Towers Of London

(Partridge)

UK #\#i#/#Towers of London#\#/i#/# 7" single picture sleeve with outer bag and sticker

UK Towers of London 7" single picture sleeve with outer bag and sticker

Recordings
XTCfans interview with Andy Partridge
Art
Annotated Lyrics
Chords and Tablature
« Previous Contents Next »

Recordings

  1. Album version, 5'24.
    Released on Black Sea.
    Anvil sound created by tapping a fire extinguisher with a microphone stand.
    Andy: “I love Victorian engravings and those grimy scenes of Dickensian London, navvies building bridges and digging tunnels. It set me thinking, lots of people write about towns, cities, etc. But nobody seems concerned that someone actually had to sweat, bleed and occasionally die to construct them in the first place. We recorded a version of this prior to making ‘Black Sea’ that was much slower and very mournful, but the rest of the band urged me to do it again as they thought it too sad.”
  2. Single edit, 4'38.
    Released on 10 October 1980 as a single in the U.K.
    Reached No. 31 on the U.K. singles chart.
    Andy: “Supposed to be a bit Beatlesy. . .” Colin: “I think it was more akin to Ray Davies. . .” Andy: “Really? I always had ‘Rain’ in mind. . .”
  3. Promotional video, (using the single edit) 4'38.
    First broadcast date unknown.
    Released in 1982 on the Look Look video compilation.
  4. Live version, 5'23.
    Released on BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert.
    Also available on Transistor Blast.
    Andy: “A brisk, blacksmith approved stroll through ‘Towers of London’, architectural detail applied in liberal dollops on the end of a Gibson guitar by Sir Christopher Gregory. (I always wanted to burst into singing the Beatles' ‘Rain’ over the end of this number.) Somebody had knocked over Dave's ‘Les Paul’ and he hadn't time to rectify the charming (Ahem) ‘Youth Club’ tuning it had acquired.”
  5. Single version, rejected.
    Recorded at Polygram Studios, Stanhope Place, London, in June 1980.
    Produced and engineered by Steve Lillywhite.
    Mixed by XTC.
    Intended for release as a single, but rejected by Virgin.
    Released on 25 March 2002 on Coat of Many Cupboards in the U.K.
    Andy Partridge - Guitar, Keyboard and Vocals
    Colin Moulding - Bass and Vocals
    Dave Gregory - Guitar, Keyboards and Vocals
    Terry Chambers - Drums

    Andy: “This ode to the sad romance of London's Victoria era navvies was written largely (and appropriately) in the coal shed of 46 Kingshill Road, Swindon. I cleared the coal out, whitewashed it, and sat in my own dungeon, strumming. We started what was to become the Black Sea album in the old Polygram Studios, Stanhope Place, (which I think Paul Weller bought up a little later) and this was one of the first cuts. Virgin asked us to get this ready up front after picking it out as a potential single.

    “I can't think why we didn't use this version. It's a little slower than the later Townhouse recording. And it does have an acoustic guitar backbone, but to my ears now, this only gives it a more loping swing. Anyway, this take was shelved. The thin reedy chord swells you hear in the verses came courtesy of Steve Lillywhite's new toy, an Archer amp and speaker, about the size of a matchbox. Steve had just worked with Peter Gabriel whose keyboard player would use one to tune up his synths with, quietly, so as not to disturb the others in the band. Steve thought everything sounded fantastic through it, so he rushed down to Tandy's and bought one of his own.

    “When compiling this set, we found some banter between Terry Chambers and Steve Lillywhite at the start, claiming this too, was take one hundred and three, a running gag at the time. Check out the top of the Black Sea version.”

  6. 2017 stereo mix.
    Mixed and produced by Steven Wilson from the original multi-track tapes.
    Released on the reissue of Black Sea on 17 November 2017 in the U.K.
  7. 2017 5.1 mix.
    Mixed and produced by Steven Wilson from the original multi-track tapes.
    Released on the reissue of Black Sea on 17 November 2017 in the U.K.
  8. 2017 instrumental mix.
    Mixed and produced by Steven Wilson from the original multi-track tapes.
    Released on the reissue of Black Sea on 17 November 2017 in the U.K.
  9. Early version, 2017 stereo mix.
    Mixed and produced by Steven Wilson from the original multi-track tapes.
    Released on the reissue of Black Sea on 17 November 2017 in the U.K.
  10. Early version, 2017 5.1 mix.
    Mixed and produced by Steven Wilson from the original multi-track tapes.
    Released on the reissue of Black Sea on 17 November 2017 in the U.K.
  11. Early version, 2017 instrumental mix.
    Mixed and produced by Steven Wilson from the original multi-track tapes.
    Released on the reissue of Black Sea on 17 November 2017 in the U.K.
  12. Early version.
    Phonogram Studio recording.
    Mixed and produced by Steven Wilson from the original multi-track tapes.
    Released on the reissue of Black Sea on 17 November 2017 in the U.K.

