Hey! Student

Lyrics

(1)

When I'm walking down the street,
It's always you I seem to meet,
Long hair down and sneakers on your feet.
And write your letters to the Evening News (2)
I clench my fist and sing this tune:

I said Hey student, hey student, hey student,
You're gonna get it through the head,
I said Hey student, hey student, hey student,
You're gonna get it through the head, I said...

When walking to work,
It's always you I seem to meet
Henna in your hair, standing in the heat (3)
As you serve us [all about] a book kid
I clench my hand before I flip my lid.

CHORUS.

When walking down the street,
It's always you I seem to meet,
Long hair down and sneakers on your feet.
As you listen to Pearl Jam in your room. (4)
I'm thinking like that when I sing this song:

CHORUS.

I said I woka-to-ma, woka-to-ma
Woka-to-ma, wah wah wah 

When walking down the street,
It's always you I seem to meet,
Long hair down and sneakers on your feet.
As you stare in your room at Shaun Ryder's face (5)
Down long long long long days (6)

CHORUS.

I said I woka-to-ma, woka-to-ma
Woka-to-ma, wah wah wah

The dead brains of class A-D (7)
Born to live in Leigh-on-Sea (8)
Twin swastikas, court, swimming pool (9)
I'm thinking like this when I sing this tune:

CHORUS.

I said I woka-to-ma, woka-to-ma
Woka-to-ma, wah wah wah 


 

Notes

1. This is a rewrite of a 1977 Fall song called "Hey! Fascist," which had basically the same music and many of the same words. Mark E Smith on students (more specifically, here, "mature students"), from a 1993 NME piece:

"It's just the rate of their proliferation that scares me. Have you seen how many people have gone back to school now? Dead weird, innit? It just keeps the unemployment figures down and produces millions of half-educated old coots. I've got nothing against students as such, it's just when you get old mates using words like 'constructively' and 'comprehensively'... It's all a fiddle to make us think they've cracked unemployment, the stupid bastards. There's nothing worse than a half-educated man. Never forget that."

^

2. The London newspaper The Evening News folded in 1980; there is also a Manchester Evening News^

3. Henna, a reddish brown dye made from the plant of the same name, has been used as a hair dye for some 6,000 years. ^

4. Pearl Jam had number one albums in both 1993 and 1994. They were indeed a favorite on college campuses at this time. ^

5. Shaun Ryder, the lead singer for the Happy Mondays, is, like Mark E Smith, from Salford in Greater Manchester. ^

6. A variant of this phrase is a favorite of Smith's, as he often proclaims during the first song of a set, "We are the Fall, down the long, long, days..." ^

7. This is probably a reference to National Readership Survey demographic classifications (see also "Middle Class Revolt"). The categories are as follows:

Grade

Social class

Chief income earner's occupation

A

upper middle class

Higher managerial, administrative or professional

B

middle class

Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional

C1

lower middle class

Supervisory or clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional

C2

skilled working class

Skilled manual workers

D

working class

Semi and unskilled manual workers

E

Those at the lowest levels of subsistence

Casual or lowest grade workers, pensioners and others who depend on the welfare state for their income


^

8. Leigh-on-Sea is in Essex, in Southern England. ^

9. The swastikas and, incidentally, the swimming pools, are another leftover from "Hey! Fascist"; it is doubtful that the students MES is lambasting--or, for that matter, many of the class A-D folk mentioned here--would literally sport them, but there may be a metaphorical reason for leaving them in, or it could just be indiscriminate vitriol and/or laziness. ^

Comments (4)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 18/03/2013

"Evening News".

Do you not think this is more likely to be the Manchester Evening News, rather than the London Evening News?

bzfgt
  • 2. bzfgt | 02/04/2013

Crap, I didn't know there was one. I'll fix it soon...

Zack
  • 3. Zack (link) | 24/08/2013

'Originally titled “Hey Student,” [...] According to Baines, though, Smith changed the title to “Hey, Fascist” when “he realized that his audience was mainly students!” '

http://ripitupfootnotes.blogspot.com/2008/11/footnotes-11-chapter-10-just-step.html

Raging Ostler
  • 4. Raging Ostler | 27/01/2015

If you listen to the start of "English Scheme" from the tape of The Fall at the Electric Ballroom, April 1980, MES is busking the chorus from this one. Definitely "student" rather than "fascist".

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