Living Next Door to Alice

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"Living Next Door to Alice"
Single by New World
B-side "Something to Say"
Released 1972
Format 7" vinyl
Label RAK
Writer(s) Nicky Chinn, Mike Chapman
"Living Next Door to Alice"
Single by Smokie
from the album Midnight Café 2007 Remastered Edition (as bonus track)
B-side "Run to You"
Released 12 August 1976
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 1976
Genre Pop rock
Label RAK
Writer(s) Nicky Chinn, Mike Chapman
Producer(s) Nicky Chinn, Mike Chapman
"Living Next Door to Alice"
Single by Johnny Carver
from the album The Best of Johnny Carver
Released February 1977
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 1976
Genre Country
Label ABC
Writer(s) Nicky Chinn, Mike Chapman
Johnny Carver singles chronology
"Afternoon Delight"
(1976)
"Living Next Door to Alice"
(1977)
"Down at the Pool"
(1977)
"Alice, Who the X is Alice?"
Single by Gompie
from the album Who the X Is Gompie!
B-side various versions of "Alice, Who the X is Alice?"
"My Brother Is a Rocker"
"Slaves on the Run"
Released 1995
Format CD
Writer(s) Nicky Chinn, Mike Chapman
Producer(s) Rob Peters, Ono Pelser, John van de Ven
"Living Next Door to Alice"
Single by Smokie featuring Roy 'Chubby' Brown
B-side "Living Next Door to Alice" (Unbleeped)
Released 1995
Genre Pop rock, parody
Writer(s) Nicky Chinn, Mike Chapman

"Living Next Door to Alice" is a song co-written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Originally released by the Australian vocal harmony trio New World in 1972,[1] the song charted at #35 on the Australian chart. The song later became a worldwide hit for the band Smokie.

Plot[edit]

The song is about a young man's long-standing love, Alice, who's also the girl next door and his neighbour of 24 years, which is left unrequited after she moves away. The protagonist had seen a limousine parked at Alice's home and begins to reflect on childhood memories and his friendship with Alice, and becomes heartbroken as he sees Alice get inside the limousine.

As he watches the car drive out of sight, the protagonist feels regret about two things:

  1. Alice leaving without explanation;
  2. That, in 24 years, he never took the opportunity to express his feelings for her.

Another female character in the song is Sally, another long-time neighbour of the main protagonist who is introduced early in the song. In the song's first verse, she reminds the protagonist of Alice's impending departure. Sally, who later tells the man that he now must get over Alice, then states that she is available. But the man fails to acknowledge her and reaffirms that he'll "never get used to not living next door to Alice."

Smokie versions[edit]

In November 1976, the British band Smokie released their version of "Living Next Door to Alice". The single peaked at number five on the UK Singles Chart[2] and, in March 1977, reached twenty five in the United States. It was a number one hit in Austria, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. Smokie collaborated on a parody version in 1995 with comedian Roy 'Chubby' Brown, which peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart, selling almost half a million copies.[3]

Chart (1976/1977) Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[4] 5
Australia 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[5] 1
Canada RPM Top Singles[6] 17
Germany (Media Control AG)[7] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[8] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[9] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 7
Norway (VG-lista)[11] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[12] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[13] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 25
Chart (1995)
with Roy 'Chubby' Brown
Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 3
Ireland (IRMA)[8] 26

Gompie version[edit]

It spawned a more risqué version in 1995 by the Dutch band Gompie, titled "Alice, Who the Fuck Is Alice?". Their version topped the charts in the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders), and reached the top 10 in Austria, Germany, Norway and Switzerland. In the UK, the song peaked at number 17, but its sales topped 150,000 despite its low peak.

Gompie is a project of Peter Koelewijn and Rob Peters. Peters, while visiting a bar called Gompie in Nijmegen, heard "Living Next Door to Alice" by Smokie. After the name Alice in the song, the disc jockey Onno Pelser turned down the volume and the crowd sang 'Alice, who the fuck is Alice?'. Peters realised it could become a hit record, contacted Koelewijn and a day later the song was recorded and released under the name Gompie.[16]

The success of this version resulted in various similar versions, including a new recording by Smokie with blue comedian Roy 'Chubby' Brown. A dance version of "Alice, Who the Fuck Is Alice?" was released by The Steppers, reaching No. 2 on the Australian charts in September 1995,[17] and the actor Alan Fletcher, who plays the doctor Karl Kennedy in the soap opera Neighbours took up the song as "Who the Fuck is Susan?" at fan events, in reference to his erstwhile fictional wife.

