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(Return To The Valley Of) Out Come The Freaks

by Mike Singleton - Mikeydred 13 days ago in pop culture · updated 7 days ago

This Was(Not Was) Record was the first song I heard on 6Music played by Phil Jupitus and It has Stayed with me Ever Since

This is the one you need to listen to , YouTuge changed the link to th elead piece

This was the first song I remember hearing on BBC Radio 6 / 6Music, spun by Phil Jupitus, It may have been at home when I worked at The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, but this song has stuck with me for close on twenty years.

The chances are you know nothing of the song “(Return To The Valley Of) Out Come The Freaks” by Was(Not Was) (David Weiss and Don Fagenson, who adopted the stage names David Was and Don Was). You may remember the singles "Walk the Dinosaur”, "Spy in the House of Love" and “Shake Your Head” but again that may be music from before you were born, “Out Come the Freaks” was also a single as well but bears little relation to the song we are talking about.

I have included the song so you can listen to it and let it take you on a journey through a New York world of sleaze and lowlives similar to the areas frequented by Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, Iggy and The Stooges, and others who wandered in these recesses.

The song is very slowed down and clocks in at almost nine minutes, but for me, it ends far, far too soon. The lead vocals are enunciated perfectly by Harry Bowens and this is full of stories in the song that lead from one to another without missing a beat.

If you didn't listen to the words you would think this was a sweet soul love song, when the fact is it is anything but.

This starts out with the sun going down and people hitting the bars and dives to just find some company.

We first meet Michael, a leather clad Vietnam Vet on his motorcycle who locks down everything inside, an unhopeful loner wandering the night looking for whatever he can find, perfectly described by Harry Bowen’s sweet tones.

Then we meet an unnamed girl worshipping hopelessly at a plastic altar. We don’t know what will happen to her, if anything. She may just spend her time kneeling and praying and hoping for salvation.

Next, we meet Freddie’s wife, not sure if she is still with Freddie. She has been evicted, the police have her car. She is involved in Turkish Bondage parties and has been disowned by her parents as a whore. We don’t know Freddie’s wife’s name, but she is definitely not in a good place.

Then we meet a creep called Eddie Harold who invites girls over, tapes their sex, then plays it to his friends with the excuse that “Girls Make Him Nervous”. The song asks quite rightly “Did He Really Hate Her?” probably not but the damage he does is disgusting.

Then we meet Suzanne, great to finally get a girl with a name. We find out she eats from the pan without burning her tongue and just wants a rich (old) guy who will sign her cheques, and really that is absolutely fine, but she hasn’t found one yet so is still stuck down among the freaks.

Finally, we meet Detroit Johnny and an Ecuadorian girl. He won’t wear a tie because it hurts his neck and she wants to talk about the moon but a part of her is lost for good. Detroit Johnny is sympathetic.

We finally hit the coda and playout which namechecks the songs “Strangers In The Night” (Frank Sinatra), “Papa's Got A Brand New Bag” (James Brown), “Shadow of Your Smile” (Andy Williams), and “Last Train To Clarksville” (The Monkees).

I really hope you listen to the song and let me know what you think. You can check out the full lyrics here on

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Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

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