To Cut a Long Story Short

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"To Cut a Long Story Short"
To Cut a Long Story Short single cover.jpg
Single by Spandau Ballet
from the album Journeys to Glory
B-side"To Cut a Long Story Short" (instrumental)
Released3 November 1980
Format7", 12"
GenreNew wave,[1] synth-pop,[2] art pop[3]
Length3:20 (single version)
6:30 (12-inch version)
Songwriter(s)Gary Kemp
Producer(s)Richard James Burgess
Spandau Ballet singles chronology
"To Cut a Long Story Short"
"The Freeze"
Audio sample

"To Cut a Long Story Short" is a 1980 song by the English new wave band Spandau Ballet. It was their first single and reached number 5 on the UK Singles Chart.[4] It appeared on the album Journeys to Glory.


AllMusic reviewer Stewart Mason described the single as minimalist "spiky synth-pop" with a style reminiscent of early Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark material, and featuring a "dirty, overdriven synth sound and a stomping Gary Glitter-like backbeat". Although he described it as "largely forgotten" today due to Spandau Ballet's later successful change in style towards "smooth, soulful pop", he suggested it was "a minor lost classic of the early-'80s U.K. synth pop scene".[2] Ian Gittins wrote in The Guardian that the song "remains a sharp exercise in art-pop weirdness, all twitchy synths and bubbling urgency".[3]

Inspiration, meaning and use as sample[edit]

The song has been speculated to be about a veteran, perhaps of Vietnam, who is drafted and suffers from PTSD; the lyrics are told from the man's point of view as a boy being drafted, how he gets no answers as to why he must join the war.[5] "To Cut a Long Story Short" was Vince Clarke's inspiration to write Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough",[6] to which the keyboard style bears a certain similarity.

The signature riff from "To Cut a Long Story Short" is used as a sample looping throughout the Freestylers track "In Love with You" on their album Adventures in Freestyle.[7]

Formats and track listings[edit]

7" single
  1. "To Cut a Long Story Short" — 3:20
  2. "To Cut a Long Story Short" (Instrumental) — 3:20
12" single
  1. "To Cut a Long Story Short" (Mix 1) — 6:30
  2. "To Cut a Long Story Short" (Mix 2) — 3:56


  1. ^ O'Neil, Dave (15 August 2016). "The Summer of '82". Black Inc. – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b Stewart Mason. "To Cut a Long Story Short - Spandau Ballet | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b Gittins, Ian (1 October 2014). "Spandau Ballet review – return of the shoulder-heaving soul boys". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 518. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "Spandau Ballet - To Cut A Long Story Short Lyrics". SongMeanings. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Just Can't Get Enough by Depeche Mode Songfacts". 8 November 2005. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Freestylers's 'In Love With You' sample of Spandau Ballet's 'To Cut a Long Story Short'". Retrieved 17 October 2016.

External links[edit]