Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Church - Under the Milky Way

A lush, haunting song, "Under the Milky Way" almost did not make it on to The Church's 1988 album, Starfish.  When bassist/singer Steve Kilby first played the song to the band, they were unenthusiastic, although the drummer and manager liked it enough to push for its inclusion on the LP.  The band eventually came around enough to release it as a single, and it went on to become a huge hit.  In fact, The Church are a classic one hit wonder in the U.S. -- one hit single (in the top 40) and no other charting songs.

While "Under the Milky Way" was ostensibly written about Kilby's then-girlfriend, Karin Jansson, it was really about nothing, according to Kilby.  He wasn't terribly bothered about the lyrics, instead working on the song to create an atmosphere, which he did exceedingly well.  The 12-string acoustic guitar (which starts the song) and the Ebow solo (providing a strange, bagpipe-esque sound) all combine to make this an unusual, and interesting song.

The Church remained successful through the mid-1990's in their native Australia, and continue performing to this day.  "Under the Milky Way" would go on the be voted the best Australian song of the past 20 years (in 2008) by The Australian newspaper.

Cool trivia fact:  The song's title comes from the English translation of the Amsterdam music hall called the Melkweg, which is still around.

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