Your Heart Out


Just take for instance
A time of great depression
Fade out of reason
That time's in season

Don't shut your heart out
Don't cry your eyes out
Don't shut your heart out

Don't cry for me, Mexico
Or Savage Pencil (1)
I'm nearly healthy

And they try to take my eyes out
Friends try to work my soul out
But I don't sing, I just shout
Heavy clout, heart out

Now here's a joke
To cheer you up:
Old times no surgeon
Just magicians and dungeons
There they take your heart out
With a sharp knife
It wasn't fake
They had no anesthetic.
That joke's pathetic. (2)

Just look at me
Too much speed
But very plain
You're lucky, friend.

You've got one to take out
You know what I'm talking about!
I don't sing I just shout
All on one note.
Sing, sing, sing, sing
Look at me, I just ding

Heart is out, out, it's out


1. The previous line is an allusion to "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, from the musical Evita; the song, as sung by Julie Covington, was a number one hit in the U.K. in 1977. Savage Pencil (Edwin Pouncey) is a comics artist who designed the sleeve of the Fall's "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul" single, and has done covers for other bands such as Sonic Youth, Big Black, Coil, and Current 93.  


2. The implication is that a bad joke has been told, but I'm unable to discover any joke at all in the preceding lines. According to Joe Mullaney, "I take the joke to be the fact that the title phrase `your heart out', previously used figuratively, is here meant literally." I guess there's a fine line between a bad joke and no joke at all, but I still don't really see it...


Comments (12)

Joe Mullaney
  • 1. Joe Mullaney | 23/02/2014
Re note 2: I take the joke to be the fact that the title phrase `your heart out', previously used figuratively, is here meant literally.
Joshua Ross
  • 2. Joshua Ross | 28/07/2014
"They had no anaesthetic. That joke's pathetic" may be a reference to the Monty Python Gumby Brain Specialist sketch, in which the patient is not given anaesthetic, wakes up, and is knocked out with the anaesthetic container ( I could imagine Smith hating Python fans - the constant quotations, smug middle class uni set, similar to the Peter Cook jibe in English scheme
  • 3. dannyno | 04/08/2014
A few minor lyrics missing here.


"Don't shut your heart out
Don't cry your eyes out"

there's another "Don't shut your heart out" after the "cry your eyes out"
  • 4. Martin | 23/06/2015
With reference to Joshua Ross's comment above (no.2) and with the knowledge that the lines "They had no anaesthetic. That joke's pathetic" didn't appear in early gig performances of the song, it might be worth finding out if any Monty Python shows (and particularly the one featuring the sketch mentioned) were shown on BBC in the second half of 1979.
  • 5. dannyno | 11/07/2015
I've been looking.

Some Python episodes were being shown earlier in the year, but not in the latter half. The autumn of 1979 was all about the controversy over Life of Brian.

But anyway, I don't buy the connection. The Python sketch is about brain surgery, not heart surgery. And they do, in the end, have anaesthetic.

I wonder if there's a Morecambe and Wise link - Eric Morecambe had heart surgery in 1979 and was out of action most of the year, other than the Christmas special. Any heart jokes in the Christmas special, I wonder.
  • 6. dannyno | 11/07/2015
The Shah of Iran ended up in exile in Mexico in 1979.
  • 7. Martin | 28/03/2016
With reference to Dannyno's note above (no.5) asking if there could be a Morecambe and Wise link:

Unfortunately, there seems to be no youtube or other link to the actual show itself, but the IMDb website has the following to say:

"Tradition was continued, with Eric's appearance in this 1979 Christmas special, though due to his heart problems early in 1979 it took the form of an interview session with David Frost. [...] Lots of jokes were made of Eric's ill health.

Eric Morecambe's bypass operation took place in June 1979 and involved open-heart surgery which lasted for seven hours.

From the Reformation! website:

In early live performances the following lines were absent:

"Now here's a joke/ to cheer you up:
Old times no surgeon/Just magicians and dungeons
There they take your heart out/with a sharp knife
It wasn't fake/They had no anesthetic.
That joke's pathetic."

"By December 1979, after the release of Dragnet, the lines had been included in the song, though it's impossible to tell exactly when they were introduced owing to low number of extant recordings from the era."

As the 1979 Morecambe and Wise show was broadcast on 25 December 1979 and the lyrics in question had already been incorporated into the song by then, it seems unlikely that the comic duo influenced Mark E Smith in any meaningful way. I'll listen again when I get time to the recordings of gigs I have of that era to determine this a little more clearly.
  • 8. Martin | 29/03/2016
Okay, so I've just listened to the recording of the song from the Marquee in London on 11 November 1979 and the "joke" is there in the lyrics, meaning that we can probably discount any Morecambe and Wise allusions, making my previous comment extremely unnecessary and redundant!
  • 9. bzfgt | 14/05/2016
That's a relief, I'm getting tired of updating this shit!
  • 10. dannyno | 15/10/2016
Well, it means we can discount the Christmas special. It doesn't mean we can completely discount Morecambe and Wise connections/comments.
  • 11. bzfgt | 21/10/2016
Joe Mullany's comment is how I always took the "joke," too. Not much of a joke, so if there is more to it it would be worth finding out. Interesting comment by Joshua Ross, although the lyric could as easily be an affectionate allusion to Python as a dig, it's just too much of a stretch already to both attribute it to Python and then interpret it on top of that.

Certainly we cannot discount the possibility that some celebrity or other's heart problems were on MES's mind but there is nothing to work with as yet.
  • 12. dannyno | 04/09/2017
In a letter to Tony Friel (Friel briefly published a selection of letters online several years ago) dated 7th December 1976, MES refers to "Your Heart Out" as "my latest song - the music is E minor to bar chord E -ish. It is very chart-orientated."

And some lyrics are printed.

Just take for instance
A time of great depression
No bells are ringing
Just start singing

Your heart out
YOUR heart out
Your heart out (higher)
Your heart out ('''''')

I knew a fellow
Who wrote a horror story
In which an evil Jake
With a knife would take,


When you're alone, without respect
Just sit back and then reflect
In olden times they had no surgeons
They'd just clamp you in a dungeon

then take CHORUS

It was the same with men of great position
9 out of ten they were magicians
And cast a spell, cast a spell
And not always fake-to take



repeat last verse
the end

MES says, "That song took me 3 minute to write."

Interesting to see here a technique MES uses a few times in lyrics - exploring the different meanings of a word or phrase in turn. See also "Pacifying Joint".

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