Breaking the Rules



I was tryin' to break the rules
Life is a dream So it seems

Flash your picture in a magazine
Look who's passin' In a limousine Look who's a fallin' star

An ancient story An innocent fool He broke his mind tryin' to break the rules
I waste my time tryin' to b-b-b-b-break the rule

Build up the wall Knock it down again I don't wanna talk about it now

The central issue Overall limit I spend it in the town

I broke my mind Tryin' to break the rules
I broke my mind tryin' to break the rules

(?) Red red lips On a cappuccino dress Feasting on dead duck
Same old story Pay alimony We spent your share and give us ours

 I paid my life tryin' to break the rules

 I broke my life tryin' to break the rules


1. This began its life as a cover of, of all things, "Walk Like a Man," the 1963 #1 hit by the Four Seasons. This worked about as well as one would expect--the song was a half-baked mess with, at best, some novelty appeal, although probably a bit less of that than Divine's 1985 rendition has. The Fall kept at it, however, playing "Walk Like a Man" 23 times in 2003 and 2004. After resting the song for over a year, it reemerged in late 2005 on Fall Heads Roll with new lyrics and a different chorus; aside from these changes, it is still recognizably "Walk Like a Man." The lyrics, it turns out, are by Bec Walker, who was 17 at the time and recording in the same studio. 

"Breaking the Rules" as such was played live only once, the day after FHR was released, and then sent out to pasture. Nevertheless, it is a fine enough little number, and it probably deserved a few more airings before it went the way of all Fall flesh. Having said that, the band at the time, which is at times very capable on FHR, sounds a bit flatfooted on this one. On the album, the song is credited to "Walker," which is the only clue given as to its provenance. The lyrics to the Four Seasons original:

oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo (Wop wop wop wop) oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-ooWalk like a man
Oh how you tried To cut me down to size by telling dirty lies to my friends But my own father Said give her up, don't bother The world isn't coming to an end
He said walk like a man Talk like a man Walk like a man my son No woman's worth Crawling on the earth So walk like a man my son
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo (Wop wop wop wop) oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
Fine-eyed baby I don't mean maybe We're gonna get along somehow Soon you'll be crying On 'count of all you're lying Oh yeah, just look who's laughing now
I'm gonna walk like a man Fast as I can Walk like a man from you I'll tell the world Forget about it girl And walk like a man from you
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo (Wop wop wop wop) oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo (Wop wop wop wop) oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo (Wop wop wop wop) oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo


Comments (9)

  • 1. dannyno | 18/03/2013
"An ancient story An innocent fool"

Could this be anything to do with Parsifal?
  • 2. bzfgt | 02/04/2013
Maybe but the rube who lets success go to his head is a common trope. Also Parsifal wasn't much for breaking the rules, as I recall.
Diane Whitley
  • 3. Diane Whitley | 25/01/2018
Diane Whitley
  • 4. Diane Whitley | 25/01/2018
The song was actually written by my daughter who was composing under the name of Bec Walker at the time. She met The Fall at Lisa Stanfields studio in Rochdale where they were recording the album. She was on a work placement there. They were a song short for the album. She played them one of her songs "Breaking the Rules". MarkEMarr liked it and recorded it. He was good enough to credit her on the album -hence "Walker".
Diane Whitley
  • 5. Diane Whitley | 25/01/2018
Meant Mark E Smith of course. RIP
  • 6. dannyno | 26/01/2018
Re: Diane Whitley, comments #4 and #5, presumably this was mainly a lyrical contribution, since the music clearly has roots in Walk Like a Man? Or a mix of both? It would be interesting to hear the original in order to sort out what is what.

I always assumed the lyrics were Eleni's, to be honest, and that "Walker" referred to its musical origins in Walk Like a Man
The credit "Walker" is satisfying on two levels now - it still refers obliquely to Walk Like a Man while also being accurate as to composition!

Just wanted to note that Bec Walker commented as follows on her Twitter feed on 24 January, 3:40PM:

Oh shit, Mark E Smith died. They used to record in the studio in Rochdale where I did my work experience. When I was 17 they used the lyrics to one of my songs on an album track for Fall Heads Roll. Still haven’t claimed my royalties off it from PRS oops #RIPMES
  • 7. bzfgt (link) | 26/01/2018
Thank you for this, Diane Whitley, this will be edited and your daughter will be properly credited.
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 26/01/2018
Edited, if we get more information it will appear in the notes.
Mike Battman
  • 9. Mike Battman | 04/06/2020
The one live outing was at Central Station, Wrexham on 4/10/05

Add a comment