Born Slippy

Album: Born Slippy (1995)
Charted: 2
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Songfacts®:

  • Writer Karl Hyde was inspired to write the "lager, lager" lyrics after finding himself paralytic at chucking out time at a Soho pub and struggling to catch the last train home to Romford.
  • The song was named after a greyhound named "Born Slippy." The band saw the dog running at Romford race track.
  • In the Guardian newspaper February 24, 2006, Karl Hyde said: "We used to go out drinking in Soho and I ended up in the Ship on Wardour Street. All the lyrics were written on that night. A drunk sees the world in fragments and I wanted to recreate that. I was inspired by Lou Reed's New York album and Sam Shepard's Motel Chronicles. I was into flash photography as well, so I was walking around Soho with a notebook and camera, just observing things. In those days I'd open the book whenever a musical idea inspired me. Rick [Smith] came up with a rhythm and I started singing over it. The vocals were done in one take. When I lost my place, I'd repeat the same line; that's why it goes, 'lager, lager, lager, lager.' The first time we played it live, people raised their lager cans and I was horrified because I was still deep into alcoholism. It was never meant to be a drinking anthem; it was a cry for help. Now I don't mind. Why Born Slippy? It was a greyhound we won money on." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above
  • The song was featured in 1996 Danny Boyle film Trainspotting, where it could be heard in the final scene. The movie stoked immense public interest in the previously little known track, helping the single peak at #2 in the UK Singles Chart in July 1996. Karl Hyde told Q magazine how the song filtered from club to chart. Said the singer: "The record comes out and it's the biggest selling 12" we've ever had. Then we get the call that some geezer called Danny Boyle wants to put the track in the film version of Trainspotting. Myself and Rick weren't part of a druggy culture, we didn't see the association with our music. So we said no to the request as we didn't like the analogy that we thought was being made. That's the last time we've ever said no Danny Boyle!" He added: "Danny convinced us to go to the edit suite and we realised it was the opposite of glorification. It perfectly put the song back into context. The first time we played it live my heart sank cos loads of people were holding cans of lager aloft. The song was a cry for help. The film redressed the balance, gave the song resonance."
  • Karl Hyde told Uncut, "'Born Slippy' is a map of a journey that starts at the Ship on Wardour Street, goes to Tottenham Court Road tune and gets the late-night train back to Romford."

Comments: 11

  • Tee from New Orleans, LaThe song was exactly how I visualized it, probably because I used to be a drunk. These guys are amazing!
  • Liam from UkI've always thought it was him recounting some racist insults being traded, back and forth outside a nightclub or whatever. But cleaned up to something phonetically similar for song lyrics.
  • Vector from SwitzerlandI just want to know how that smile was, how did she look, and smiling!
    There's no bigger beauty than seeing women smiling!
  • Andy from Sheffield, United KingdomI find it astounding that anyone could hear a racial slur in this tune... although, given the way people interpret this as a 'drug' celebration rather than the intended 'cry for help' shows how people hear what they believe. Just hang on to Sam Beckett's comment "no symbols where none intended"
  • Dexter from New Orleans, LaOkay. I've just listened to the song with the lyrics scrolling along. There is no racial slur but I can see why somebody might think that. The way mega is sung does sound like the infamous "N" word but rest easy it is not.
  • James from Manchester, EnglandActually the original "Born slippy" was an instrumental. The famous version, a B-side to the original, is "born Slipp .NUXX". The lyrics were just meant as a joke. For more info, go to wikipedia.
  • Joel from Columbia, ScIs there a racial slur in the song? Someone said there was but I've never heard it.
  • Paul from Galway, IrelandThe first 2 notes of the song really make you feel the song. love it. the movie, the song. unreal. undescribley great.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesIt's use in the hit film "Trainspotting" made "Born Slippy" a Top 10 success in the UK early 1996, when it crossed over to hit No.2 having failed to chart on original release a year earlier, although prior to this, around the club scene Underworld (who originally formed in 1989, and whose original members included Karl Hyde, Darren Emerson and Rick Smith) were better known as a more experimental techno/House act, who had garnered a devoted cult following with 1991's 10-minute techno opus "Rez", early club hits "Spikee/Dogman Go Woof", "Confusion The Waitress", "Dark and Long", and their critically acclaimed early albums "Dub No Bass On My Head, Man!" (1993) and the terrific "Second Toughest In The Infants" (1995). In the autumn of 1996, they reactivated another previously failed single, "Pearl's Girl", which also hit the UK Top 20. Since 1997, however, they have failed to repeat the commercial success of these two singles, despite another acclaimed album in 1999, though the band have continued to record to this day (with Karl Hyde having now conquered his problems with alcoholism), albeit minus Darren Emerson, who is now a world-renowned DJ in his own right since leaving Underworld in 1997.
  • Jessica from Saint Louis, MoUnderworld lyrics tend to be streams of consciousness or things Hyde has overhead in public.
  • Marlow from Perth, Australiafrom the movie 'trainspotting'
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