Wistful Korgis
February 4, 2018 12:48 AM   Subscribe

In 1980, Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime climbed the charts to become The Korgis only top 5 hit song.

Singer James Warren describes writing the song...

“It was a Sunday morning and I had a piano in the flat that I lived in at the time.... It only took 10 or 15 minutes. It was one of those magical moments where the song sort of writes itself.”

...though he goes on to add...

“...bear in mind that [an] awful lot of background work made that song come out. For years it had been a daily routine – I’d been forcing myself to write songs.... Every day I would try and come up with an idea for a song.”

Here are The Korgis performing Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime on Dutch TV's TopPop in the year of its release, and here they are performing it again 33 years later.

The song has also been covered by a wide range of artists, perhaps most notably by Beck on the 2004 movie soundtrack of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Warren comments:

“To be honest, I don’t think there is a cover version that captures it better than we did. I think the approach we used was the best approach for the song, personally. A couple of the dance ones I’ve grown to quite like and I do like the Beck one – it’s a completely different and dark rendering of the song, but it’s good.”

Here are some of the other cover versions of Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime:

The Dream Academy (1987)
Yazz (1991)
Brian Davis (1991)
N.R.G. (1992)
Baby D (1995)
Army of Lovers (1995)
The King's Singers ft. James Warren (1997)
Marc et Claude (2000)
Erasure (2003)
Zucchero and Vanessa Carlton ft. Haylie Ecker (2004)
Jaimie Vernon (2007)
Krezip (2008)
Laidback Luke (2008)
Fred Lafage (2009)
The Field (2009)
Sharon Corr (2010)
Gregorian (2010)
Minus 8 ft. Viràg (2010)
Sly Johnson (2011)
Robyn Loau (2015)
Unitopia (2012)
Ofei (2014)
Ours Samplus (2014)
KiKu ft. Blixa Bargeld (2015)
Paula Sánchez (2015)
Simon Fishburn (2015)
Sunshiners (2015)
Vilhelm Andersson (2016)
Tomer Biran & Anat Ben hemo (2016)
posted by fairmettle (22 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Okay, that's real weird. When I saw this post, I had my whole library on album-shuffle, but wasn't really paying any direct attention to it. But as it turns out, when I paused the music to click the first link, thinking it was something I'd never heard before, it was about a minute and a half after I'd finished subconsciously listening to The Field's cover, and I had this intense sense of familiarity - like it's a song from high school that was real popular and I myself also liked it, so I'd just heard it a million times and so had most everyone else my age. But then I quickly realized that this wasn't that at all and I was five when it came out, and I'd never heard The Korgi's before, and got kind of confused. Then I clicked through to [more inside], saw The Field link, thought "ooh, I like The Field. I wonder if I've heard this version!" and clicked on it. THEN I realized what was going on.
posted by aubilenon at 1:58 AM on February 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the above the line description of this song didn't trigger anything for me either, never having heard of the Korgis afaik nor did the title mean anything, but the moment those first notes sounded I knew exactly what song it was.

Currently wracking my brain to think of which Dutch commercial used this song for what seemed like decades, Heineken? Some other beer?

It's a great song, one of those that sticks in your head after just hearing it once.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:40 AM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


The way they leverage it in Sunshine is haunting in the best way.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 4:20 AM on February 4, 2018 [8 favorites]


To add to your collection: Springtime Carnivore (2017)
posted by BYiro at 5:17 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Whoa, apologies to The Korgis! I thought this was a Beck song.
posted by pjenks at 5:33 AM on February 4, 2018 [8 favorites]


This song has always been so perfect to me, it's one of those that feels like it was just plucked out of the air, carried in on a zephyr on a warm, still evening and crystallised mid-formation. I had no idea it had so many covers, but it makes sense - something so ephemeral in essence makes fertile ground for interpretation.
posted by freya_lamb at 6:05 AM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wow. That’s pretty close to a perfect pop song. So concise, but with emotional resonance that cuts deep.
posted by umbú at 6:08 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Thanks for putting together such a comprehensive list of covers. I really like the beck version, especially in the context of the movie.

Can you presift a little for us? What are some of the other standouts?
posted by umbú at 6:18 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Dream Academy version is real nice.

I forgot that Yaz (aka Yazoo) isn't the same as Yazz. So don't expect Allison Moyet when you click that Yazz link.
posted by jonathanhughes at 7:54 AM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


I never heard of the Korgis, and when I started watching the video I thought "oh look, a new hipster band thinks they've created something like 80s music but that sounds and looks way too modern." I really did not expect to find out it was really a band, song and video from the 80s.
posted by davejay at 8:16 AM on February 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


that chord sequence is reeeeeally similar to Coldplay's "The Scientist."

