The Psychedelic Furs

Sister Europe

Composed by Duncan Kilburn / John Ashton / Richard Butler / Roger Morris / Tim Butler / Vince Ely

Song Review by

"Sister Europe" was the Psychedelic Furs' traditional opening number throughout their early career -- displaced by "India" for their first album, it nevertheless became the group's second U.K. single, and remains a staple of their live show. The mysterious lyric was written by Richard Butler, after his girlfriend of the time moved to Italy. "Instead of saying 'my bird's gone to Italy and I miss her,' I tried to put over the feeling of being sad and low with images," he explained, a device which works perfectly. Against the band's slowly, darkly percolating rhythm, Butler's performance is a masterpiece of understatement, whispered intimacy rendered all the more effective by the instructions he was given by producer Steve Lillywhite: "he told me, 'go down the pub, have a couple of beers, and when you come back, I want you to sing like it's three in the morning, and you're talking on the telephone to someone.'" Further versions of "Sister Europe" appear on the Psychedelic Furs' BBC sessions collection and the 2001 Beautiful Chaos: Greatest Hits Live album. In addition, an extraordinary cover was recorded by one-time Furs saxophonist Gary Windo for his Deep Water solo album.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Psychedelic Furs 1980 Sony Music Distribution
All of This and Nothing 1988 Catalogue
Collection 1992 Phantom Import Distribution / Sony BMG 5:40
Should God Forget: A Retrospective 1997 Sony Music Distribution
Radio One Sessions 1999 Strange Fruit 5:10
Greatest Hits 2001 BMG / Sony Music
Beautiful Chaos: Greatest Hits Live 2001 Sony Music Distribution
Nick Rhodes and John Taylor Present Only After Dark 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Best of the Psychedelic Furs 2007 Sony Music Distribution 5:38
The Psychedelic Furs/Talk Talk Talk/Forever Now/Mirror Moves/Midnight to Midnight 2008 Legacy / Sony BMG 5:38
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 4:21
Playlist: The Best of the Psychedelic Furs 2011 Sony BMG
BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions 1977-1979: Movement 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution 5:08
Great British Albums 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 5:38
Heaven: The Best of the Psychedelic Furs Camden / Sony Music Distribution
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