Chart (1995) Peak
position
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[9] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[18] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[19] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[20] 36
Germany (Media Control AG)[21] 2
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[22] 29
Norway (VG-lista)[23] 4
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[24] 2
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[25] 17

Other cover versions[edit]

Concurrent with Smokie's American success with the song, country music singer Johnny Carver released his own version of "Living Next Door to Alice". Carver's version peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in April 1977.[26]

Kevin "Bloody" Wilson recorded a parody for his album Kev's Back (The Return of the Yobbo) (1985), titled "Living Next Door to Alan". It tells the story of a family of Aboriginals who obtained a house next door to Alan Bond (a noted Perth-based entrepreneur) in an exclusive suburb of the city.

In 1996, eighteen-time Grammy Award winner Jimmy Sturr recorded the song under the title "Alice" on his Grammy winning album Polka! All Night Long. The album included vocals by Willie Nelson and contributions by Jo-El Sonnier and the Jordanaires.

The 1996 album The Smurfs Go Pop! by The Smurfs included a song to the same tune, titled "Smurfland".

British punk band Chron Gen covered the song on their 1982 album Chronic Generation, and performed it live.

The anti-Islamist street protest group the English Defence League sing "Allah, Allah, who the fuck is Allah?"[27]

Crystal Palace F.C. play the song before every home match, to which many other clubs, including fierce rivals Millwall F.C., reply "Palace, Palace, who the fuck are Palace?"

Translations[edit]

In Finnish, the song was recorded in 1977 by Kari Tapio, with the title "Viisitoista kesää" (Fifteen summers).[28] The arrangement is by Veikko Samuli and the Finnish lyrics by Juha Vainio.

In Norwegian, there is a translation, "I 24 år har jeg bodd i samme gård som Anne". There are also other songs to the same tune. "Storholt, Stensen, Stenshjemmet, Sjøbrend åsså'n Hjallis" deals about the famous Norwegian speed skating team known as The Four Aces. The single was released in 1977 by Stein Ingebrigtsen & Store Stå and peaked at #3 in the Norwegian VG-lista.[29]

A German version of the song, titled "Tür an Tür mit Alice", was a hit for Howard Carpendale in 1977. The single peaked at #8 in Germany[30] and Switzerland[31] and at #11 in Austria.[32]

In Czech the song was released in 21.2.1973 under the title "Alenka v říši divů" (Alice in Wonderland), performed by Karel Zich.

In former Yugoslavia, Toni Montano made a song based on original tune and named it '10 godina' ('10 years').

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Living Next Door To Alice - NEW WORLD (1972) - Pop Archives - Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s and 70s". Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  2. ^ "Chart Stats - Smokie - Living Next Door To Alice". Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  3. ^ "Chart Stats - Smokie Featuring Roy 'Chubby' Brown - Living Next Door to Alice (Who the Fuck is Alice)". Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  4. ^ "Smokie" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  5. ^ "Smokie – Living Next Door to Alice – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  6. ^ "RPM Top Singles - Volume 26, No. 24, March 12, 1977". Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  7. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  8. ^ a b "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  9. ^ a b "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 6, 1977" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  10. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Smokie – Living Next Door to Alice". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  11. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Smokie – Living Next Door to Alice". VG-lista. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  12. ^ "Smokie – Living Next Door to Alice – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  13. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Smokie – Living Next Door to Alice". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  14. ^ "Smokie > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  15. ^ "Smokie featuring Roy 'Chubby' Brown" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  16. ^ "Muziekencyclopedie - Gompie (1995-2000)". Retrieved 2010-04-30.  (Dutch)
  17. ^ "australian-charts.com - The Steppers - Who The F..k Is Alice?". Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  18. ^ "Gompie – Alice, Who The X Is Alice? – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gompie – Alice, Who the X is Alice?" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gompie – Alice, Who the X is Alice?" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  21. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  22. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Gompie – Alice, Who the X is Alice?". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  23. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Gompie – Alice, Who the X is Alice?". VG-lista. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  24. ^ "Gompie – Alice, Who the X is Alice? – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  25. ^ "Gompie" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  26. ^ "Johnny Carver > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  27. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/feb/05/david-cameron-speech-criticised-edl
  28. ^ "Hakutulos kappaleelle Viisitoista kesää". Retrieved 2010-04-30.  (Finnish)
  29. ^ "norwegiancharts.com - Stein Ingebrigtsen & Store Stå - Storholt, Stensen, Stenshjemmet og Sjøbrend åsså'n Hjallis". Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  30. ^ "Musicline.de - Chartverfolgung - CARPENDALE,HOWARD". Retrieved 2010-04-30.  (German)
  31. ^ "Howard Carpendale - Tür an Tür mit Alice - hitparade.ch". Retrieved 2010-04-30.  (German)
  32. ^ "Howard Carpendale - Tür an Tür mit Alice - austriancharts.at". Retrieved 2010-04-30.  (German)