Dead Beat Descendant



Here's a dance that is pure hell
Enter at your peril
Take five dead beat steps
Do a stroll
Act like you just got outta jail (1)
You must be repellant
Dance dead beat descendant (2)

Dead beat descendant

Come back here
Come back here

Turn left shout and shout come back here
Then hot-tail it right outta there
You are now descendant
You are a now descendant


Dead beat descendant

Make out your head is in a bell
And you got a man on your trail
And you are descendent, of a vicious criminal

Dead beat descendants

Dead beat descendants




1. The lyrics are in the style of the dance craze songs that were popular in the late 50s and early 60s, like "The Twist," "The Loco-Motion," "Mashed Potatoes," "The Stroll," etc. "The Aphid" is another example of MES writing in--and perhaps parodying--this style.  ^

2. The origin of this line was tracked down by damoncreed and reported on the Fall online forum:

"Received an email from [a friend] today as follows: 'The title of The Fall's Dead Beat Descendant is a Flintstones reference. From the "Long, Long, Long Weekend" episode (season 6). After Fred criticizes a novel about the future that Barney is reading, The Great Gazoo sends Fred, Barney, Betty, and Wilma into the 21st Century (Wilma and Betty will remember nothing when getting back). This happens during a four day weekend that Fred and Barney have off from work.'

So the future they go to is very Jetsons-like. Fred's company still exists and the owner looks just like Mr Slate. Fred asks some questions about the old company and it turns out the $4 Fred took as an advance has now ballooned to 23 million dollars owed. The George Slate the 8000th chases them out yelling, 'Come back here, you dead beat's descendent!' [Fred is pretending to be his own descendant]

Thus, Fall history was made."


Comments (11)

  • 1. heystudent | 27/03/2013
apparently this is a satire about madchester happy mondays type bands (dead beat descendants) which was the contemporary scene. 'head in a bell' could be the baggy haircut, the dance that is pure hell is the bez shuffle.

great resource this - good luck with it
  • 2. dannyno | 03/06/2015
No, I think it's at least a year early for satire of the baggy/Madchester scene. You'd look a couple of years later and songs like Idiot Joy Showland for that. MES wasn't talking about Happy Mondays/Stone Roses et al in interviews in 1988/1989. The song was recorded in early 1989, and it was the autumn of 1989 before those bands really kicked off, with attention building over the summer. Happy Mondays first NME front cover was December 1989. The "Never Mind the Pollocks" Stone Roses front cover was in November 1989.

More significantly, the song was originally written for the Kurious Oranj ballet (note - ballet is a form of dance) soundtrack, but omitted from the album. It dates to the spring of 1988, and appears for example on the I Am As Pure As Oranj live album, recorded at Kings Theatre, Edinburgh, 17 August 1988.
  • 3. dannyno | 03/06/2015
The Stone Roses had been going since 1983, but their iconic first album wasn't released until the spring of 1989, and it took a while for it to really take off.

The word "Madchester" itself wasn't coined until 1989.
Fit and Working Again
  • 4. Fit and Working Again | 15/05/2018
Minor difference for me in v2;
"turn left-side and shout..."

The Peel version has a varying between verses chant based on the words clang, ching, dong, clank, chink; perhaps a representation of the sound of having one's head in a bell or prison doors slamming - based on this I think the final two words of the song are not "dawn" but unfortunately "dong"

At a push, having a head in a bell could be a ref to the disease tinnitus (from tinnire ‘to ring, tinkle’)
  • 5. bzfgt (link) | 05/07/2018
Oh yeah interesting, that makes sense. Listening now.
  • 6. bzfgt (link) | 05/07/2018
Got it how I hear it now
  • 7. dannyno | 14/05/2020
The Long, Long, Long Weekend:

Full episode from Dailymotion

It's season 6, episode 17, first shown 21 January 1966:

Relevant clip:

(starts at about 20:58 if you're looking at the dailymotion video - it's a scene near the end of the episode)
  • 8. dannyno | 14/05/2020
Link to damoncreed's original post on the FOF dead in note 2.

New link:
  • 9. dannyno | 14/05/2020
Also noted on another site in 2006, I see I reported in that thread:
  • 10. joincey | 15/11/2020
i always took the clangs, gongs chinks and clinks to be onomatopoeic , the sound of the bells the protagonist's head is in, the chains he might be wearing if the 'vicious criminal' 'just got outta jail'.
Mark Oliver
  • 11. Mark Oliver | 23/09/2023
Mention of 'The Flintstones' reminds me- go to YouTube and put in 'The Flintstones: Wilma says 'bollocks''ll be glad you did...

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