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RETRO: SUEDE ‘STAY TOGETHER’

By 14 February 2022February 19th, 2022No Comments

Dickie Felton

It was a stand-alone single sandwiched between two classic albums.

Suede’s ‘Stay Together’ was released on Valentines Day 1994.

The title and date are pretty ironic given songwriting partners Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler would soon split.

It’s a love song. But of strained relations among the steel and grime of the skyscrapers:

“Come to my house tonight
“We can be together in the nuclear sky
“And we will dance in the poison rain
“And we can stay a while in Heaven today
“Let’s stay together…”

Musically it has an epic feel. Like the steel girders of The Titanic crushing as the liner plunges below the surface.

Aged 21 I bought the CD at my local music shop on day of release.

I managed to pick up the limited edition 12 inch vinyl gatefold a few months later – for just 99p.

The single would peak at number three in the UK singles chart – behind D:REAM ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ with Maria Carey’s ‘Without You’ in top spot.

The song runs to almost nine minutes on the 12 inch vinyl with a four minute radio version on the 7 inch.

I can’t say that I love ‘Stay Together’. In a sense it feels like The Smiths’ ‘How Soon Is Now’…

Both songs are seen as key songs from both band’s back catalogues yet are not representative of their sound at all. They kind of stick out a bit.

‘How Soon Is Now’ like ‘Stay Together’ was originally a non-album track. And The Smiths originally had ‘How Soon Is Now’ just as a b-side.

I’ve listed to my nine minute version of ‘Stay Together’ five times tonight. I think I’ve finally started to appreciate its beauty rather than brilliance.

The real majesty in this record lies in it’s b-sides: ‘The Living Dead’ and ‘My Dark Star’.

A lot got made pre-release about Brett’s ‘rap’ on ‘Stay Together’ – it’s nothing of the sort. It’s just him gibbering on.

That said, the last few moments of the eight minute version are pretty special with the piano play-out and ghostly voices.

I’m not sure anyone quite knows what makes a record ‘limited edition’.

Suede pressed 10000 copies of ‘Stay Together’ on 12 inch. Clearly it’s not that limited. My number 4427.

You can expect to part with £25+ nowadays if you want one in mint condition.

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