Hammer the Hammer

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"Hammer the Hammer"
Hammer the Hammer single cover.jpg
Single by The Go-Betweens
A-side "Hammer the Hammer"
B-side "By Chance"
Released June 1982
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded January 1982
A.A.V. Studios, Melbourne
Genre
Length 2:50
Label Rough Trade
Songwriter(s) Grant McLennan[1]
Producer(s) Tony Cohen
The Go-Betweens singles chronology
"You Turn, My Turn"
(1981)
"Hammer the Hammer"
(1982)
"Cattle and Cane"
(1983)

"You Turn, My Turn"
(1981)
"Hammer the Hammer"
(1982)
"Cattle and Cane"
(1983)

"Hammer the Hammer" was released as a stand-alone single by Australian indie group The Go-Betweens. It was released as a 7" vinyl record on the Missing Link Records label in Australia in June 1982[2][3] and by Rough Trade Records in the United Kingdom in July,[4][5] with "By Chance" as the B-side. Forster considered that "By Chance" was a personal break-through for him.[2] Pitchfork Media describes "By Chance" as sounding "more than a bit like the early Smiths.[6]

Details[edit]

According to music journalist Clinton Walker "Hammer the Hammer" was about McLennan's growing taste for narcotics encouraged by a proximity to the Birthday Party.[7] McLennan however denied that the song was about drugs and in the liner notes for the band's compilation album, 1978-1990, he describes it as being "an incomplete meditation on loneliness and violence, sometimes mistakenly thought to be about drugs".[8]

Forster described the song as, "Grant's first great pop tune. An urgent, melodic verse, a foot to the floor chorus - its lyric just the repeated title. Perfect. From his earliest songs I found his lyrics surprisingly oblique and melancholic."[9]

The band recorded the two songs at Armstrong's Audio Visual (A.A.V.) Studios in Melbourne, at the same time as The Birthday Party was recording Junkyard.[10] It was during these sessions that the two groups decided to collaborate on a song. The result, "After the Fireworks", was a Forster/McLennan joint composition with the lyrics by Nick Cave. It was subsequently released by on Au Go Go Records (ANDA-22) under the name Tuff Monks.[10][11]

Reception[edit]

Reviewed in NME at the time of release, it was described as, "Miscreant pop music attempting to disgrace its fealty to any number of sources. It seems to stumble when a stride is called for and winds up notating needless obscurities. Vacancy trussed up as abstraction is not the stuff of success, in any sense."[12]

The Guardian describes the song as an "odd, punkish sort of folk rock, deceptively primitive and sometimes rattlingly suggestive of the Velvet Underground."[13]

Track listing[edit]

Original 7" Vinyl release[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Hammer the Hammer"G. McLennan[1]2:50
2."By Chance"R. Forster[14]2:30


Release history[edit]

Date Region Label Format Catalogue
June 1982 Australia Missing Link 7" vinyl MISS 33[15]
July 1982 United Kingdom Rough Trade RT 108[15]

Credits[edit]

The Go-Betweens
Production
  • Producer, Engineer — Tony Cohen
  • Producer — The Go-Betweens


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'Hammer the Hammer' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 4 August 2015. Note: User may have to click on 'Search again' and provide details at 'Enter a title:', e.g. Hammer the Hammer; or at 'Performer:' The Go-Betweens.
  2. ^ a b "The Go-Betweens : Hammer The Hammer". Go-Betweens.org.uk. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  3. ^ Walker, Clinton (1984). The Next Thing. Kangaroo Press. p. 38. ISBN 9780949924810.
  4. ^ Stafford, Andrew (2006). Pig City: From the Saints to Savage Garden. University of Queensland Press. p. 145. ISBN 9780702235610.
  5. ^ Young, Rob (2006). Rough Trade. Black Dog Publishing. p. 169. ISBN 9781904772477.
  6. ^ Wolk, Douglas (22 January 2015). "G Stands for Go-Betweens". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  7. ^ "'L' Stands For Liner Notes". Clinton Walker. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  8. ^ McLennan, Grant. "Liner Notes : 1978-1990". Beggars Banquet Records. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  9. ^ Robert Forster (2016). Grant & I. Penguin. pp. 100–101. ISBN 978-0-6700782-2-6.
  10. ^ a b David, Nichols (2003). The Go-Betweens. Portland, OR: Verse Chorus Press. ISBN 1-891241-16-8. Note: [online] version has limited functionality.
  11. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). New York: Canongate U.S. p. 262. ISBN 1-84195-615-5.
  12. ^ Richard Cook (3 July 1982). "Hammer The Hammer (Rough Trade)". NME.
  13. ^ Peschek, David (29 June 2004). "The Go-Betweens". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  14. ^ "'By Chance' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 4 August 2015. Note: User may have to click on 'Search again' and provide details at 'Enter a title:', e.g. By Chance; or at 'Performer:' The Go-Betweens.
  15. ^ a b "Go-Betweens - Hammer the Hammer". Discogs. Retrieved 4 August 2015.

External links[edit]