Under Cover: Robyn Hitchcock Is Haunted by the Psychedelic Furs’ ‘Ghost’
Both Robyn Hitchcock and the Psychedelic Furs go way back. In the late ’70s, Hitchcock was with the late, great Soft Boys while, around the same time, the Furs were getting their own train rolling. Though both artists have glanced back at the past, their views were from different angles. Now, on his new album, ‘The Man Upstairs,’ Hitchcock glances back at the Psychedelic Furs with a sincere reading of their 1984 classic ‘The Ghost In You.’
Originally released on the band’s fourth album, ‘Mirror Moves,’ ‘The Ghost In You’ was a college and alternative radio hit. The single charted in both America and the U.K., and though never a huge hit, it became one of their better known songs. It helped push the album just shy of the Top 40 and continued to raise the band’s profile. Though they began life in a much harsher light, by 1984, the Furs’ sound had become all glossed up in ’80s production. At the time, that move to a slicker sound probably helped them make their way onto MTV and such, but the years have shown the cracks of that dated, slick production.
Hitchcock, on the other hand, takes the song and strips it down to its core to show off what a great song it truly is. A simple acoustic guitar, vocal and harmony vocals carry the bulk of the weight here. Some strings adorn the arrangement to fine effect, but it’s the voice and guitar that sell the thing. Hitchcock has actually been covering the song in concert for several years and decided to include it on his forthcoming album, ‘The Man Upstairs,’ which features new Hitchcock songs alongside covers of some of his favorite artists including Roxy Music, the Doors and Grant-Lee Phillips.
The album was produced by the legendary Joe Boyd (Nick Drake, Fairport Convention) which was a personal thrill for Hitchcock. “I’ve always wanted to make a folk record produced by Joe Boyd,” he said in a press release for the album. “And now I have: thank you, universe!”
‘The Man Upstairs’ will be released via Yep Roc on August 26th.