Can't Be Sure

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"Can't Be Sure"
Single by The Sundays
from the album Reading, Writing and Arithmetic
B-side "I Kicked a Boy", "Don't Tell Your Mother"
Released January 1989
Recorded 1989
Genre Indie pop
Length 3:22
Label Rough Trade
Writer(s) David Gavurin, Harriet Wheeler
Producer(s) The Sundays, Ray Shulman
The Sundays singles chronology
- "Can't Be Sure"
"Here's Where the Story Ends"

"Can't Be Sure" was the 1989 debut single by the British alternative pop group The Sundays.[1][2] It was the first (and in the UK, only) single to be released from their album Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, which appeared a year later. The B-side was "I Kicked a Boy", which also appeared on the album. The 12" single contained an additional, non-album track, "Don't Tell Your Mother".

The song's lyrical theme is "desire", treated as a general concept rather than being directed towards anything or anyone in particular.[3]

And did you know desire's a terrible thing?
The worst that I can find
Did you know desire's a terrible thing?
But I rely on mine.

By the song's closing refrain, the song's narrator appears to have come to terms with, if not necessarily resolved, the dichotomy:[3]

And it's my love, And it's my life
And though I can't be sure if I want any more
It will come to me later.

The single was voted number one in John Peel's Festive Fifty for 1989 and reached #45 in the UK charts in February of that year.[4][5]


  1. ^ Gavin Stoker (chapter author) (1999). Peter Buckley, ed. The Rough Guide to Rock (2. ed., expanded and complety rev. ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 1034. ISBN 9781858284576. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Martin C. Strong (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed. ed.). New York: Canongate U.S. p. 1486. ISBN 9781841956152. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Mason, Stewart. "Can't Be Sure - The Sundays". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "BBC - Radio 1 - Keeping It Peel - Festive 50s - 1989". BBC. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Sundays | Artist". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 

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