Saturday, 25 February 2012

Happy Mondays - Step On

This is the Happy Mondays biggest hit in the UK (tied with Kinky Afro) and almost certainly the song that they're most remembered for. Amazingly, this song is actually a cover version. The original is titled "He's Gonna Step On You Again" (Which has been cited in the Guiness World Records as the first song to use a sample) and was released as a single by John Kongos in 1971. The Happy Mondays version also samples a short three note guitar sample from the original. Originally, the group were asked to cover a song for their American label Elektra, to celebrate the label's anniversary. A tape of Elektra songs were sent to the group, one of the tracks on the tape being Step On. Shaun wasn't keen on the idea of cover versions, but felt he could really customize the song to make it sound like an original Happy Mondays track. One of the song's trademark phrases "Your twisting my melon man, you talk so hip!" actually came from a documentary on Steve McQueen that Shaun was watching at the time. The other phrase, "Call the cops!" was something that a regular at the Hacienda nightclub shouted frequently.Once the track was complete, Shaun was so pleased with it that he decided it was too good to give to the compilation, and ended up recording another John Kongos track (Tokoloshe Man) instead. He felt that the song should be saved for their next album and that it could end up propelling them back into the charts. An incredibly smart move in my opinion, as that album (Pill's n Thrills and Bellyaches) became their most successful album and defined the Madchester era. Step On is a great song and was the track that got me interested in the Happy Mondays, whilst it may not be my favourite anymore, it is looked on as a classic and rightly so!

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