Let Me Entertain You (Robbie Williams song)

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"Let Me Entertain You"
Single by Robbie Williams
from the album Life thru a Lens
Released 16 March 1998
Format CD single, cassette
Recorded 1997
Genre Britpop, pop rock
Length 4:21
Label Chrysalis
Writer(s) Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers
Producer(s) Guy Chambers, Steve Power
Certification Silver (BPI)
Robbie Williams singles chronology
"Angels"
(1997)
"Let Me Entertain You"
(1998)
"Millennium"
(1998)

"Let Me Entertain You" is a single by Robbie Williams, released as the fifth and final single from his debut studio album, Life thru a Lens (1997). It was written by Williams and Guy Chambers. In March 1998, the track became a top three hit in the United Kingdom, peaking at number three. The song became a hit in the UK staying inside the top ten for a month, and is certified Silver for sales of over 200,000 copies.

Background[edit]

Williams and Chambers were inspired to write a 'Who-esque' song after watching the Rolling Stones film Rock 'n' Roll Circus together.[1]

"When we started writing the demo there was a furious jungle beat underneath it. It was so hardcore it got me very excited, and I still get excited listening to it now. It's not really heavy metal, it's more like camp rock opera!"[1]

The lyrics are mostly innuendoes and double entendre, telling the story of a man trying to persuade someone to cheat on their boyfriend with him. Although the sex of this person is never mentioned, it is worth noting that the lyrics include the phrase mon cher, which means my dear only when referring to a male. In a 2010 interview, Williams was quoted as saying "An awful lot of gay pop stars pretend to be straight. I'm going to start a movement of straight pop stars pretending to be gay."[2]

For reasons unknown, the 2004 track on the Greatest Hits album differs slightly from the original 1998 release. The song has been subtly remixed, and Williams's vocals during the instrumental have been removed entirely. This remix was also featured on the In and Out of Consciousness compilation album in 2010. The original track however, is still featured on William's official website[1] and Vevo channel.[3]

Music video[edit]

Directed by frequent collaborator Vaughan Arnell, the video was recorded on 20 February 1998, the day after Williams' positively received duet with Tom Jones at the Brit Awards. The positive reception from the audience and the general public gave Williams the confidence to perform in the eccentric manner seen in the video.[4]

The Robbie Williams Band are dressed as members of the band KISS. William's makeup is very similar to Gene Simmons' on stage persona, the Demon.[5] In doing so, the video has been called a "stylistic appropriation" of KISS and a spoof of 1970s rock in general, while displaying its own characteristics of camp and self-parody.[6]

After Simmons filed a lawsuit against King Diamond for using the makeup design in the 1980s,[7] Williams had concerns over KISS taking legal action against Let Me Entertain You, but felt the makeup was necessary to get into character.[4] No legal action was taken.

Live performances[edit]

Let Me Entertain You became Williams' concert opener for most of his shows throughout his career. He enjoys opening shows with high energy performances of the song "because of what happens to the audience... this is going to make you do this right at the beginning of the set."[8] To date, Williams has given 314 live performances of the song.[9]

Williams performed the song for the Brit Awards' opening act in 1999, and as the opening act for the Diamond Jubilee Concert as part of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 before an audience of an estimated 500,000.[10]

He also performed the song at the Live 8 Concert at Hyde Park in 2005, to high critical acclaim. Richard Curtis described the performance as ecstatic, comparing Williams to "a man who hasn't had sex for two years [finally] coming." David Baddiel likened the set to Freddie Mercury's iconic performance at Live Aid in 1985, and Williams himself commented that "the audience just went ballistic." When interviewed, members of the audience commented that Williams's performance was the first time of the night they could hear the audience singing at the back of the field.[11]

As with many of William's live performances, he often improvises with the melody and changes the lyrics to suit the venue or event. One notable example of this was during the Progress Live tour in 2011 following his reconciliation with his former band Take That after 15 years apart. The lyric "You're my rock of empathy" was replaced with "Hello [venue] remember me?"

Williams rarely sings the chorus himself, often relying on the audience and backing vocalists to carry the song for him as he shouts words of encouragement for the audience. However, on the Swings Both Ways Arena Tour in 2014, Williams performed a Jazz arrangement of the song, instead singing Let Me Enter You to individual members of the audience during the chorus.

A popular pop-rock anthem in most European countries, the song has been covered live by several artists, including Bon Jovi,[12] Westlife[13] and Kelly Clarkson.[14] Five singers have performed the song on Syco's talent show the The X Factor.

