Rowche Rumble



Rowche Rumble
Is valium
Rowche Rumble
That's rumble

Thousands of wives around the world
are given them by doctors, who think they're little girls
The doctors need prescriptions
The wives need their pill
So Rowche Rumble

Menopause wives are hard to handle
No culture or love, no gambles
The dull manage, especially smashed
on Rowche Rumble
Rowche Rumble

Physician, heal thyself

Our government's built on expense accounts
Once in, never out
A step to Rowche
Force feeding
What are the people around you taking?
Rowche Rumble

Now I've tried crazy things
Abusing my body to a quick end
But I'll never never never never do it again
I said I'll never never never never do it again (2)
Rowche Rumble

Physician, heal thyself.
Musician, heal thyself.
Hey mister, heal thyself.

Loads of people across the land
Do a prescribed death dance
While condemning speed and grass
They got an addiction like a hole in the ass
Rowche Rumble
Rowche Rumble

I send 70 pounds instead of 70 p to
pharmaceutical company Rowche AG
The lorry arrived the next day
Swiss gnomes dealing out potions
Kick your liver in
What is it the fear for?
[To decant the beer]
...the full use of your body isn't?

Rowche Rumble
Is valium
That's rumble


1. This song is quite explicitly about Valium (diazepam), in the model of the Stones' (less explicit) "Mother's Little Helper." Valium was produced by the pharmaceutical company Roche, which has presumably been altered here for legal reasons. According to Simon Ford in Hip Priest (thanks to Reformation):

"Rowche Rumble" refered back to Smith's shipping clerk days, when he did business with the Rowche Chemical Company. One day, due to a clerical error, Smith found himself with piles of barbiturates that he attempted to hide in stores across Manchester and in the bottom drawer of his desk at work.

 According to the Fall's press release: "This is a great dance number and combines a cheek-in-tongue putdown of a popular sweetie with the Fall's tribute to Racey. Dig it."

Many fans do; according to a poll, this is the most popular song on Early Years 77-79 among members of the Fall online forum.

Anita points out that the title may be an allusion to Link Wray's "Rumble."

Sumsiadad, on the other hand, says the riff is a "shambling homage to the Stooges' 'Shake Appeal,'" which is plausible enough; although this doesn't seem completely beyond possibility of coincidence, it is the same riff.


2. It seems clear that MES must be singing in character here.

Connell brings the goods: "I'll never never never do it again" is almost a quote of the line in "Transfusion" by Nervous Norvus, "I'll never never never speed again"  which of course MES & Ed Blaney covered many years later.

"Transfusion" is on Kenny Everett's "All-Time Worst Top 30", along with Steve Bent's "I'm Going to Spain" which the Fall covered for The Infotainment Scan (thanks to Dan).

I even left his emotion icon in. "Accurate!"



Comments (8)

  • 1. Mark | 21/05/2014
"Physician, heal thyself" possibly comes from Luke 4,_heal_thyself
  • 2. Mark | 21/05/2014
Is there a link between "Your Heart Out" and "Your liver in"?
  • 3. Connell | 30/06/2014
"I'll never never never do it again" is almost a quote of the line in "Transfusion" by Nervous Norvus, "I'll never never never speed again" which of course MES & Ed Blaney covered many years later.
  • 4. Anita | 08/09/2014
My guess is that Mark E. Smith knows Link Wray's very influential 1958 "Rumble" which was banned from radio play although it was an instrumental. A rumble was a gang street fight.
  • 5. Sumsiadad | 25/01/2016
I'm surprised no-one has pointed out that the main riff in this song is a sort of shambling homage to the Stooges' "Shake Appeal".
  • 6. bzfgt | 12/03/2016
Good call, Sumsi, it is the same riff.
  • 7. dannyno | 10/08/2016
Note: Nervous Norvus' "Transfusion" appeared on Kenny Everett's "All-Time Worst Top 30", along with Steve Bent's "I'm Going to Spain".
  • 8. dannyno | 12/08/2017
The similarity of the riff to The Stooges' Shake Appeal is also noted in Rob Waite's article "Notebooks Out", in the Fall fanzine, "The Biggest Library Yet", issue #18, January 2000, p.6.

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