Sour Times

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"Sour Times"
Single by Portishead
from the album Dummy
Released 1 August 1994
Format CD, 12" vinyl, Cassette
Recorded 1994
Genre Trip hop,[1] alternative rock[1]
Length 4:14
Label Go! Discs, London
Writer(s) Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons, Adrian Utley
Producer(s) Portishead, Adrian Utley
Portishead singles chronology
"Sour Times"
"Glory Box"

"Sour Times" is a song by English trip hop group Portishead, released as their second single in August 1994. Written by all three members of the band, "Sour Times" features on Portishead's debut album Dummy (1994).

The original 1994 release initially reached only number 57 in the UK, but after the success of "Glory Box" in 1995, it was re-released and peaked at number 13 on the UK singles chart in April.[2] It is also the band's only song to date to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, at number 53. "Sour Times" was the band's first entry on the Australian ARIA top 100 singles chart, peaking at number 66 in March 1995.[3]

The B-side track "Airbus Reconstruction" was actually recorded by the band Airbus[4] who were former school friends of Geoff Barrow.

Music video[edit]

The "Sour Times" music video is made of footage from Portishead's short film To Kill a Dead Man.

Cultural influences[edit]

"Sour Times" was covered by Bryn Christopher on his album My World. The Blank Theory also covered "Sour Times" on their Beyond the Calm of the Corridor release, which was featured in the trailer for Wicker Park. More recently, "Sour Times" was covered by Marsha Ambrosius on her debut solo album Late Nights & Early Mornings. The Civil Wars performed the song on their four-song EP of covers titled Between the Bars, which was released in 2013. "Sour Times" was also used as the theme music to the ITV drama series The Vice.

The song also appeared in the film Killing Time and tv show Warehouse 13.

The song uses a sample from Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin's "Danube Incident", and was itself sampled in the 2004 single "Teardrops" by The 411.

Track listing[edit]

British CD (1 of 2)
  1. "Sour Times"
  2. "It's a Fire"
  3. "Pedestal"
  4. "Theme from 'To Kill a Dead Man'"
British CD (2 of 2)
  1. "Sour Times" (edit)
  2. "Sour Sour Times"
  3. "Lot More"
  4. "Sheared Times"
  5. "Airbus Reconstruction"
British CD (Re-release)
  1. "Sour Times" (edit)
  2. "Sour Sour Times"
  3. "Pedestal"
  4. "Theme from 'To Kill a Dead Man'"
American CD
  1. "Sour Times" – 4:14
  2. "Numbed in Moscow" – 3:55
  3. "A Tribute to Monk & Canatella" – 10:59
  4. "Lot More" – 4:21
  5. "Theme from 'To Kill a Dead Man'" – 4:25
  6. "Airbus Reconstruction" – 5:08


  1. ^ a b "The 100 Best Alternative Rock Songs of 1994: Portishead, "Sour Times"". Spin. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Portishead - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 January 2016. 
  3. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  4. ^

External links[edit]