cannot hurt: Her *best* memory of that day was meeting Steve Winwood - who was a thoroughly decent human being by her own account. So there ya go!
  • Mike from London, United KingdomSongfacts does not list Traffic's superbly intelligent pop hit, 'Paper Sun' from the summer of love. It offers a good pub quiz question: who shouts at the end - 'That's the one!' - as the song fades....And BTW, the whole crew of the tv series The Young Ones linked up in the 80s with Cliff Richard in a re-recording of Richard's 1959 hit, 'Livin' Doll' a charity fundraiser...
  • Niles from Belpre, OhI saw Dave Mason perform with the late Warren Zevon. best concert I've been to . I'm 62 and I've seen a few
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