Peek-a-Boo (song)

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Not to be confused with Peekaboo.
Single by Siouxsie and the Banshees
from the album Peepshow
B-side "False Face", "Catwalk"
Released 18 July 1988
Recorded 1988
Genre Dance-rock, alternative rock
Length 3:10
Producer(s) Siouxsie and the Banshees
Siouxsie and the Banshees singles chronology
"Song from the Edge of the World"
"The Killing Jar"

"Peek-a-Boo" is a song by English alternative rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was released in 1988 as the first single from the band's ninth studio album, Peepshow. Melody Maker described the song as "a brightly unexpected mixture of black steel and pop disturbance" and qualified its genre as "thirties hip hop".[1] "Peek-a-Boo" was rated "Single of the Week" in both Sounds and NME. Sounds wrote that it was a "brave move", "playful and mysterious".[2] NME described it as "Oriental marching band hip hop" with "catchy accordion." They then said : "If this nation was served by anything approaching a decent pop radio station, "Peek A Boo" would be a huge hit."[3]

PopMatters retrospectively placed it at number 18 on their list "The 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the '80s", saying that its instrumentation was "inventive" with "ingenious vocal phasing".[4]

Bloc Party praised "Peek-a-Boo" and their singer Kele Okereke said: "It sounded like nothing else on this planet. This is just a pop song that they put out in the middle of their career that nobody knows about, but to me it sounded like the most current but most futuristic bit of guitar-pop music I've heard."[5]


The song's peculiar sound is due to its experimental recording which was based on a sample. The song was built on a loop in reverse of a brass part with drums which the group previously arranged a year before for a cover of John Cale's "Gun".[6] The band selected different parts of that tape when played backwards, editing them and re-recording on top of it, adding a different melody plus accordion, a one-note bass and discordant guitar. Drummer Budgie also added another beat. Once the instrumental parts were finished, Siouxsie sang her lyrics over it. The lyric track was further manipulated by Siouxsie's use of a different microphone for each line of the song.[6] It took the band a year to arrive at this result. When initially composed to be an extra track for 1987's "The Passenger" single, the band realized that the song was too good to be relegated to B-side status and deserved better exposure.

"Peek-a-Boo" was one of Siouxsie and the Banshees' most recognisable and popular singles; it was also the group's first to chart in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100,[7] reaching the No. 53 in the week of 3 December.[8] The song was very popular on alternative rock radios and received heavy play on MTV. In September 1988, Billboard magazine premiered a new Modern Rock Tracks chart, which measured radio airplay on USA modern rock stations; "Peek-a-Boo" was the chart's first No. 1 song.[9] In the UK, "Peek-a-Boo" became their fifth Top 20 UK hit, peaking at number 16 in the Singles chart.[10]

A minor controversy ensued after the single's release, as the lines to the chorus ("...Golly jeepers/Where'd you get those weepers?/Peepshow, creepshow/Where did you get those eyes?...") were found to be too similar to the lyrics in the 1938 song "Jeepers Creepers". To remedy the situation and to avoid legal action, the band gave co-songwriting credit on "Peek-a-Boo" to Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer.

In the media[edit]

The music video was chosen by The Chart Show to be their "Best Video of the Year" for 1988. On the Beavis & Butt-head episode "Sperm Bank," Beavis noted while watching the video that "this is music for people who don't have any friends, because people would leave when the song is playing".[11] "Peek-a-Boo" was covered in 2010 by Australian artist Bertie Blackman. The song was made available as downloadable content for the Rock Band platform on 20 April 2010. It was also used in the 2001 movie Jeepers Creepers, playing on the radio in a police car.


Chart (1988) Peak
Irish Singles Chart 18
UK Singles Chart 16
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 53
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 14

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mathur, Paul. "Born Again Savages". Melody Maker. 9 July 1988.
  2. ^ Kane, Peter (23 July 1988). Single of the week. Sounds. 
  3. ^ Quantick, David. "Single of the week". NME. 23 July 1988
  4. ^ Gerard, Chris. "The 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the '80s". Pop Matters. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015
  5. ^ O'Kane, Josh (18 September 2008). "Talking Bloc during Harvest Jazz - Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke talks life, love, music and Ultimate Fighting.". [Here] New Brunswick. Retrieved 2012-03-17. With the new record, he said he was inspired by a song written years ago by Siouxsie and the Banshees called Peek-a-boo. "I heard it for the first time, and it sounded like nothing else on this planet. This is just a pop song that they put out in the middle of their career that nobody knows about, but to me it sounded like the most current but most futuristic bit of guitar-pop music I've heard. I thought, that'd be cool, to make music that people might not get at the time, but in ten years' time, people would revisit it." 
  6. ^ a b "The Music Producers, Part Two : Mike Hedges on Peek-a-boo by Siouxsie & the Banshees". The Word. 14 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "Siouxsie & the banshees Billboard singles". Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  8. ^ Billboard Hot 100 - week 12 December 1988. Billboard. Retrieved 15-8-2015
  9. ^ "A Billboard Anniversary Salute". Billboard. November 27, 2004. P.17. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Siouxsie & the Banshees [uk charts]". Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Beavis and Butt-head - PEEK A BOO (Siouxsie & the Banshees)". 

External links[edit]