Hmm. Interesting.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 9:16 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yes, the Korgis' hit song hit the right note for 1980 me, and I bought the album, Dumb Waiters, only to discover that the group tended more toward a 'cynical pop' style, and yet, I really liked it, and was disappointed they never had a follow-up hit. Fortunately, if you crawl past YouTube's hundred uploads of "Everybody's", you can find the rest of the album:
"Silent Running"*
"Love Ain't Too Far Away"
"Perfect Hostess"
"Drawn and Quartered"
"Intimate"
"It's No Good Unless You Love Me"
"Dumb Waiters" (don't even see you, see you waste away)
"If It's Alright With You Baby" (closest in style to "Everybody's")
"Rover's Return" (instrumental, with dogs' barks at 2:30!!!)
and the b-side of the "Everybody's" single: "Dirty Postcards"

*I was especially impressed that the first song had the same title as the obscure movie I've previously professed my love for, and this "Silent Running" also had a sci-fi theme, although a totally different storyline (The Mike & the Mechanics song of the same title was 5 years later... but it is a great title).
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:19 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


I read the post and thought this was more evidence that someone is rewriting the timeline in my simulation, and you can't just add pop hits from 1980 and think I'm not going to notice. All the cover versions is a little over the top. But the song is so familiar and nondescript that it starts to seem more plausible.

I forgot that Yaz (aka Yazoo) isn't the same as Yazz. So don't expect Allison Moyet when you click that Yazz link.

Too late. Another mistake, there was no Yazz with 2 z's.


I never heard of the Korgis, and when I started watching the video I thought "oh look, a new hipster band thinks they've created something like 80s music but that sounds and looks way too modern." I really did not expect to find out it was really a band, song and video from the 80s.


Yes, this is where they've blown it. The video is way too on the nose. That bass, come on. And the video is in way too good of condition.
Not buying it.
posted by bongo_x at 11:46 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Around 2:20, there's a guy wearing a sportscoat with rolled-up sleeves sitting on neon-bordered scaffolding playing electric violin silhouetted against a moon-sized lamp while black cats scurry around him.

No, this video is from the 80s.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:28 PM on February 4, 2018 [6 favorites]


OH! THAT song is from THEM, you say?
posted by Samizdata at 1:07 PM on February 4, 2018


My take was they were just backlit cats, and the one sitting on his leg was a siamese.
posted by aubilenon at 2:49 PM on February 4, 2018


If it was wrong to play all the cover versions simultaneously, I don't want to be right.

I think my overheating laptop would rather be right
posted by moonmilk at 4:06 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


The electric violin is pretty convincing, it's not part of modern 80's lore, but was a huge part of the early 80's.
posted by bongo_x at 7:16 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh, all those covers!
posted by Going To Maine at 8:05 PM on February 4, 2018


Whoa, apologies to The Korgis! I thought this was a Beck song.

Not only did I think this was a Beck song, I would have sworn there was an Aimee Mann cover of it on the Magnolia soundtrack, which I now see came out (1999) before the Beck song (2004). As far as the internet can tell, Aimee Mann has never covered this song, either in normal earth educated-stupid time, or in 4-simultaneous Timecube chronology. What a kick in the head this post has been.
posted by penduluum at 9:55 AM on February 5, 2018


I think you're thinking of Wise Up.

I seem to associate this song with the Noel Edmonds programme on Radio 1 around 1980. He had a soft spot for mellow AOR, and there were also a lot of things like Sad Café and Judie Tzuke. And it was the place I heard Don't Stop Believin' by Journey (mostly what I remember of that song is the bit where the guitar comes in and goes faster and faster).

Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime has this drowsy, five A.M. feeling to it, though. It's such a strange-sounding record. Around 1978-1980 lots of now-forgotten curiosities turned up on the radio, many of which weren't hits and are now lost.

I don't know why I listened to Noel Edmonds on Sunday morning, any more than I know why I didn't turn it off when Jimmy Savile came on. Quite apart from anything else we now know about Jimmy Savile, that was a terrifyingly horrible radio programme, though pedantically informative about the top ten of the 1960s.
posted by Grangousier at 11:34 AM on February 5, 2018


Paraphrasing, to draw a tighter line between the first two quotes in the OP from the link to Songwriting Magazine:

"I sat down one morning at the piano and like magic the song wrote itself in 10 minutes - - but oh by the way, this was the 1000th morning in a row that I sat myself down at the piano and wrote another new song."

Magic = experience gained by extensive disciplined practice.
posted by fairmettle at 2:30 AM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


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