Yeah, yeah. When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me and, for reasons best explained here, I seek Tracey Ullman’s version of “They Don’t Know,” on YouTube. You know, the one with the Paul McCartney cameo.
While I’m there, I usually chase down a few other versions, of which there seem an endless supply. Even with my recent discovery of Susanna Hoffs taking a lovely crack at it in her “it’s always 1965” voice, I know the song will forever belong to Ullman, or anyway to her and writer/originator Kirsty MacColl, who sang the backing track and got off that glorious “bay-bee” in the bridge.
But this time around, I found a muddy, live version by Kim Wilde, done at a tribute for MacColl, who was killed in a boating accident in 2000, when she was 41. I’m guessing Tracey had a commitment elsewhere she couldn’t break (she and MacColl were reportedly great friends), but even she couldn’t have done better that night. The sound is a shame, but if you stick with it, you’ll get a smile in these times of trouble. Maybe along about the time the audience gets off a “bay-bee” to match Kirsty’s ghost.