It's a Shame About Ray

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It's a Shame about Ray
Lemonheads It's a Shame About Ray.jpg
Studio album by Lemonheads
Released June 2, 1992
Recorded 1991-1992 at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles, California
Genre Alternative rock, power pop[1]
Length 29:46
Label Atlantic
Producer The Robb Brothers
Lemonheads chronology
It's a Shame About Ray
Come On Feel the Lemonheads
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Pitchfork Media (8.4/10)[3]

It's a Shame about Ray is the fifth album by American alternative rock band The Lemonheads. It was released on June 2, 1992. Tom Morgan of Australian band Smudge helped author the album, The Robb Brothers produced, and Juliana Hatfield played bass and sang backing vocals on some songs.

After its initial release, the album was re-issued with a cover of the song "Mrs. Robinson", originally by Simon & Garfunkel. This version was released as a single, recorded to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of the movie The Graduate, for which the song and video appeared in the DVD release. The song had been recorded after the other tracks, with a different bass player. Pressure from the record label also caused the title of the song "Drug Buddy" to be reduced to the less-provocative title "Buddy" when the album was reissued, only to be changed to "My Drug Buddy" on later releases.


The album and its title track was inspired partially by a club owner who called everyone 'Ray'. Band leader Evan Dando later saw the actual line, "It's a shame about Ray" in a Sydney newspaper article about something that happened to a child named Ray. "It's a Shame about Ray" was a big international hit for the band, as well as a #5 hit on the Modern Rock Tracks chart in America. The song was later included at #138 on Pitchfork Media's Top 200 Tracks of the 90s.[4]

"Alison's Starting to Happen" refers to Alison Galloway, the drummer for Smudge. The album also includes a cover of the song "Frank Mills" from the musical Hair.

The song "Hannah & Gabi" features slide guitar by Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers).

The band performed the album in its entirety at London's Shepherds Bush Empire on September 14 and 15, 2005, as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties-curated Don't Look Back concert series. The cover of "Mrs. Robinson", a song that Dando grew tired of after its popularity, was missing from the setlist. However "Mrs. Robinson" was not on the original, first pressings of the album.

"Confetti" and the title track were also released as singles in the UK.

The album was re-issued as a collector's edition by Rhino in 2008. This edition includes several bonus demo versions of album tracks, along with the B-side "Shaky Ground" plus a DVD containing the previous VHS release Two Weeks in Australia.

The Lemonheads announced an Australian tour for November and December 2010, where they would play the album, It's A Shame About Ray in its entirety, along with other select songs from their other albums.[5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Evan Dando unless otherwise stated.

  1. "Rockin Stroll"
  2. "Confetti"
  3. "It's a Shame About Ray" (Words by Dando/Tom Morgan, music by Dando)
  4. "Rudderless"
  5. "My Drug Buddy"
  6. "The Turnpike Down"
  7. "Bit Part" (Words by Dando/Morgan, music by Dando)
  8. "Alison's Starting to Happen"
  9. "Hannah & Gabi"
  10. "Kitchen" (Nic Dalton)
  11. "Ceiling Fan in My Spoon"
  12. "Frank Mills" (James Rado, Gerome Ragni, Galt MacDermot)
Re-release bonus track
  1. "Mrs. Robinson" (Paul Simon)


The Lemonheads


Album – Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1992 Heatseekers 3
1993 The Billboard 200 68

Singles – Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1992 "It's a Shame About Ray" Modern Rock Tracks
1992 "Mrs. Robinson" Modern Rock Tracks

In Pop Culture[edit]

In 2013, "It's a Shame About Ray" appeared as the episode title for two popular TV shows:

  • Episode 1 of Season 3 of the North American version of Being Human[7]
  • Episode 4 of Season 2 of the HBO show Girls[8]