Sit Down (James song)

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"Sit Down"
Single by James
Released June 1989, March 1991, November 1998
Format 7" single, cassette and CD single
Recorded Autumn 1988
Genre Madchester
Length 4:05 (original form 7:39)
Label Rough Trade/Mercury
Writer(s) Jim Glennie
Larry Gott
Tim Booth
Producer(s) Gil Norton
James singles chronology
"Ya Ho"
"Sit Down"
"Come Home"
Re-release cover
Cover of the 1991 release on Mercury
James re-release chronology
"Lose Control"
"Sit Down (Re-recording)"
James Late 1990s chronology
"Sit Down '98 (Apollo 440 Mix)"
"I Know What I'm Here For"

"Sit Down" is a song by James, released in 1989 by Rough Trade Records. In its seven-and-a-half-minute original form, the song only reached number 77 in the UK Singles Chart (although it did make number Eight in John Peel's Festive Fifty of that year). Due to this unimpressive performance their record label's managing director, Geoff Travis, told them they were not a viable commercial proposition beyond an audience of 20,000.

The song's lyrics were written in Autumn 1988 as a thank you to two women who greatly inspired Tim Booth - author Doris Lessing and singer Patti Smith. After experiencing success as part of the Madchester music scene, with a rerecorded version of the song regularly causing clubbers to sit down when it was played, the single was re-released in March 1991 which was more rockier, shorter and had new lyrics. It spent three weeks at number 2 in the Singles Chart; it was kept off the top spot by The One and Only by Chesney Hawkes. It was the 20th best-selling single of 1991 in the UK, one of the highest selling singles of the year not to reach number one.

After the release of their 'Best Of' album the song was remixed by Apollo 440 and released as a single for a third time in November 1998, reaching number 7 (their biggest hit since the 1991 release).

The band had to sell the rights to the song to Mercury Records to help pay off debts to the record company. The song has been covered by Voice of the Beehive and played live by Carter USM in some 1992 shows, although no recorded version of this exists.

In 2006, Sit Down was used as a featured song in BBC Three's Manchester Passion, in which lead singer Tim Booth also appeared as Judas Iscariot. Darren Morfitt in the role of Jesus sang a less upbeat rendition of the piece to his resting disciples while the presenter hand-signaled the audience to literally sit down. Although Booth did not perform the song during the show, he did sing it in an encore after the credits rolled.

In 2013, Sit Down placed 4th in a poll by BBC Radio 2 and the Official Charts Company to find the greatest track to miss out on the number one spot in the UK charts.[1]

In 2013 James performed the song with Peter Kay for Comic Relief.

B-Side: "Sound Investment"

1989 original release[edit]

  1. Sit Down 7" or (8:31 extended version) on 12"
  2. Goin' Away (12" and CD)
  3. Sound Investment (12" and CD)
  4. Sky Is Falling (7", 12" and CD)

1991 re-release[edit]

  1. Sit Down (new version)
  2. Tonight (CD and 12")
  3. Sunday Morning (Canadian CD)
  4. Sit Down (live at G-Mex) (7", 12" and CD)

Sit Down '98[edit]


  1. Sit Down '98 (Apollo 440 remix)
  2. Sit Down (original)
  3. China Girl (Radio One Iggy Pop tribute)


  1. Sit Down '98 (Apollo 440 remix)
  2. What For (Glr Session)
  3. Sit Down (Glr Session)

12" promo:

  1. Sit Down '98 (Apollo 440 Remix)
  2. Sit Down '98 (Oh Zidane Oh zidane)

External links[edit]


  1. ^