Hey! Student

Lyrics

(1)

Entirely fictuous...     (2)

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 (3)
I clench my fist and sing this tune    (4)

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 (5)
As you serve and stand all about, poor kid--
I clench the knife before I flip my lid

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 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. (6)
I pick up a knife and I sing this song

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...

I said walk some more! walk some more! walk some more! 
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 (7)
Down long long long long days (8)

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...

I said walk some more! walk some more! walk some more! 
Wah wah wah!

I said woka-to-ma! Woka-to-ma! Woka-to-ma! 
Wah wah wah!

The dead brains of class A-D (9)
Born to live in Leigh-on-Sea (10)
Twin swastikas, court, swimming pool (11)
I pound my fist and I 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...

I said Hey student, hey student, hey student,
Why don't you get it through your head?
I said Hey student, hey student, hey student,
You're gonna get it through the head, I said...

I said walk some more! walk some more! walk some more! 
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. But it was apparently "Hey! Student" before it was "Hey! Fascist" as well as after (from Dan):

From United They Fall, by Chris Brazier (Melody Maker 31 December 1977, p9): I'd mentioned to them that I'd heard they used to refuse all college gigs, and to sing "Oh Student!" [sic] instead of "Hey Fascist!" Una: "I didn't think we'd been going long enough to have a history" (it's only eight months since Una and drummer Karl Burns joined and the band's life began in earnest). Mark: "One of the reasons we changed that was that it's become very trendy to bash students. The sentiment's still there maybe, but the main reason we changed it to "Hey Fascist!" was that we thought it was more relevant." So what does the song say now? "It's an anti-fascist song," says Una, "what else is there to say?" She glared at me with a challenging glint in her eye, as she did till at least halfway through the interview, when we finally decided we liked each other. I was glad she didn't know that only a few months before I'd been one of the reviled student breed.

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."

According to Rip it Up and Start Again:

In a November 1981 NME piece, Smith declared, “”when the students got hold of rock’n’roll, that’s when it started going downhill”; in other pieces, he singled out The Soft Machine and the Canterbury scene as the sort of college gig circuit/student audience targeted progressive pre-punk fare he detested (overly “fancy music” in other words)...According to Baines, though, Smith changed the title to “Hey, Fascist” when “he realized that his audience was mainly students!”

^

2. I was convinced of this by Carl. It used to read "anti-victuous," as though he started to say "anti-intellectuals" and swerved at the last moment. The Peel version opens with something about "burning into semi-reality..."

^

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

^

4. Peel: "As you winge and groan in your little room/I feel a knife and I sing this song."

^

5. 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.

^

6. Pearl Jam had number one albums in both 1993 and 1994. They were indeed a favorite on college campuses at this time. Peel: "As you listen to Pearl Jam in your videodrome..."

Videodrome is a 1983 movie by David Cronenberg. From the plot summary at Wikipedia:

"Max Renn is the president of CIVIC-TV, a Toronto UHF television station specializing in sensationalistic programming. Displeased with his station's current lineup (which mostly consists of softcore pornography and gratuitous violence), Max is looking for something that will break through to a new audience. One morning, he is summoned to the clandestine office of Harlan, who operates CIVIC-TV's unauthorized satellite dish which can intercept broadcasts from as far away as Asia. Harlan shows Renn Videodrome, a plotless television show apparently being broadcast out of Malaysia which depicts the brutal torture and eventual murder of anonymous victims in a reddish-orange chamber. Believing this to be the future of television, Max orders Harlan to begin unlicensed use of the show."

-drome is a combining form that means "place for running or racing."

^

7. Shaun Ryder, the lead singer for the Happy Mondays, is, like Mark E Smith, from Salford in Greater Manchester. Peel: "As you masturbate with your Shaun Ryder phase..."

^

8. 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..."

^

9. 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

 

^

10. Leigh-on-Sea is in Essex, in Southern England.

^

11. 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 (20)

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".
dannyno
  • 5. dannyno | 04/02/2018
I'll put this in the Hey! Fascist comments too.

