Signs (Five Man Electrical Band song)

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Single by Five Man Electrical Band
from the album Good-byes and Butterflies
B-side "Hello Melinda Goodbye"
Released May 1971
Genre Hard rock[1]
Length 4:05 (album version)
3:20 (single version)
Label Lionel Records
Songwriter(s) Les Emmerson
Producer(s) Dallas Smith
Five Man Electrical Band singles chronology
"Absolutely Right"

"Absolutely Right"

"Signs" is a song by the Canadian rock group Five Man Electrical Band. It was written by the band's frontman, Les Emmerson and popularized the relatively unknown band, who recorded it for their second album, Good-byes and Butterflies, in 1970. "Signs" was originally released that year as the B-side to the relatively unsuccessful single "Hello Melinda Goodbye" (#55 Canada).

Re-released in 1971 as the A-side, "Signs" reached No. 4 in Canada and No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 24 song for 1971. It became a gold record.

It was briefly sung in a season four episode of Arrested Development.

Chart performance[edit]

Covers and sampling[edit]

Single by Tesla
from the album Five Man Acoustical Jam
Released 1990 (1990)
Songwriter(s) Les Emmerson

"Signs" was covered and recorded live by Tesla for their Five Man Acoustical Jam album in 1990, peaking at number 8 on the Pop charts.[8] This cover had some minor changes to the lyrics: the line "blockin' out the scenery" was changed to "fuckin' up the scenery," and "made up my own little sign" was changed to "made up my own fuckin' sign". A studio version recorded in 2007 used the original lyrics.

The opening line of the song, "And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply", was sampled by Fatboy Slim for his song "Don't Let The Man Get You Down", from his Palookaville album.

ApologetiX recorded a parody of the song titled "Lions", telling a Biblical story of a character named Daniel in a lion's den. It was originally included on the cassette of Radical History Tour, and was later re-issued on the "Director's Cut" edition of Isn't Wasn't Ain't.

The Evolution Control Committee used only part of the song's opening line "the sign said long haired freaky people" on the track "Freaky People" from their 2011 album All Rights Reserved.


  1. ^ "Top Quality Rock Helps Labels Turnaround Their Profit Picture". Billboard. 6 November 1971. p. RN-34. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  2. ^ "RMP100 Singles, July 24, 19751". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  3. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  4. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 9/04/71". 1971-09-04. Retrieved 2016-12-28. 
  5. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  6. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1971/Top 100 Songs of 1971". Music Outfitters. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  7. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1971". 1971-12-25. Retrieved 2016-12-28. 
  8. ^ Joel Whitburn (2008). Joel Whitburn Presents Rock Tracks 1981-2008. Record Research. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-89820-174-1. 

External links[edit]