Song of the Day, February 25: Chinese Bones by Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians

HitchcockGlobeBonesToday’s song is Chinese Bones by Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians. After over a decade of influential cult and underground success — both solo and leading the Soft Boys — Hitchcock landed a major label deal in 1988. Catching the growing wave of “college rock” he secured a deal with A&M. His first outing for the label was Globe of Frogs, recorded with his band, the Egyptians (largely composed of former Soft Boys).

It’s a lovely album which surrenders none of Hitchcock’s quirky charm for the sake of commercial success. Over the course of ten great songs, the band pursue a wide variety of themes which Hitchcock characterizes as “the stuff we all do between bouts of sex and death.” (Both of those subjects pop up as well, of course.)

Chinese Bones is set in three stanzas featuring Romeo, Juliet, and “an interesting dwarf” over a beautifully fragile melody. It features the wonderful observation “One thing Shakespeare never said was ‘You’ve got to be kidding.'” and wraps up with a lovely couplet about someone dear to the singer.

The line between us is so thin I might as well be you
And everywhere I’ve ever been I know you’re going to

Lovely, chiming, literate, and mysterious, it’s a perfect Robyn Hitchcock song and the highlight of an album that gained him new and much-deserved exposure. Enjoy this delightful song today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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