Hilary

Lyrics

Hilary (1)
Where's the sixty quid you borrowed off me for the gas? 
I won't give you a kiss
Hilary
Hey Hilary

'New Faces' on Saturday at six (2)
Brought you back to me

Hilary

I'm sure it was you in the new Audi
Outside Sainsbury's  (3)

Hilary

Remember when you needed three caps of speed (4)
To get out of bed
And now you're on ecstasy

Hilary

With your daft African pop
And that wine you call bull's blood (5)

Hilary

I thank the lord that you still don't live next to me

Hilary

Notes

1. Reformation has the presumed skinny:

As for the identity of Hilary, general opinion seems to be that the lyrics refer to one of Tony Wilson's previous wives, Hilary Lorraine Moss, who directed the Shiftwork and Holidays video and is also namechecked on The Post Nearly Man and Pander Panda Panzer.

It seems odd that the subject of such a vitriolic song worked with the Fall after this song was released, but I suppose it's possible. 

As for the music, Martin Bramah must be quoted at length; make of it what you will:

As unhip as it was, the first piece of vinyl I remember was my dad’s copy of America’s attempt to write a Neil Young song, ‘A Horse With No Name.’ It was played a lot around the house.

Interestingly, it was a massive influence on Mark E Smith, the lead singer of my first real band, The Fall. You can hear its impact in the sprechstimme style of Mark’s voice. He doesn’t really sing or hold a melody. A lot of what he does comes out like that one long line—’in the desert you can remember your name, ‘cause they’re ain’t no one for to give you no pain,’ which barely has any melody. It’s perfect for the tone-deaf, I think that’s why it was a hit. I still hear America’s nearly tuneless ‘la la la la la la…’ in nearly every Fall song.

One day, Mark came to me with the lyrics for ‘Hilary’…’Hilary, where’s the sixty quid you borrowed off me?’ He asked me to turn what he was singing into music, so I gave it a bit more melody, but not too much.

I didn’t get writing credit for the tune, but that’s fair, because the whole thing is basically ripped off America!

^

2. New Faces was a talent show on British television.  

^

3. Sainsbury's is a British supermarket chain.

^

4. The blue lyrics book replaces this with "three cups of tea."

^

5. Egri Bikavér, which means "Bull's Blood of Eger," is a Hungarian wine. Wikipedia gives an interesting, but uncredited, account of the origin of the name:

According to legend, the name originates from the invasion of Suleiman the Magnificent around 1552.

"To motivate and support the small group of soldiers during the Siege of Eger castle they were served delicious food and a lot of red wine. Among the Turkish soldiers it was rumored that bull's blood was mixed into the red wine, as otherwise the strength and firm resistance of the town and castle of Eger could not be explained. Finally the enemy gave up."


There is also a Spanish wine called Sangre de Toro ("Bull's Blood"). The "bull" in the name is meant to refer to Bacchus, the god of wine, who was often depicted with bull's horns.

^

More Information

Comments (5)

Martin
  • 1. Martin | 26/01/2014
The lyrics for the song are included in Dave Luff's second Fall lyrics book but the line "three caps of speed" are replaced by "three cups of tea".
Mark
  • 2. Mark | 15/05/2014
It's six caps of speed in the Peel session version.
dannyno
  • 3. dannyno | 18/06/2015
"New Faces' on Saturday at six
Brought you back to me"

The thing is, in the revived series, which ran 1986-1988 (I take the revived series as being the one referred to, since the song was first performed in 1989), "New Faces" wasn't - strictly speaking - on at Saturday at 6pm. Well, alright, in 1988 it was on Saturdays but it began at 5:45pm, not 6pm. You could argue MES should be allowed to get away with that in a song lyric. The show was broadcast as follows:

1986: Fridays 7:30pm, September-December; Grand Final, Saturday 13 December 7:45pm
1987: Fridays 7:30pm, Sept-Nov; Grand Final, Saturday, 28 November 7:30pm
1988: Saturdays 5:45pm (normally, I found at least one beginning 10 minutes earlier), Sept-Nov; Grand Final, Saturday 3 December 7:50pm.
Martin
  • 4. Martin | 29/03/2016
Some of the lyrics in this song remind me of Zandra, with references to money (both females are accused of liking it too much) and drugs (speed in Hilary, dope in Zandra). Hilary was first played live in October 1989 and Zandra (never played live) was released in March 1990, so it's possible that Mark E Smith either conciously or unconsciously had similar themes in mind for the two songs.
Martin
  • 5. Martin | 15/04/2016
The Sainsbury's mentioned in the lyrics could be the one on Bury New Road in Prestwich, referred to (negatively) in this interview:

http://bobcast.podomatic.com/entry/2016-04-14T14_40_57-07_00

(Around 1' 36" in..."made a right mess of the town...")

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