From United They Fall, by Chris Brazier, Melody Maker, 31 December 1977, p9


I'd mentioned to them that I'd heard they used to refuse all college gigs, and to sing "Oh Student!" instead of "Hey Fascist!" Una: "I didn't think we'd been going long enough to have a history," (it's only eight months since Una and drummer Karl Burns joined and the band's life began in earnest).

Mark: "One of the reasons we changed that was that it's become very trendy to bash students. The sentiment's still there maybe, but the main reason we changed it to "Hey Fascist!" was that we thought it was more relevant."

So what does the song say now? "It's an anti-fascist song," says Una, "what else is there to say?" She glared at me with a challenging glint in her eye, as she did till at least halfway through the interview, when we finally decided we liked each other. I was glad she didn't know that only a few months before I'd been one of the reviled student breed.
Robert Brokenmouth
  • 6. Robert Brokenmouth | 11/02/2018
There's definitely a few lines of 'why don't you get it through your head' in there...
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
As you serve us [all about] a book kid
I clench my hand before I flip my lid.

That is wrong, but it's right on the cusp of intelligibility--can someone with better ears than mine listen and try to crack it?
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
"I'm thinking like that when I sing this song"

NO!!! I've got it now--It's "I pick up a knife and I sing this song."

See? This can be done--can someone fix the other part?
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
And I think "woka-to-ma" is "walk some more!"
bzfgt
  • 10. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
As in "keep walking!"
bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
Yes Robert I found one of those, it's in there now.
bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
The Peel version is better in most every way but Hanley does that cool octave thing on the MCR version...
bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt (link) | 17/02/2018
On Peel I think it is "woka-to-ma" though
Hexen Blumenthal
  • 14. Hexen Blumenthal | 26/02/2018
It's Wok A Too Ma see "You Doo Right" by The Can.
Carl
  • 15. Carl | 06/03/2018
Pretty sure the words at the beginning are "Entirely fictuous".
dannyno
  • 16. dannyno | 09/03/2018
Some more "wok ta ma"s to be found in the version of English Scheme on the Live in London 1980/Legendary Chaos Tape.
Huckleberry
  • 17. Huckleberry | 18/03/2018
The vehemence of the lyric reminds me a bit of the Angelic Upstarts' "Student Power" (Teenage Warning, 1979), though I suppose the anti-student genre dates back to Elvis Presley's "Poison Ivy League".

It's probably a coincidence, but I think ex keyboard player Marcia Schofield entered Cambridge University (poky quaint streets) in 1992 as a mature student, reading medicine (see below - is that henna?).
http://www.lucy-cav.cam.ac.uk/alumnae/life-after-lucy/life-after-lucy-marcia-schofield/

Note 10 - Leigh-on-Sea is the home of the villainous capitalist Sheriff Fatman in the 1989 song by Carter USM - it fits in with the references to [tennis] court and swimming pool?
Raging Ostler
  • 18. Raging Ostler | 20/03/2018
Over three years after posting that comment up there, it finally dawns on me that MES actually busks this chorus - plus a bit of wok-a-to-ma - in practically every single version of "English Scheme" ever, including the one on Grotesque. Spent ages wondering what he was saying there, and the answer was under my nose.
Raging Ostler
  • 19. Raging Ostler | 20/03/2018
Also, I reckon it's:

As you listen to Pearl Jam in your room
I finger my knife and I sing this song

The two phrases sound almost identical in MES' voice, but "finger" is certainly what he's saying on the Peel version (you can hear the hiss of the "f" sound) so I'd assume it's the same on the record (that's not usually a safe assumption, true, but I'm pretty sure about this one).

And in the chant just before the verse about "class A-D", I think - I'm not certain - there's at least one "walk to work" in there, too, i.e. a callback to the earlier verse.
bzfgt
  • 20. bzfgt (link) | 31/03/2018
Yeah I put some "woka-to-ma" s back in, although on this version it mostly sounds like "walk some more." Not sure about the knife line, maybe "finger"

I think he does do a little "woka-to-ma" on English Scheme but the Grotesque version sounds more like there's "ooge, eek" going on, or whatever I said in the comments over there

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