Sister Europe

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"Sister Europe"
The Psychedelic Furs - Sister Europe.jpeg
Single by The Psychedelic Furs
from the album The Psychedelic Furs
Released February 1980
Recorded 1979
Genre Post-punk, gothic rock[citation needed]
Length 4:13
Label CBS UK; Columbia US
Songwriter(s) John Ashton, Tim Butler, Richard Butler, Vince Ely, Duncan Kilburn, Roger Morris
Producer(s) Steve Lillywhite
The Psychedelic Furs singles chronology
"We Love You"
"Sister Europe"
"Mr. Jones"
"We Love You"
"Sister Europe"
"Mr. Jones"

"Sister Europe" is a song by the English rock band the Psychedelic Furs from the band's 1980 debut album, The Psychedelic Furs. Written by the band and produced by Steve Lillywhite, it was released in February 1980 by CBS as the album's second single.

The Psychedelic Furs traditionally opened their live shows with "Sister Europe" during the early part of their career.[1]


Singer Richard Butler recalled Lillywhite's directions to him regarding the vocals: "He told me, 'Go down to the pub, have a couple of beers, and when you come back, I want you to sing like it's three in the morning, and you're talking on the telephone to someone'".[1] According to Butler, the lyrics conveyed sadness over his then-girlfriend moving away, and were written using imagery, "instead of saying 'My bird's gone to Italy and I miss her'".[1]


"Sister Europe" was first released as a single in the UK in February 1980. The initial 7-inch release was on the Epic label, but this was withdrawn and replaced by a CBS version. Both releases had the unusual feature of a double A-side featuring two versions of the song, short (3:45) and long (4:13).[2] In the US, the song was not released as a single but was used as the B-side for Columbia's 12-inch promo single of "We Love You".[3]

An official music video was produced in 1980, directed by British filmmakers Don Letts and Mick Calvert.[4]


In The Rough Guide to Rock, writer Alex Ogg called it "an intoxicating song that announced the group's distinctive style", comparing it to the Velvet Underground mixed with David Bowie.[5]

AllMusic writer Dave Thompson described Butler's vocal as "a masterpiece of understatement, whispered intimacy".[1]

The single reached No. 47 on the New Zealand charts.[6]

Cover versions[edit]

Jazz tenor saxophonist Gary Windo performed a cover version of the song on his 1985 album Deep Water.[7]

Iva Davies and Icehouse recorded a rendition on the 1995 album Berlin.[8]

Foo Fighters released a cover of "Sister Europe" as the B-side to the 2002 single "All My Life".[9] This version also appeared as a bonus track on the French release of the band's One by One album.[10]

The Italian synthpop band Bluvertigo covered the song in 2001, as the B-side to their single "L'assenzio (The Power of Nothing)".

Track listing[edit]

7" vinyl
  1. "Sister Europe" - 4:13
  2. "****" - 3:45
12" vinyl (US promo)
  1. "We Love You" - 3:26
  2. "Sister Europe" - 5:39

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1980) Peak
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[6] 47


  1. ^ a b c d Thompson, Dave. ""Sister Europe" - Review". AllMusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Dave (2004). Beautiful Chaos: The Psychedelic Furs. London: Helter Skelter. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-900924-47-4. 
  3. ^ Thompson, p. 204.
  4. ^ Thompson, p. 214.
  5. ^ Buckley, Peter (Ed.) (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to More than 1200 Artists and Bands (3rd ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 826. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0. 
  6. ^ a b "Charts - The Psychedelic Furs - 'Sister Europe'". Ultratop. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  7. ^ "Deep Water - Overview". AllMusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  8. ^ "The Berlin Tapes - Overview". AllMusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  9. ^ "'All My Life' - Overview". AllMusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  10. ^ "One by One - Overview". AllMusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-31. 

External links[edit]