Influence and reception[edit]

The song was found in a survey by Mind to be one of the top three songs for happiness.[15] It has been called arguably one of the most well-known songs of the 1990s.[16]

"Let Me Entertain You" is often played during news reports or interviews with Williams, and is frequently played to welcome him to the stage during chat shows and other personal appearances. It was also used as the title of a best-selling biography of Williams.[17]

The song is not only used in association with Williams. It was the only song featured in the video game Actua Soccer 3, played at the end of the football match in the movie Mean Machine, and was also featured in a UK commercial for the Sega Dreamcast.[18]

After his 2009 album Reality Killed the Video Star received mixed reviews, Williams joked he should have titled the album Let Me Underwhelm You.

The song has been covered by other artists, including VoiceMale, who inserted lyrics from Steppenwolf's Magic Carpet Ride.[19]

Formats and track listings[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Let Me Entertain You".

UK CD1
(Released 16 March 1998)

  1. "Let Me Entertain You" – 4:24
  2. "The Full Monty Medley" featuring Tom Jones – 5:28
  3. "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing" – 3:07
  4. "I Am the Res-Erection" – 3:48

UK CD2
(Released 16 March 1998)

  1. "Let Me Entertain You" (full-length version) – 5:19
  2. "Let Me Entertain You" (Stretch 'N' Vern's Rock 'N' Roll Mix) – 11:10
  3. "Let Me Entertain You" (Amethyst's Dub) – 7:47
  4. "Let Me Entertain You" (Robbie Loves His Mother Mix) – 7:49
  5. "Let Me Entertain You" (The Bizzarro Mix) – 5:50

Australian CD (Released 18 March 1998)

  1. "Let Me Entertain You" (LP version) – 4:22
  2. "The Full Monty Medley" featuring Tom Jones – 5:28
  3. "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing" – 3:08
  4. "Back for Good" (live version) – 3:49
  5. "Let Me Entertain You" (Amethyst's Dub) – 7:47

Charts and certifications[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1998) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[20] 46
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[21] 17
Ireland (IRMA) 13
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[22] 42
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[23] 33
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[24] 3

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification Sales/shipments
United Kingdom (BPI)[25] Silver 300,000[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Let Me Entertain You | RobbieWilliams.com
  2. ^ An awful lot of gay pop stars pretend to be straight. I'm going to start a movement of... - Robbie Williams at BrainyQuote
  3. ^ Robbie Williams - Let Me Entertain You - YouTube
  4. ^ a b Page 73. You Know Me; Robbie Williams & Chris Heath, Ebury Press, 2010
  5. ^ Kiss (band)#Makeup designs
  6. ^ Hawkins, Stan. The British Pop Dandy. 2009. pp.66-67.
  7. ^ Gene Simmons sues King Diamond over 'copycat' face paint - Tribulations & trials: The weirdest lawsuits in music
  8. ^ Page 2, Take the Crown Stadium Tour Programme, 2013
  9. ^ Robbie Williams Top Ten Most Played Concert Songs | Wembley Stadium
  10. ^ Gary Barlow - The One Show (Live From Buckingham Palace) on YouTube
  11. ^ Robbie Williams Live 8 Story on YouTube
  12. ^ BON JOVI - LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU (ROBBIE WILLIAMS COVER) @ MANCHESTER 08/0613 on YouTube
  13. ^ Westlife - Let Me Entertain You - Live at Croke Park on YouTube
  14. ^ Let Me Entertain You - Kelly Clarkson & All Stars Live Duet 5/24/2012 on YouTube
  15. ^ Freeman, Daniel and Jason Freeman. You Can Be Happy. 2014.
  16. ^ MacCarthey, James. Take That. Coda Books. 2011.
  17. ^ Scott, Paul. Let Me Entertain You. 2013.
  18. ^ Sega Dreamcast UK advert on YouTube
  19. ^ Duchan, Joshua. Powerful Voices. 2012. p.80.
  20. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Robbie Williams – Let Me Entertain You". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Robbie Williams – Let Me Entertain You" (in French). Ultratip.
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Robbie Williams – Let Me Entertain You" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  23. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Robbie Williams – Let Me Entertain You". Top 40 Singles.
  24. ^ "Robbie Williams: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart.
  25. ^ BPI Certification for "Let Me Entertain You"
  26. ^ Sales: Let Me Entertain You

External links[edit]