Sister Europe

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"Sister Europe"
Single by The Psychedelic Furs
from the album The Psychedelic Furs
Released February 1980
Recorded 1979
Genre Post-punk, Gothic Rock
Length 4:13
Label CBS UK; Columbia US
Writer(s) John Ashton, Tim Butler, Richard Butler, Vince Ely, Duncan Kilburn, Roger Morris
Producer(s) Steve Lillywhite
The Psychedelic Furs singles chronology
"We Love You"
"Sister Europe"
"Mr. Jones"

"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 by Steve Lillywhite, it was released in February 1980 as the album's second single.


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]


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]

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]

Chart (1980) Peak
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[2] 47


  1. ^ a b c d Thompson, Dave. ""Sister Europe" - Review". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  2. ^ a b "Charts - The Psychedelic Furs - 'Sister Europe'". Ultratop. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  3. ^ Buckley, Peter (Ed.) (2003). The Rough Guide Rock: The Definitive Guide to More than 1200 Artists and Bands (3rd ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 826. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0. 
  4. ^ "Deep Water - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  5. ^ "The Berlin Tapes - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  6. ^ "'All My Life' - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  7. ^ "One by One - Overview". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 

External links[edit]