Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)

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"Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin"
Single by Scritti Politti
from the album Cupid & Psyche 85
Released February 1984
Format Vinyl, cassette tape, Compact disc
Recorded December 1983
Genre Synthpop
Length 3:34 (7")
4:48 (album)
5:54 (Version)
Label Virgin Records (UK)
Warner Bros. (US)
Writer(s) Green Gartside
Producer(s) Arif Mardin

"Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)" is the seventh single released by the British/American pop group Scritti Politti, issued in the UK on Virgin Records in February 1984. It later appeared on the album Cupid & Psyche 85 (released in June 1985) and was produced by Arif Mardin. The song's subtitle is a reference to "I Say a Little Prayer", Aretha Franklin's biggest UK hit, which was also produced by Mardin.[1]

The single was Scritti Politti's breakthrough hit in the UK singles charts, where it peaked at #10 in a 16-week chart run.[2][3] It was also a Top 30 hit in Australia and New Zealand.


Writing in a 2011 interview with Green Gartside, Robin Turner said:

In April '84, "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)" crackled over airwaves from Anglesey to Arizona like an alien radio transmission beamed out to an unsuspecting planet. A gleaming, chromium nugget molded by ultra-modernist studioheads, it heralded in three and a half minutes the dramatic, bravura transformation of a band called Scritti Politti. Formerly a DIY squat punk band, they were now a group doused in glinting pop sheen. ... The resultant LP, Cupid and Psyche 85, yielded a string of radio-slaying singles ("Wood Beez...", "Absolute", "The Word Girl" and "Perfect Way") that segued fluently between ultra-slick robotised funk and meticulously constructed swoonsome lovers rock. Huge sales followed.[4]

Other versions and uses[edit]

The extended version is subtitled "Version". It appeared on the CD release of the album and also on the 2005 compilation 12"/80s, which prompted AllMusic to call its inclusion "smart"[5] and Pitchfork Media to note the extended version's "ultra-brite (p)op-art stabs and gimmicky samples are a mini-essay in mid-80s remixing-- as well as on what the 80s did to punk."[6]

The song appears in Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City's fictional radio station Vice City FM.

Track listing[edit]

7" single[edit]

A: "Wood Beez" – 3:34
B: "Wood Beez" (Version) – 4:43 (an edit of the "Version" which appears on the 12") [7]

12" single[edit]

A: "Wood Beez" – 4:50
B: "Wood Beez" (Version) – 5:54 [8]

CD single (released 1988)[edit]

  1. "Wood Beez" – 4:50
  2. "Small Talk" – 3:36
  3. "Wood Beez" (Version) – 6:00 [9]

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 25
New Zealand[11] 26
UK Singles Chart[2] 10
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play [12] 4


  1. ^ Wilson, Greg (2005). "Credit To The Edit Volume One: Track by Track". Electrofunkroots. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Official Charts - Scritti Politti". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  3. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2009-04-02). Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984. Faber & Faber. pp. 394–395. ISBN 9780571252275. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/12-80s-mw0000342210
  6. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/2072-1280s/
  7. ^ "Discogs.com - Scritti Politti "Wood Beez" 7"". Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "Discogs.com - Scritti Politti "Wood Beez" 12"". Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "Discogs.com - Scritti Politti "Wood Beez" CD single". Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  10. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 Singles 1984". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "NZ chart archive". Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  12. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p5381