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In the recent Sister Ray medleys Sisters were heard performing excerpts from these songs:
Click on any song name to jump directly to description of the song.
The one and only Sisters song sung in Sister Rays. It was first performed during the superlong debut of latest incarnation of the song, and is included in mostly every performance of the medley ever since.
The song was released in the Floodland album (1987), Lucretia My Reflection single (1988) and Slight Case of Overbombing compilation (1993, extended single version). It was performed live in full in mostly every 1990/1991 Sisters gig and never since then.
More often than not, a tortured combination of first three verses is sung, with most emphasis put on repeating "empire down" adlib. As it's about the only song regular concert audience recognize in the whole medley, Sister Ray is often mistaken for a remake of Lucretia.
From Motörhead's Overkill album (1979). Few lines of the song -- "they proved me right, they proved me wrong, but they can never last this long" -- are Eldritch's staple, from time to time mumbled during soundchecks and concerts. No recent slowish Sister Ray does without it.
You can hear an excerpt from the original song in Three Classical Albums compilation section in CDNow.
Off 1984 No Remorse album. This is probably the only Sister Ray track performed by the band: it is usually stated by Adam playing the appropriate riff, and continues with Adam continuing the appropriate riffs and Andrew doing his best to scream his lungs out while singing appropriate vocals.
As the legend goes, Richard Berry wrote this song on a napkin backstage between musical sets, put it aside for two years before recording it with the Pharaohs. It was originally sentenced to a b-side obscureness, but was finally released in 1957. It was in 1963 when the song became everybody's favourite, following its cover by The Kingsmen (by which time Richard Berry had already sold rights to what appeared to be his most profitable creation). The song has its own site at http://www.louielouie.net, which includes its full story, Berry's photo and much more equally sensational material.
Every second wedding band aside, it was performed by Ike & Tina Turner, Barry White and Joan Jett, to name a few, and was in live repertoire or the Stooges (the song was the very last one they performed in their very last gig in Detroit on 1974/02/09; the show was released on Metalik KO album in 1976), Fall (live version is released in Live 1977), and Andrew's own favorite Motörhead (their version is available in, among other places, Born To Lose album -- this one includes a sample of the song). Lemmy & Co. also released it as a single in September 1978; this version isn't available in any noncompilation album.
Together with Sister Ray (the song) and Ghostrider, it made the core of early 80s Sister Rays (the medleys).
First performed by Rufus Thomas himself, the song made into US Top 10 in 1963. Since then, the song was performed by the likes of Rolling Stones (included in their first eponymous USA release Rolling Stones in 1964; this CDNow section includes short sound sample of this version), Aerosmith ("Aerosmith", 1973), Roger Daltrey ("Ride A Rock Horse") and others.
The live version of song was an often guest in Grateful Dead shows; it was also performed by Jimi Hendrix (but then, it's hard to find a 60s song not performed by him), Iggy Pop -- and, apparently, Motörhead. What a surprise.
Medleys usually include the first verse of the song, followed by repeats of "walk-walking the dog" for refrain. Together with Capricorn's extract, it's Von's most beloved as-a-matter-of-fact mumble, from time to time as-a-matter-of-factly sung in soundchecks and -- when vodka consumption reaches appropriate level -- even more as-a-matter-of-factly treated to concert audience.
This song first appeared on eponymous 1977 debut album of the legendary synth duo Suicide, which was produced by Larry Alexander -- the man was later involved in Floodland production. Suicide's Alan Vega, apart from being friend of the early band, was involved in Sisterhood project. In sleeve notes to Some Girls Wander By Mistake Andrew claims they bought Doktor Avalanche "because we all loved Suicide." Alan got rare Stooges live tape for wearing Sisters t-shirt on stage. You get the idea of bands relationship.
The song was part of the 80s Sister Ray medley, sung in Hasselt's Sister Ray and repeated in Brussels performance -- it's a rare medley guest nowadays. 90s performances center on "killin' it's youth" line and repeating "ghostrider" until everybody's satisfied -- much like the original.
Henry Rollins covered Ghostrider for Crow soundtrack.
With thanks to Ian Ford.
This was the Hawkwind's commercial breakthrough when released as a single in 1972 for huge fame. The song was sung by ex- Jimi Hendrix roadie Lemmy, better known for being the brains, tongue and bass of his next band, Motörhead. The classic never appeared on any Hawkwind noncompilation album.
The Sisters of Mercy paid tribute to the song by playing it twice in 1993 summer shows; many people state this neglected medley as one of Sisters' best. This site feature transcription of the second performance in Losheim.
Before that, a verse from Silver Machine was included in 1992/09/29 Hasselt Sister Ray, thus becoming the only Sisters public performance of the song outside the two 1993 gigs.
The song debuted in Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks debut album Bella Donna (1981; the CDNow album has a sample of the song); I don't know the rest of the story of the original song. If you're interested in Tom Petty's original demo, it's in his 6CD monster Playback (1995; includes sound sample).
The song was on Eldritch's mind as early as in 1985 -- there are recordings of soundchecks of the period with the song, and reports suggest existence of studio recording by the band from that same 1985. One of Wayne Hussey's post-split complaints was that Andrew's musical tastes were leaning towards Stevie Nicks while the rest of the band were listening to Motörhead.
The song was first introduced to wider audience in the first gig of Thune In, Turn On, Load Out tour with Public Enemy (1991). During the 1991/07/12 Chicago Poplar Creek Music Center performance (not to be confused with 1991/04/05 Chicago Riviera gig) Doktor Avalanche broke down. After the desperate attempt to finish the song anyway failed, Doktor was subjected to emergency brain surgery. To pass the time and keep the audience from rioting Andrew Eldritch chose to adlib Stop Dragging My Heart Around -- a-capella. This story got mentioned by both Rolling Stone and UTR 02.
Late 1997 issue of USA's magazine Alternative Press Fleetwood Mac feature listed Sisters' Stop Dragging My Heart Around as #3 Genital-Piercing Alternative Mac Cover, after NOFX and Hole's Gold Dust Woman. The magazine also noted that "[apparently] Played at 33 rpm, the dub mix of Big Love sounds exactly like the Sisters of Mercy. And played at 78 rpm, the Sisters version of Stop Dragging My Heart Around sounds like Fleetwood Mac." (Sisters were also present in Stevie Nicks Rampant Appreciation Society: Six Groovy Goth Chicks list: sixth place was taken by Wayne Hussey).
The song wasn't performed until the Tune In, Turn On, Load Out tour got cancelled, but was resurrected as a torturing encore for the four June 1992 dates. Oliver Duke-Williams of 1959 and all that... best summed these performances: "Only partially successful, but then with a voice like Von's, a capella numbers are always risky. Or piss-takes."
The last 1992 show in August -- the Pukkelpop festival appearance in Hasselt -- finally takes us to Sister Ray. In this gig Stop Dragging My Heart Around place in encores was taken by equally monstrous, but at least not a-capella Sister Ray performance, which became about the only Sister Ray in which Stop Dragging My Heart Around was included.
Stop Dragging My Heart Around is one of very few songs in Sister Ray medleys without Motörhead connection.
With thanks to Ewa Zaleska, Robin Colman, Clif Duhn.
This webzine copyright © 1997-2005 Andrius Sytas
Credited material copyrighted by stated authors