[B39] ‘Dead Yankee Drawl’

Released on: Little Baby Nothing (Single #9) Columbia Records, 16 November 1992
Peak UK Chart Position: #29
Band Ranking: #35

The first of two original B-sides on the Little Baby Nothing single, ‘Dead Yankee Drawl’ and its counterpart [B40] ‘Never Want Again’ represent the death throes of the Generation Terrorists era; after the release of these songs Manics fans would hear no new material until June 1993.

This particular song is notable mainly for an incredibly dense set of lyrics. The central idea of the song is simple enough – like a number of songs from the period, it works to expose and attack what the band saw as the worst aspects of American culture (greed, insincerity, environmental destruction and historical short-sightedness, mainly). In terms of references, however, the track is a true milestone, referring to a large number of places, people, historical events and much else besides. The Manics had done this almost from their beginnings – and it would become a major trademark of theirs – but ‘Dead Yankee Drawl’ contains a sheer weight of references that would go unmatched until The Holy Bible was released in 1994.

The fact that B-sides from this period were produced by people other than Steve Brown (who produced the main album and did not have time to handle the B-sides) and consequently featured live drums is one of their main advantages. Like [A38c] ‘Suicide Is Painless’, this song has a particularly exhilarating drum performance from Moore which helps the song’s simple but enjoyably pounding composition along. Some have felt that ‘Dead Yankee Drawl’ is merely a trite showing of anti-Americanism and the verses are certainly a little awkward, but there is still much to recommend this muscular late GT-era track.

Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“turning one dollar into another and another”

Bill and Ted and Wayne’s World – Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) and Wayne’s World (1992), two American comedy films.

Vietnam – here referring to the Vietnam War (1955 – 75) in which France and later the US fought against communism in the South-East Asian country.

Hussein – Saddam Hussein, president of Iraq from 1979 to 2003. The line “Hussein in power” refers to his continued rule after the US-led invasion of Iraq in the first Gulf War (1990 – 91). He was subsequently deposed in the Iraq War (officially, 2003 – 2011).

Oscar – referring to Hollywood’s Academy Awards, commonly known as the Oscars.

Red Indian – old-fashioned term for the indigenous peoples of the Americas, particularly those displaced by the European settlement of the United States.

Greenwich Village – residential neighbourhood of New York City often referred to as “the Village”.

NORAID – Irish Northern Aid Committee, an Irish-American organisation accused of being an American front for the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

Six Counties – contentious term for the six counties that make up Northern Ireland (contentious because it can be interpreted as implying that NI should be part of the Republic of Ireland).

Redondo Beach – a city in Los Angeles County, California.

Disney – Walt Disney (1901 – 1966), American film producer, director, writer etc. known for founding the Walt Disney Company.

King, Rodney – Rodney King (1965 – 2012), American construction worker whose beating by Los Angeles Police Department officers and their subsequent acquittal sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

Tyson – Mike Tyson (1966 -), American heavyweight boxer and former world champion known for his 1992 rape conviction and violent outbursts.

Junior Kennedy – could refer to any one of the members of the famous family and political dynasty the Kennedys who had “Jr.” in their name.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s