Whole Wide World

Album: Wreckless Eric (1978)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song stems back to Eric "Wreckless Eric" Goulden's days of studying fine art at Hull Art College and was inspired by words of encouragement from his mum. (She told her son that one day he'd find a girl in the world just for him). Goulden recalled to Mojo magazine June 2014: "I was trying to avoid this girl I was going out with. I went to the university bar because I never went there, had a drink, then I sat on a bench on the Cottingham Road and wrote most of the words to the song on the back of an envelope."

    "I had this melody and I was sure I could just use two chords in the song," he continued. "I kept on singing the song on the way home to try and remember it: 'When I was a young man. My mother said to me....'"

    "I got home and found the girl sitting on the doorstep," Goulden added. "She said where have you been? We were meant to go out.' I told her I'd been busy and I rushed inside. I didn't have an amp in my room so I had the bass wedged up against my wardrobe so I could hear what I was playing trying to work out the two chords."

    "I suppose I split up with her while I was trying to write the song, which makes me a bit of a heel," he concluded.
  • This song was used in the 2006 film Stranger Than Fiction. Will Ferrell's character plays it on his guitar before transitioning into this version. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Maggie - London, England
  • American rock group Cage the Elephant covered this for their 2017 Unpeeled album. The record features eighteen stripped down versions of songs from their past albums plus three re-interpretations of other artists' tunes. "Many times you're adding sonic layers looking for something to hide behind, and what you don't realize is that that vulnerability and that nakedness might be the most compelling and interesting thing about the song," said frontman Matt Shultz about the inspiration behind the project.
  • "Whole Wide World" plays throughout a 2022 Expedia commercial starring Ewan McGregor, who makes the point that experiences are more memorable than stuff. The spot aired during the Super Bowl in 2022.

Comments: 1

  • Melinda from San Jose, CaI absolutely love this song! It was played in the movie "Stranger Than Fiction". Very catchy chorus. There is a version of it by The Prissteens that's actually pretty good.
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