Ebeneezer Goode

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"Ebeneezer Goode"
Single by the Shamen
from the album Boss Drum
Released24 August 1992 (1992-08-24)[1]
LabelOne Little Indian
The Shamen singles chronology
"LSI (Love Sex Intelligence)"
"Ebeneezer Goode"
"Phorever People"
Music video
"Ebeneezer Goode" on YouTube

"Ebeneezer Goode" is a song by Scottish electronic music group the Shamen which, heavily remixed by the Beatmasters, became their biggest hit when released as a single on 24 August 1992 by One Little Indian. The group's original version featured on the vinyl edition of their fifth album, Boss Drum (1992).

"Ebeneezer Goode" was one of the most controversial UK number-one hits of the 1990s due to its perceived oblique endorsement of recreational drug use, and it was initially banned by the BBC. It has been claimed the single was eventually withdrawn after the band were hounded by the British tabloid press,[3] though, according to The Shamen themselves, it was deleted while at number one due to its long chart run "messing up our release schedule".[4] Its music video was directed by Richard Heslop.[5]


The song is best known for its chorus, "'Eezer Goode, 'Eezer Goode / He's Ebeneezer Goode", the first part of which is phonetically identical to "Es are good" – 'E' being common slang for the drug ecstasy.[3] However, 'E' is also sung many other times during the song, ostensibly as 'e (i.e. he), such as in "E's sublime, E makes you feel fine".[4] The lyric alludes to the advantages of the drug, though with an admonition against excessive use:

A gentleman of leisure, he's there for your pleasure
But go easy on old 'Eezer, he's a love you could lose
Extraordinary fella, like Mister Punchinella
He's the kind of geezer who must never be abused.

The song also contains references to the use of cannabis with ecstasy, referencing the rolling of a cannabis joint with the lines "Has anybody got any Veras?" ("Vera Lynns" being rhyming slang for "skins" or rolling papers) and "Got any salmon?" ("salmon and trout" being rhyming slang for "snout" or tobacco).

The "A great philosopher once wrote..." sample at the start of the song is Malcolm McDowell from Lindsay Anderson's 1973 film O Lucky Man!

Critical reception[edit]

Pan-European magazine Music & Media said the song "is a thinly disguised tribute to the drug XTC, although some might think it's about nice chocolates". They added, "Whatever the moralists may say – 'naughty, naughty' like the lyrics [sic] in the intro – it's a brilliantly constructed pop song with both radio and club appeal as proved before by other Euro-crossover hits such as 'Move Any Mountain' and 'Love Sex Intelligence'."[6] Andy Beevers from Music Week commented, "Bringing together very authentic old-fashioned acid house sounds and a cheeky rap, this has instant appeal and is going to be a huge hit. A word of warning, however: it will make 'absolutely outrageous, mate' this summer's most irritating catchphrase."[7] James Hamilton from the Record Mirror Dance Update described it as "pure corny pop with a laddishly spoken and chanted very silly vocal about a geezer what's called Ebeneezer, punctuated by "wicked mate" comments and Sid James-like guffaws" and a "twittery bleeping jaunty bounder".[8]

Chart performance[edit]

The song entered the UK Singles Chart at number six in September 1992, climbing to number one two weeks later (ironically during the BBC's drug awareness week) and staying there for four weeks.[9] It was the UK's 13th-biggest-selling single of 1992.[10]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song consisted of club scenes intermixed with a caped man (ostensibly Ebeneezer Goode himself, played by Jerry Sadowitz) running around parts of a city. It was directed by British director of music videos and films Richard Heslop.[5] Due to the use of flashing images in the video, some TV music channels make epilepsy warnings. Some channels, including VH1, edit the video to reduce the frame rate of these scenes, which deletes each bright frame.

The video was played in episode 5 and 6, season 3 of Beavis and Butt-Head, "Kidnapped".

Performance on Top of the Pops[edit]

When the Shamen appeared on BBC1's Top of the Pops, Mr C was expected to tone down the song due to its being broadcast. The group replaced the final lyric "Got any salmon?" with "Has anyone got any underlay?" When later asked about this in a radio interview, he replied it referenced rugs, not drugs.[4][11]


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[32] Gold 35,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[1] Silver 200,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b "British single certifications – Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  2. ^ "Best of Rave [Westwood] – Various Artists – Songs, Reviews, Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Top of the Pops 2 – Top 5 Drug Songs". BBC. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Interviews by Dave Simpson (5 March 2012). "How we made ... Ebeneezer Goode by the Shamen". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  5. ^ a b "The Shamen - Ebeneezer Goode (1992) - IMVDb". IMVDb. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  6. ^ "The Shamen Deceive The Censors" (PDF). Music & Media. 31 October 1992. p. 15. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  7. ^ Beevers, Andy (15 August 1992). "Dance: Pick of the Week" (PDF). Music Week. p. 10. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  8. ^ Hamilton, James (29 August 1992). "DJ Directory: Out On Monday" (PDF). Music Week, in Record Mirror (Dance Update Supplemental Insert). p. 5. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Year End Charts: Top Singles". Music Week. 16 January 1993. p. 8.
  11. ^ Bussmann, Jane: Once In A Lifetime: The Crazy Days of Acid House (ISBN 0-7535-0260-7)
  12. ^ "Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  13. ^ "Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  14. ^ "Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9, no. 48. 28 November 1992. p. 24. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9, no. 41. 10 October 1992. p. 39. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  17. ^ "European Dance Radio" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9, no. 42. 17 October 1992. p. 32. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  18. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  19. ^ "Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode" (in French). Les classement single.
  20. ^ "Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  21. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Ebeneezer Goode". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  22. ^ 5 October 1992
  23. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Shamen" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  24. ^ "Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  25. ^ "Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode". Top 40 Singles.
  26. ^ "Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode". VG-lista.
  27. ^ "Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode". Singles Top 100.
  28. ^ "Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode". Swiss Singles Chart.
  29. ^ "Top 60 Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 5 September 1992. p. 22. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  30. ^ "1992 Year-End Sales Charts" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9, no. 51/52. 19 December 1992. p. 17. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  31. ^ "1992 Year-End Airplay Charts: European Dance Radio" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9, no. 51/52. 19 December 1992. p. 20. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  32. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.