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Studio album by Chumbawamba
Released 23 September 1997
Genre Dance-pop[1]
Length 58:49
Label EMI (UK)
Universal Records (U.S.)
Chumbawamba chronology
Swingin' with Raymond
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Entertainment Weekly B+[3]
Robert Christgau (3-star Honorable Mention)[4]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[1]

Tubthumper is the eighth studio album by the British band Chumbawamba, and is the album that catapulted them into the mainstream, released by EMI in the UK and in the US by Universal Records. Many of the tracks address specific social issues, such as homelessness, the Liverpool Dockers' Strike or racism; a fair number of them express the far-left/anarchist critiques of British liberals in "New Labour," which started in 1994. Tubthumper was the band's first major commercial success, and remains their most successful album, selling over 3 million units in the United States alone, largely on the strength of the hit lead single "Tubthumping". Cover design for the album's U.S. release was designed by Michael Calleia[5] at Industrial Strength Design[6] in New York City.

EMI controversy[edit]

Tubthumper caused a huge upheaval in Chumbawamba's fan base, with many of their older fans feeling the band had trivialised all that they had stood for in signing to EMI.[citation needed] The band was targeted by many as being sell-outs and hypocrites, after having been sternly do-it-yourself for their fifteen-year history.[citation needed] The band, always more about the original punk ethos of challenging 'normality' than the homogenous strait-jacket of post-punk with its numerous rules and regulations, revelled in the controversy.

The band's actions were made the subject of a compilation EP released in 1998 titled The Anti-Chumbawamba EP, featuring music from other English acts. One of the songs from the EP was once available to download on the Chumbawamba official Web site, with accompanying text from the band stating, "It's all true."

Dunstan Bruce and Danbert Nobacon are shown reading hate mail from various fans and ex-fans in the 2000 Chumbawamba documentary, Well Done Now Sod Off. The letters are quite rude and severely critical of the actions undertaken by the band, with Bruce having trouble finishing one letter and laughingly exclaiming his amazement at the harshness.

The band's official FAQ has the following to say on the subject: "We signed to EMI/Universal not because we'd been co-opted into the 'If you can't beat capitalism ... join it' school of thought, but because experience had taught us that in a capitalist environment almost every record company operates on capitalist principles. Our previous record label One Little Indian didn't have the evil symbolic significance of EMI BUT they were completely motivated by profit. Our [Chumbawamba's] position was that whoever we signed with would want us not for our ideas but for the potential profit, so we'd battle for a contract where we still had autonomy."[7]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Chumbawamba. 

No. Title Length
1. "Tubthumping"   4:08
2. "Amnesia"   4:08
3. "Drip, Drip, Drip"   5:09
4. "The Big Issue"   4:38
5. "The Good Ship Lifestyle"   5:14
6. "One by One"   4:46
7. "Outsider"   5:09
8. "Creepy Crawling"   4:04
9. "Mary, Mary"   4:59
10. "Smalltown"   3:14
11. "I Want More"   4:02
12. "Scapegoat"   5:08



  • Neil Ferguson: keyboards, guitars

also featuring

  • Chopper: cello on "I Want More"
  • Michael Cohen: vocal on "Amnesia"
  • Abbott Sauce Works Band: brass on "Scapegoat"
  • Kye Coles: vocals on "Thank You"

The track "The Good Ship Lifestyle" samples from the BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast.


  1. ^ a b Archived 27 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Tubthumper at AllMusic
  3. ^ Tom Lanham (31 October 1997). "Album Review: 'Tubthumper'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Robert Christgau. "Chumbawamba". Consumer Guide. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  5. ^ calleia.com
  6. ^ istrength.com
  7. ^ Chumbawamba FAQ's... Sort of Thing at the Wayback Machine (archived 2 December 1998)

External links[edit]