Smithereens – Behind The Wall Of Sleep …. Power Pop Friday

This song has a Rolling Stones connection in the lyrics. I love the first line “She had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965.” Shrimpton dated Mick Jagger before he was with Marianne Faithful. The second reference is an odd one to Bill Wyman, the Stones’ bass player.

The song was on their debut album  Especially for You released in 1986. They had released a couple of EP’s before this album. Pat DiNizo wrote the song and was influenced by the title of the H.P. Lovecraft short story, “Beyond the Wall of Sleep.” The song was about Kim Ernst. She was the bass player of The Bristols.

Pat DiNizo: “We’d done a gig with The Bristols, four fabulous women who looked, sounded and dressed like Roger McGuinn’s The Byrds, Kim had black hair, really long: ‘She [had hair like] like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965, she had legs that never ended, I was halfway paralyzed. She was tall and cool and pretty, and she dressed as black as coal. If she asked me to I’d murder, I would gladly lose my soul.’ Our first two hits were ‘Blood And Roses,’ about suicide, and this one, ‘If you’d ask me to I’d murder’—very dark material [laughs].”

In 1985 they recorded the album at The Record Plant, the famous recording studio that hosted John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen among others. They had to save up gig money to record.

Drummer Dennis Diken: “Those sessions actually almost didn’t happen, we had recorded Beauty and Sadness in Studio B. That was the room where Springsteen recorded The River, and a lot of other big stuff was done there. Studio A was also famous for historic sessions; John Lennon worked there. But we were the low guys on the totem pole, so we got a call on the afternoon of Good Friday 1985—when we were supposed to go in that night—saying, ‘Sorry, but we have a more important session booked in B now. We’re going to have to kick you upstairs to C,’ which was a much smaller room.

“We got on the phone with each other and said, ‘Hey, this ain’t too cool. Maybe we should wait until larger rooms become available again,’ but in the end, reluctantly, we went for it.”

The album peaked at #51 in the Billboard Album Charts. The song peaked at #23 in the Mainstream Rock Play charts.

Behind The Wall Of Sleep

She had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965
She had legs that never ended
I was halfway paralyzed
She was tall and cool and pretty and she dressed as black as coal
If she asked me to I’d murder, I would gladly lose my soul

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Well she held a bass guitar and she was playing in a band
And she stood just like Bill Wyman
Now I am her biggest fan
Now I know I’m one of many who would like to be your friend
And I’ve got to find a way to let you know I’m not like them

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Got your number from a friend of mine who lives in your hometown
Called you up to have a drink
Your roommate said you weren’t around
Now I know I’m one of many who would like to be your friend
And I’ve just got to find a way to let you know I’m not like them

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

36 thoughts on “Smithereens – Behind The Wall Of Sleep …. Power Pop Friday”

  1. Great song! A fave of mine, their first 2 albums were among the best of the 80s. Never knew there was a real or ‘known’ Jeannie Shrimpton though…that’s a cool backstory.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. She was, all too obviously lazily and easily nicknamed ‘the Shrimp.’ And she was part of that trendy 60s swingin’ 60’s Brit scene for a while. There is a lot of backstory learnings coming along in these posts of late, including your Turntable talk Dave.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was my introduction to the Smithereens as this tune got them video play on MuchMusic. Good track and it still stands the test of time today. Drummer reminds me as if Bun E Carlos had a brother lol same kind of vibe

    Like

  3. Don’t (didn’t ) know much about The Smithereens – even though I have a 12″ single ‘Blue Period’ that they diid with Belinda Carlisle. From the video posted, am I right in thinking they sound a bit like Australian band get Men at Work …. or someone like that? Just can’t put my finger on it. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL…
        Hey what is your favorite Stones album? I wrote a post last Saturday with you in mind. My top ten favorite Stones albums…so which one is yours?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Favourite Stones album? Sorry – must have missed that one … been swapping in and out of all my blogs and trying to keep up! 😉
      Difficult to say … I think I probably go back to Exile on Main Street more than any other. Yeah. Exile it is. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes they were.
      Just this morning I passed your suggestion down … I recommended the movie
      Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia after they reviewed I Walk The Line from 1970.

      Like

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