The Fall’s “Borrows” Part 3 (1999-2017)

Just before I get to the very final YMGTA album post, it seems appropriate to do a final round-up of the tunes that MES and The Fall ‘borrowed’ from in their last couple of decades.

I should point out that I spotted only a few of these myself: many thanks go to all the assorted contributors to The Annotated Fall and Reformation who did most of the hard work.

The last few relate to songs on New Facts Emerge which, obviously, I haven’t covered yet. However, it felt like it was more appropriate to do this little off-shoot before the post on the group’s final album. Apologies for any perceived chronological incoherence.


There was dispute regarding the songwriting behind Touch Sensitive, but it’s also hard to ignore that the basic riff owes more than a little to Iggy Pop’s Girls, from 1979’s New Values.

The churning, pensive riff from The Unutterable‘s Ketamine Sun is distinctly similar to that deployed by Lou Reed on Kill Your Sons, from his 1974 album Sally Can’t Dance.

Another Unutterable track, Hot Runes, seemed to have taken the riff from Cream’s Spoonful and sped it up considerably. The Cream song (from their 1966 debut album Fresh Cream) was in turn a cover of a Willie Dixon tune that was first recorded in 1960 by Howlin’ Wolf.

Crop-Dust, from 2001’s Are You Are Missing Winner, is one of the group’s most blatant ‘lifts’, on this occasion from The Troggs’ I Just Sing, a track from their 1966 debut album From Nowhere.

Another Are You Are Missing Winner track, Ibis-Afro Man, took its inspiration from Iggy Pop’s lyrically dubious African Man, another tune from 1979’s New Values.

Moving to a rather different sphere of influence, the famous Blindness bass riff is not a million miles away from that deployed by Roots Manuva on his 2001 single Witness (1 Hope). According to this 2013 Guardian interview, the rapper was himself inspired by the Dr Who theme tune.

Another slightly unlikely source, but Tami Lynn’s Northern Soul track has some distinct similarities to Fall Heads Roll opener Ride Away.

The United States of America were a late 60s psychedelic band from LA. Coming Down, from their sole, eponymous 1968 album, was clearly an influence on RPTLC‘s Scenario and – especially – Over! Over!

Scenario is also indebted to Captain Beefheart’s Veteran’s Day Poppy, from Trout Mask Replica.

The keyboard riff of another RPTLC track, The Wright Stuff, owes a debt to Don Fardon’s 1970 tribute to George Best, Belfast Boy. Fardon was best known for his 1968 hit, Indian Reservation.

Cowboy George, from 2010’s Your Future Our Clutter, combines elements from both Link Wray’s 1961 single Jack The Ripper and The Seeds’ Pushin’ Too Hard, from their eponymous 1966 debut album.

Another YOFC track, Bury, bears some resemblance to Now, We’re Gonna Sing by The Howling Hex from their 2005 album All-Night Fox.

Greenway, from Ersatz GB, is lifted pretty directly from Greek metal band Anorimol’s Gameboy.

Slightly more tenuous than many of the other ‘borrows’, but Laptop Dog‘s riff does bear some resemblance to the title track of Thin Lizzy’s 1976 album.

The most unlikely Fall ‘borrow’ of all, but the melody of The Remainderer really does sound like the chorus of the theme from Baywatch. Honestly.

Add fat men pushing prams = Stout Man.

The sequencers are very reminiscent of Dedication Not Medication. Paradox Obscur are a Greek duo, so they may possibly have come to Smith’s attention via Eleni.

Although O! Zztrrk Man‘s grinding riff may feel more Stooges-inspired, melodically it has a lot in common with Gary Numan’s M.E. from his 1979 album, The Pleasure Principle.

It feels a little unconvincing to me, but some people have pointed out a similarity between this and New Facts Emerge.

No denying this one, however: Fol de Rol‘s bludgeoning riff is clearly closely related to Rocket From The Crypt’s 1995 single. However, they had in turn lifted the riff from Zero The Hero, taken from the 1983 Black Sabbath album Born Again, the only one they recorded with Ian Gillan on vocals.

5 thoughts on “The Fall’s “Borrows” Part 3 (1999-2017)

  1. Might just be me but What about Us? sounds like theres a Jumping Jack Flash influence. Especially the Peel version before it got to the more straight ahead garage rock style on Fall Heads Roll. Even that connection with rabbits in the lyrics and ‘Jumping’ haha

    Liked by 1 person

  2. and the Sab’s “Zero the Hero” likely lifted its title from Gong’s classic “trilogy” LPs from the 70s, which featured Zero the Hero as protagonist.

    Liked by 1 person

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