[Thanks to R. Stevie Moore]


Art

UK #\#i#/#Towers of London#\#/i#/# 7" single picture sleeve with outer bag and sticker

UK Towers of London 7" single picture sleeve with outer bag and sticker

UK #\#i#/#Towers of London#\#/i#/# 7" single picture sleeve without outer bag

UK Towers of London 7" single picture sleeve without outer bag

#\#a href="http://www.majhost.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?i=3814590" target="churl"#/#Dutch #\#i#/#Towers of London#\#/i#/# 7" single picture sleeve#\#/a#/#

Dutch Towers of London 7" single picture sleeve

#\#a href="http://www.majhost.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?i=3814595" target="churl"#/#back cover of Dutch #\#i#/#Towers of London#\#/i#/# 7" single picture sleeve#\#/a#/#

back cover of Dutch Towers of London 7" single picture sleeve

back cover of the UK #\#i#/#Towers of London#\#/i#/# 7" single

back cover of the UK Towers of London 7" single

cover of #\#i#/#Towers of London#\#/i#/# single with and without bag

cover of Towers of London single with and without bag

the #\#i#/#Towers of London#\#/i#/# 7" vinyl

the Towers of London 7" vinyl

flipside of the #\#i#/#Towers of London#\#/i#/# 7" vinyl

flipside of the Towers of London 7" vinyl

#\#a href="video/TowerA.avi" target="churl"#/#Watch the gum chewing Andy vocalize the final take for “Towers of London” from #\#i#/#XTC at the Manor#\#/i#/#.#\#/a#/#

Watch the gum chewing Andy vocalize the final take for “Towers of London” from XTC at the Manor.

#\#a href="video/TowerT.avi" target="churl"#/#Terry Chambers lays down the drum track to “Towers of London” from the video #\#i#/#XTC at the Manor#\#/i#/#.#\#/a#/#

Terry Chambers lays down the drum track to “Towers of London” from the video XTC at the Manor.

#\#a href="http://youtu.be/JRNHbBg6HVc" target="churl"#/#promotional video for “Towers of London”#\#/a#/#

promotional video for “Towers of London”

 

Lyrics

Notes

Russell Shaddox: “Londinium is the Latin name for London, and thus (obviously) dates back to the days when the Roman Empire's presence was felt in that green and pleasant land.”

Richard Pedretti-Allen: “‘Never, never’ is typically an expression for buying things on credit. (Check out Richard Thompson's mid-80's release Daring Adventure.)”

Towers of London
when they had built you
did you watch over the men who fell
Towers of London
when they had built you
Victoria's gem found in somebody's hell

Pavements of gold leading to the underground
Grenadier Guardsmen walking pretty ladies around
fog is the sweat of the never never navvies who pound
spikes in the rails to their very own heaven

Bridges of muscles spanning so long and high
merchants from Stepney walking pretty ladies by
rain is the tears of the never never navvies who cry
for the bridge that doesn't go
in the direction of Dublin

And I've seen it in a painting
and I've seen it in engraving
and I've seen it in their faces
clear as children's chalk lines on the paving

Towers of London
la la Londinium.

© 1980 Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd.


Chords and Tablature

Guitar & Bass (UK)
May 2005

Generally Major: Colin Moulding Workshop
by Gareth Morgan

Ex. 5

MOULDING'S GEM
Partridge's commentary on industrial progress, Towers Of London (from Black Sea) sees Moulding's groove moving from a half-note feel (with two in the bar) to a quarter-note one (four in the bar) to mark the end of each four bars or the change of section: super-simple, yet super-effective. Our example is based on the melodic snippets Moulding injects, once more mixing scale and triad, tastefully clipping the note lengths but never treading on anyone else's toes. Phrasing control is the key here.

Ex. 6

THE DIRECTION OF DUBLIN
When Colin Moulding allows himself the rare luxury of playing a full note length, you just know there's a good reason. He often combines this approach with swooping legato slides, both ascending and descending in pitch, and highly derivative of phrasing innovations that McCartney first employed. This example echoes another snippet from Towers Of London — it's similar to the idea Moulding produces as the song breaks down before charging back to the chorus. You need to play this on one string to get the right vibe, and pay close attention to precisely timing your arrival at each note.


Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 14:47:33 -0500 (CDT)
From: Joseph T Kays <kaysjos (at) mail dot auburn dot edu>
Subject: guitar tab


hello, here is my transcription to towers of london.

INTRO                                        THEN F-G-F
E----------------------------------------     ----1-----3----1-----
B----------------------------------------     ----1-----3----1-----
G-----------5--------------5------4--0---     ----2-----4----2-----
D----------------------------------------     ----3-----5----3-----
A-------7'------7^----3/5------5---------     ----3-----5----3-----
E----------------------------------------     ----1-----3----1-----

LISTEN FOR THE CHORD CHANGES
THEN                                                  THEN C-G-C

E-----------------1----------------------------------|----------3--------
B-----------------1-------------------------------5--|-----5----3----5---
G-----------------2-------------------------------5--|-----5----4----5---
D-----------------3---------------3-----2--0------5--|-----5----5----5---
A-----1--0------------------0--1-----1--------3------|-----3----5----3---
E-----------3--1------1--3---------------------------|----------3--------

THEY PLAY THE C CHORD FOR A REALLY LONG TIME SOMETIMES I SUBSTITUTE
BETWEEN C AND C SUS

E---------------------------------
B---------------------------------
G---------------------------------
D-----2-------3------5------7-----
A-----3-------5------7------8-----
E---------------------------------
                     CHORDS F#m, Bm, F#m, Bm      fill #1
E-------------------                           -----------------------
B-14^--12--10-------                           -----------------------
G---------------11--                           -----------------------
D-------------------                           -----------------------
A-------------------                           -----------------------
E-------------------                           -------8--7--5--3------

CHORDS DURING SOLO G-A-G     FILL #2
E-----3----5-----3------     ----------------------------
B-----3----5-----3------     ----------------------------
G-----4----6-----4------     ----------------------------
D-----5----7-----5------     ----------------------------
A-----5----7-----5------     -----3---2------------------
E-----3----5-----3------     -------------5---3----------

SOLO
E----------17-------17----------------14--17-14--------------------
B---------------------------15-----17------------------------------
G------14-------14-----14------------------------------------------
D------------------------------------------------------------------
A-------------------------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------------------------

E-------------------------------------------------------------------
B-----------14------------------------------------------------------
G----------------------16-------14----16----13----14----11----------
D-----16---------16---------16--------------------------------------
A--------------------------------------------------------------------
E-------------------------------------------------------------------

E------------------------------------------------------------------
B---------15--------15----17-----------------17---------15---17----
G----/14-------14-----------------------/14-------14---------------

E------------------------------
B---17---15---14---12---11?----
G---0-----0----0----0----0-----

PLAY 3 TIMES
E----------------------3---3---|----5--------------------------------
B---------0----1---3---5---3---|----------3----1---2---5---10----14--
G---------0----0---4-----------|----5-----4----0---2---6----9----14--

FILL#3
D---10----9-----7----------------
A--------------------10----9----7
E--------------------------------

THAT IS BASICALLY THE WHOLE SONG PARTS REPEAT.  /--MEANS TO SLIDE
'--MEANS TO BEND UP    ^--MEANS TO BEND AND RELEASE  I WILL PUT PUNCH AND
JUDY UP IN A COUPLE DAYS.  ANY COMMENTS WOULD BE APPRECIATED.  JOE KAYS

Date: Tue, 19 Oct 93 10:39:25 EDT
From: glickman (at) figaro dot med dot harvard dot edu (Mark Glickman)
Subject: a few chords

Towers of London:  This was mostly prompted by XTC play-at-home.
When Dave plays the F chord during the chorus, I believe he's
not playing a straight F (as the tablature on the XTC
archives at net.bio.net suggests).  Instead, I think he is
playing:

   F F F F/G F F F/G  etc...
E--1-1-1-1---1-1-1----------
B--1-1-1-1---1-1-1----------
G--2-2-2-0---2-2-0----------  the G string opens every 4th beat...
D--3-3-3-3---3-3-3----------
A--3-3-3-3---3-3-3----------
E---------------------------

   T e o L   d     W
   o r f o   o     h   etc...
   w s   n   n     e
   -     -         n

Even more interesting is what I think happens during the verse
("Pavements of gold...").  Again, I don't think the chart is correct.
Watching Dave play on "Play-at-Home" leads me to believe that the
right way to play this is:

   C                           F/Bb
E--0-----------------------------X--
B--1-----------------------------6--
G--0-----------------------------5--
D--2-----------------------------7--
A--3-----------------------------8--
E--------------------------------7--

"Pavements of gold
leading to the under............ground"

The idea is to play a "C-chord form" at the 5th fret, but on the low
E string play a Bb instead of an A.  Also, it sounds better
if you don't play the A on the high E string, but it's not essential
if this doesn't get dampened.

