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"Sister Europe" is a song by the English band The Psychedelic Furs from the band's 1980 first album, The Psychedelic Furs. Written by the band and produced bySteve Lillywhite, it was released in February 1980 as the album's second single.


Composition[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Singer Richard Butler recalled Steve Lillywhite's directions to him regarding the vocals: "He told me, 'Go down to the pub, have a couple of beers, and when you come back, I want you to sing like it's three in the morning, and you're talking on the telephone to someone'".[1] According to Butler, the lyrics conveyed sadness over his then-girlfriend moving away, and were written using imagery, "instead of saying 'My bird's gone to Italy and I miss her'".[1]

Reception[edit source | editbeta]Edit

The Psychedelic Furs traditionally opened their live shows with "Sister Europe" during the early part of their career.[1] The single reached number 47 on the New Zealand charts.[2] Writer Alex Ogg called it "an intoxicating song that announced the group's distinctive style", comparing it to The Velvet Underground mixed with David Bowie.[3] Indeed, the saxophone is faintly reminiscent of Bowie's "Sons of the Silent Age". Allmusic writer Dave Thompson described Butler's vocal as "a masterpiece of understatement, whispered intimacy".[1]

Jazz tenor saxophonist Gary Windo performed a cover version of the song on his 1985 album Deep Water.[4] Iva Davies and Icehouse recorded their rendition on the 1995 album Berlin.[5] Foo Fighters released a cover of "Sister Europe" as the B-side to the 2002 single "All My Life".[6] This version also appeared as a bonus track on the French version of the band's One by One album.[7] The Italian Sinth Pop band Bluvertigo also played this song in 2001. The cover appears as b-side to the single L'assenzio (The Power of Nothing).

Track listing[edit source | editbeta]Edit

7" Vinyl
  1. "Sister Europe" - 4:13
  2. "****" - 2:40
12" Vinyl (UK Promo)
  1. "Sister Europe" - 5:39
  2. "We Love You" - 3:26

Chart performance[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Chart (1980) Peak

position

New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[2] 47
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