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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
Released24 February 1984 (1984-02-24)
RecordedDecember 1983
Length3:34 (7")
4:48 (album)
5:54 (Version)
LabelVirgin (UK)
Warner Bros. (US)
Songwriter(s)Green Gartside
Producer(s)Arif Mardin
Scritti Politti singles chronology
"Asylums in Jerusalem"/"Jacques Derrida"
"Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)"
Music video
"Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)" on YouTube

"Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)" is the seventh single released by the British pop band Scritti Politti, issued in the UK on 24 February 1984 by Virgin Records. It later appeared on the band's second studio 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; Mardin had also produced Franklin.[1]

The single was Scritti Politti's breakthrough hit on the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at No. 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]

Music videos[edit]

Two music videos were shot for the song. The first, shot in 1984, was directed by John Scarlett-Davis, who also directed the videos for "Absolute" and "The Word Girl" and features the dancing of Michael Clark. A second music video was released for the US in 1986, directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino and featuring model Veronica Webb (who also appeared in the video for "Perfect Way").[5] Both versions were featured on a video compilation simply titled "Scritti Politti", released on VHS, Betamax and LaserDisc by Virgin Music Video in 1986. The 1984 version is simply titled "Wood Beez", while the 1986 version is titled "Wood Beez – USA".[6]

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"[7] 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."[8]

Track listing[edit]

7" single A: "Wood Beez" – 3:34
B: "Wood Beez" (Version) – 4:43 (an edit of the "Version" which appears on the 12")[9]

12" single A: "Wood Beez" – 4:50
B: "Wood Beez" (Version) – 5:54[10]

CD single (released 1988)

  1. "Wood Beez" – 4:50
  2. "Small Talk" – 3:36
  3. "Wood Beez" (Version) – 6:00 [11]

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[12] 25
New Zealand[13] 26
UK Singles Chart[2] 10
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[14] 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 (2 April 2009). Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984. Faber & Faber. pp. 394–395. ISBN 9780571252275. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  4. ^ Robin Turner: Green Gartside Interviewed On Scritti Politti & His Welsh Heritage, May 31st, 2011
  5. ^ Scritti Politti - Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin) (US version) on YouTube
  6. ^ "Scritti Politti - Scritti Politti". Discogs.
  7. ^ "12"/'80s - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  8. ^ "Various Artists: 12"/80's". Pitchfork.
  9. ^ "Discogs.com - Scritti Politti "Wood Beez" 7"". Discogs. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Discogs.com - Scritti Politti "Wood Beez" 12"". Discogs. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Discogs.com - Scritti Politti "Wood Beez" CD single". Discogs. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 Singles 1984". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  13. ^ "NZ chart archive". Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  14. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/artist/p5381

External links[edit]