Feedback is welcome!

           - Mark Glickman

Date: Wed, 12 May 93 20:43:45 PDT
From: Fred_M_Hamilton (at) cup dot portal dot com
Subject: Towers of London tablature

This is a semi-accurate, definitely incomplete transcription of
Towers of London.  It's more-or-less arranged for a solo guitar
and voice.  It's missing many of the neat fills, but the feel of
the song is mostly preserved.  It should be a good starting point
for anyone wishing to learn the song.  If anyone wants to add
to and/or correct it, feel free!  I just want to help get this XTC
tablature collection going.

Forgive me, Andy, Colin, Dave...

                             Towers of London

  The riff:  (play twice)
E-----------------------------------------------------------------
B------------1----------------------------------------------------
G---------------------------------5-----4---0---------------------
D----2->3-------3->2--0-------------------------------------------
A--------------------------3->5------5----------------------------
E-----------------------------------------------------------------
  bendup1/2   benddown    slideup

   T of L/When they had built you/Did you watch over the men who fell
   F                                                             G
E--1-------------------------------------------------------------3---
B--1-------------------------------------------------------------3---
G--2-------------------------------------------------------------4---
D--3-------------------------------------------------------------5---
A--3-------------------------------------------------------------5---
E--1-------------------------------------------------------------3---

   TofL/WTHBY/Victoria's gem found in some-bod-ies hell
   F                                                            F
E--1------------------------------------------------------------1---
B--1------------------------------------------------------------1---
G--2------------------------------------------------------------2---
D--3------------------------------------------------------------3---
A--3----------------------------------1----0--------------------3---
E--1-------------------------------------------3---1------------1---

                     Pavements of gold leading to the underground
                     Grenadier Guardsmen walking pretty ladies around
                     Fog is the sweat of the never never navies who pound
                   C                                       F      FFFFFFF
E------------------0---------------------------------------1------1111111--
B------------------1---------------------------------------1------1111111--
G------------------0---------------------------------------2------0200220--
D----------3---2-0-2---------------------------------------3------3333333--
A------0-1---1-----3---------------------------------------3------3333333--
E--1-3-----------------------------------------------------1------1111111--
                                                                 (What I do
                                                                on acoustic,
                                                                not really
                                                                part of song)

   Spikes  in  the rails   to their very own heaven
   G   G   G   G   G   G   G   G    C               C/D C/E C/F  G G
E--3---3---3---3---3---3---3---3----0---------------0---0---0--------3-3-
B--3---3---3---3---3---3---3---3----1---------------1---1---1--------3-3-
G--4---4---4---4---4---4---4---4----0---------------0---0---0--------4-4-
D--5---5---5---5---5---5---5---5----2---------------0---2---3--------5-5-
A--5---5---5---5---5---5---5---5----3---------------X---X---X--------5-5-
E--3---3---3---3---3---3---3---3----X---------------X---X---X--------3-3-

               I've seen it in a painting     I've seen it in engravings

               F#m               D            F#m               D
E--------------2-----------------2------------2-----------------2-------
B--------------2-----------------3------------2-----------------3-------
G--------------2-----------------2------------2-----------------2-------
D--0-----------4-----------------0------------4-----------------0-------
A----4-2-0-----4------------------------------4-------------------------
E----------2---2------------------------------2-------------------------

    And I've seen it in their faces clear as children's chalklines

   F#m                        D              Bm
E---2-------------------------2--------------2--------------------------
B---2-------------------------3--------------3--------------------------
G---2-------------------------2--------------4--------------------------
D---4-------------------------0--------------4--------------------------
A---4----------------------------------------2--------------------------
E---2-------------------------------------------------------------------

    On the pavement (Towers of London solo in G (up 1 step from top)
    C               G
E---0---------------3---
B---1---------------3---
G---0---------------4---
D---2---------------5---
A---3---------------5---
E-------------------3---

« Previous Contents Next »

Go back to XTC Reel by Real.

12 November 2017 / Feedback