The Rattler

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"The Rattler"
Goodbye-Mr-Mackenzie-The-Rattler---1st.jpg
Single by Goodbye Mr Mackenzie
Released 6 October 1986
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Recorded Hart Street Studios,
Edinburgh, Scotland
Genre Alternative rock, new wave
Length 3:51
Label The Precious Organisation
Songwriter(s) Derek Kelly, Martin Metcalfe
Producer(s) Wilf Smarties
Goodbye Mr Mackenzie singles chronology
"Death of a Salesman"
(1984)
"The Rattler"
(1986)
"Face to Face"
(1987)

"Death of a Salesman"
(1984)
"The Rattler"
(1986)
"Face to Face"
(1987)
"The Rattler"
TheRattler.jpg
Single by Goodbye Mr Mackenzie
from the album
Good Deeds and Dirty Rags
Released February 1989
Format 7" Vinyl, 12" vinyl, CD single
Genre Alternative rock, new wave
Length 3:51
Label Capitol
Songwriter(s) Derek Kelly, Martin Metcalfe
Producer(s) Goodbye Mr Mackenzie
Add. production and mix by Mack
Engineered by Jack The Cat
Goodbye Mr Mackenzie singles chronology
"Open Your Arms"
(1988)
"The Rattler"
(1989)
"Goodwill City" / "I'm Sick of You"
(1989)

"Open Your Arms"
(1988)
"The Rattler"
(1989)
"Goodwill City"/"I'm Sick of You"
(1989)

"The Rattler" is a 1986 song by Scottish alternative rock group Goodbye Mr Mackenzie and has become their most enduring track, often referred to as a "lost classic" of the Scottish music scene. The song was often described as "Springsteen-esque", even though the song had not been inspired or written in that way.[1]

"The Rattler" was originally released independently, but was withdrawn from radio airplay over its lyrical content. Despite this the track reached #8 on the indie charts.[2] Three years later, "The Rattler" was re-recorded and released on a major label as the third single released upfront of the band's debut album Good Deeds and Dirty Rags.[3] "The Rattler" became the band's only Top 40 hit.[4]

Single release[edit]

The Mackenzies recorded "The Rattler" with producer Wilf Smarties, who was known for producing Edinburgh cult-band The Fire Engines. At the same time, Smarties had been producing demos for Wet Wet Wet, whose manager Elliot Davis heard their material. Davis signed the Mackenzies up to his label, The Precious Organisation, under a management deal.[1] On 6 October 1986, Precious issued "The Rattler" on 7" vinyl, backed with bonus track "Candlestick Park".[3] A week later, a 12" version followed, with an additional bonus track "The End".[3] The band edited a home-made music video for "The Rattler", which was broadcast on The Tube, which encouraged radio play of the song. But within weeks, "The Rattler" was abruptly dropped from Radio One playlists, allegedly due to the lyrics alluding to cunnilingus.[5]

Following the release of "The Rattler", the band changed management for follow-up single "Face to Face", before being signed to Capitol Records in a major-label record deal. In March 1989, Capitol Records released the re-recorded "The Rattler" in multiple-formats including CD single, cassette single, two 7" vinyl and two 12" vinyls, one of each which was a limited edition with a gatefold sleeve, and a third 12" with an exclusive free poster.[3] The single package was rounded out with b-sides "Calton Hill" and "Here Comes Deacon Brodie", named respectively after Calton Hill, an Edinburgh location and William Brodie, a local 18th century councillor who maintained a secret life as a burglar; and a recording of sea shanty "Drunken Sailor".[3]

"The Rattler" debuted on the UK singles chart at #55;[6] peaking at #37 four weeks later.[4] "The Rattler" spent a total of six weeks on the UK charts,[7] but provided the launch for Good Deeds and Dirty Rags to debut at #26 on the UK Albums chart.[8]

Track listings[edit]

Original release[edit]

  • UK 7" single The Precious Organisation JEWEL2T
  1. "The Rattler (I Hold What I Need In My Right Hand)"
  2. "Candlestick Park (Wrapped Up In Paper And Words)"
  • UK 12" single The Precious Organisation JEWEL2T
  1. "The Rattler (I Hold What I Need In My Right Hand)"
  2. "Candlestick Park (Wrapped Up In Paper And Words)"
  3. "The End (We Never Got The Way That We Should Go)"

Major label re-release[edit]

  • UK 7" single Capitol Records CL 522 (Card sleeve)
  • UK 7" single Capitol Records CLG 522 (Gatefold sleeve)
  1. "The Rattler" - 4:04
  2. "Here Comes Deacon Brodie" - 5:08
  • UK 12" single Capitol Records 12CL 522
  • UK 12" single Capitol Records 12CLP 522 (Limited edition w/poster)
  1. "The Rattler" - 4:04
  2. "Here Comes Deacon Brodie" - 5:08
  3. "Theme From Calton Hill" - 4:15
  • UK 12" single Capitol Records 12CLG 522 (Gatefold sleeve)
  • UK CD single Capitol Records CDCL 522
  1. "The Rattler" - 4:04
  2. "Here Comes Deacon Brodie" - 5:08
  3. "Calton Hill" - 4:15
  4. "Drunken Sailor" - 3:28

Credits[edit]

  • Artwork By [Design And Art Direction] - Ken Donald
  • Bass - Neil Baldwin (2)
  • Drums - Kelly*
  • Lyrics By [Words], Music By - Kelly*, Metcalfe*
  • Producer - Wilf Smarties (tracks: A, B1)
  • Vocals, Guitar - Martin*
  • Vocals, Keyboards - Rona*, Shirley Manson

Comprehensive charts[edit]

Year Single Chart Position
1986 "The Rattler" UK Indie Chart[2] #8
1989 "The Rattler" UK Singles Chart (The Official Charts Company)[4] #37

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hammer and Tongs re-release bio". Cherry Red/Blokshok Records. Retrieved 2017-06-28. 
  2. ^ a b "Indie Hits (25th October, 1986)". Cherry Red. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Davis, Andy (January 1997). ""Goodbye Angelfish"". Record Collector. No. 209. UK: Diamond Publishing. pp. 61–63. Retrieved 2017-06-25. 
  4. ^ a b c "TOP 100 OFFICIAL UK SINGLES ARCHIVE (26th March 1989)". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2017-06-28. 
  5. ^ Smode, Digby. ""Face Value"". Record Mirror. UK. 
  6. ^ "TOP 100 OFFICIAL UK SINGLES ARCHIVE (5th March 1989)". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2017-06-28. 
  7. ^ "TOP 100 OFFICIAL UK SINGLES ARCHIVE (9th April 1989)". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2017-06-28. 
  8. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 75; 16 April 1989 - 22 April 1989". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2017-06-28. 

External links[edit]