Almanac Music: Favourite Songs of the Half-Remembered Kind


Favourite Songs of the Half-Remembered Kind



I suppose all of us have these songs – ones we really like, perhaps even love, but only half-remember, at least for an extended period of time. Typically, we first heard such songs ages ago, maybe even decades back. We can sing and/or hum parts of them, but can’t recall the title or name of the performer. Often, at some point (thankfully), a Eureka! moment occurs where the song is heard again and its details somehow come to light. Finally, then, the issue is solved – and it’s a great feeling, a bit like an annoying last jigsaw puzzle piece that has been put into place to reveal a wonderful final picture.


One such song for me is ‘So Long’ by UK band Fischer-Z, first released in 1980. I always loved the song, could hum bits of the melody and sing snippets of the lyric – though I misremembered the line They said you were living in France and thought it was They said said you were living in Prague, perhaps because the word France is sung with a pronounced English accent – Fraaaaance – and also because the song has a dark, almost Middle European mood. Anyway, I didn’t discover (or maybe re-discover) the name and performer of ‘So Long’ until I heard the song on late-night radio a couple of weeks ago, and it was back-announced by the presenter.


The song is linked above. It has so many of the elements that generally appeal to me about a good rock song: a literate lyric (telling a story can be added bonus, as it is here); an inventive melody, including a catchy chorus, soaring above the solid foundation of an uncomplicated chord base; and some interesting playing – here it’s a creative bass guitar line and very effective synthesizer. Added to this, the song is a particularly evocative blend of musical styles of the era concerned – at one end of the spectrum, one can detect a haunting post-punk Joy Division sparseness and scariness, at the other, the synth-pop feel of New Romantic bands such as Ultravox.


Almanackers – this is where you come in.


I’d enjoy hearing about similar song experiences to the one I’ve just detailed. As I indicated at the outset, I believe we all have them. The song concerned can be either one you still don’t remember properly but can provide bits of, or one where you finally discovered the full details.


Maybe, in some instances, other Almanac readers will be able to tell you the song you are trying to remember, and therefore fill in that final annoying piece in one of your personal jigsaw puzzles.




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Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, was published in late 2020 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Not quite half remembered and more mondegreen, but for a long time I thought that Billy Bragg was more impressionable when his singlet was wet Kevin.

  2. Kevin Densley says

    I love the word mondegreen, Swish – relevant to my present post – but please tell me more about the Billy Bragg reference. I’d like to know what you’re getting at!

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Greetings To The New Brunette

  4. Kevin Densley says

    Ah yes, Swish, now I understand – just had a listen to this fine Bragg song. Mondegreen is the word: ‘I’m more impressionable when my cement is wet.’

    Good one! We all have songs where this kind of thing happens!

    For example, I always used to think that in ‘Girls On The Avenue’ Richard Clapton sang ‘Don’t you play up / Don’t you play up / In love with the girls on the avenue’ and not ‘Don’t you slip / Don’t you slip’ / In love with the girls on the avenue.’

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