Friday, 8 May 2015

The Cover Version - Robert Forster does Grant Hart's "2541"




It was the first place we had to ourselves; I didn't know it would be the last. 


A gorgeous (those female backing vocals really get me!) touching cover of ex Hüsker Dü stalwart Grant Hart's classic "2541" by covers supremo Robert Forster (with assistance from some guys like Conway Savage, Mick Harvey and Warren Ellis - most of the Bad Seeds, basically!)




This comes from Forster's much maligned but actually magnificent album of (very) eclectic covers called "I Had a New York Girlfriend" back in 1994. An album that will always remind me of a scorching Shinjuku summer and torrid times with a Tokyo tigress many moons back!

First released back in 1988 as the title track of Hart's first solo EP, this simple yet powerful song's a subtle, witty ("we had to leave the stove on so the mice wouldn't freeze") and beautiful tale of exuberant hopes soon broken ("It was the first place we had to ourselves; I didn't know it would be the last") and young love left in ruins .... "Now everything is over, now everything is done - everything's in boxes at twenty-five forty-one."




"2541" has also been widely interpreted as being as much about the very acrimonious break up of Hüsker Dü ("now everything is done") as it is about the end of a love affair. With the lyrical ambiguity at play here, it's easy to see why. However, Hart revealed in a Mojo interview some time back that the song was in fact initially written for Hüsker Dü. However, very bizarrely, Bob Mould refused to record the song because he felt it sounded too much like some (unspecified) Simple Minds song!

... Simple F*cking Minds? Are you sure Bob!

A variation of the song would appear a year later on Grant's "Intolerance" LP, but of the two, the original acoustic version is definitely my favourite .... and Hart's too, apparently!



























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