"Streets Of Your Town" was a single by Australian indie group The Go-Betweens, from their 1988 album, 16 Lovers Lane. Featuring polished production, a prominent backing vocal byAmanda Brown and a guitar solo by bassist John Willsteed, "Streets of Your Town" is one of the band's most recognised songs and is arguably the closest the group had to a mainstream hit. It was released in July 1988 in the UK on Beggars Banquet, where it reached #80 on the singles charts[1] and in Australia in August 1988 on Mushroom, where it reached #70.[2] In New Zealand, the song was issued in November 1988, and was a top 40 hit, peaking at #30[3] -- the band's highest-ever placing on any national chart.

The single was re-released in the UK in 1989, in an attempt by Beggars Banquet to encourage the band's commercial momentum. However, it only peaked at No. 82.[1]


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Written by Grant McLennan, the sunny, upbeat music is contrasted with darker lyrics: "Don't the sun look good today but the rain is on its way, watch the butcher shine his knives, and this town is full of battered wives". The often played videoclip, directed by Kriv Stenders, mixes evocative images of BrisbaneSydney and Melbourne, but there is also a second clip, directed by Paul Goldman and filmed in black-and-white which is included on the CD remaster, and features footage of the band performing the song.

McLennan said of writing the song, "I was listening to 'Under the Milky Way' and I was just working it out - cause I'm a big fan of The Church. And that afternoon I came up with a chord progression and a chorus."[4]

Forster later said, "This was obviously the most commercial thing we'd ever done, and it came out around October '88, which caught the summer here. It was re-released in summer and it sat fantastically on Australian summer radio and then it sat well on English summer radio. We were walking around Soho and we'd hear it on the radio, every jean shop and café. It was on Radio 1and so we were hearing it as we were walking around."[5]

Lines from the song were included by U2 when they played "Elevation" and "With or Without You" on the opening of the Pacific leg of their Vertigo World Tour in Brisbane, in dedication to McLennan. The song was also played after the band's second encore.[6][7] The song was covered by Ivy, appearing on their 2003 album, Guestroom. The opening guitar chords from the song are sampled on "Just the Way You Are" by Italian dance production group Milky. The song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Airplay chart in October, 2003.[8]

This song was used as the theme song for Prime Television in Australia in 2001-2002[9] and for television advertisements for The Courier Mail in 2006/2007, though in both cases the song was edited so that the darker lyrics were omitted. The song was also featured in the 2008 Australian/British AFI award-winning drama-based feature film The Black Balloon.[10] A cover version of the song by Dave McCormack featured in the soundtrack to the movie All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane (2007).

Track listing[edit]Edit

Original 7" Vinyl release[edit]Edit

  1. "Streets of Your Town" - 3:34
  2. "Wait Until June" - 3:05

Original 12" Vinyl release[edit]Edit

  1. "Streets of Your Town" - 3:34
  2. "Quiet Heart" - 5:20
  3. "Bow Down" - 3:45
  4. "The House that Jack Kerouac Built" - 4:46

Original CD single release[edit]Edit

  1. "Streets of Your Town" - 3:34
  2. "Spring Rain" - 3:06
  3. "Right Here" - 3:53
  4. "Wait Until June" - 3:05


Chart (1988) 1 Peak


Australian Singles Chart[2] 70
UK Singles Chart[1] 80
Chart (1989) 1 Peak


UK Singles Chart[1] 82

Release history[edit]Edit

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom July 1988 Beggars Banquet 7" vinyl BEG 218
12" vinyl BEG 218T
CD single BEG 218CD
May 1989 7" vinyl BEG 232
12" vinyl BEG 232T
CD single BEG 232CD
Australia August 1988 Mushroom 7" vinyl K607
Spain 1988 Victoria 12" vinyl VIC 349
Germany 1988 Rebel CD single SPV 55-3017
United States 1989 Capitol 12" vinyl SPRO-79547
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