Streets of Your Town

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"Streets of Your Town"
Streets of your Town.jpg
The cover present on the Australian release
Single by The Go-Betweens
from the album 16 Lovers Lane
A-side"Streets of Your Town"
B-side"Wait Until June"
ReleasedJuly, 1988
Format7" vinyl
LabelBeggars Banquet
Songwriter(s)Grant McLennan
Producer(s)Mark Wallis
The Go-Betweens singles chronology
"Bye Bye Pride"
"Streets of Your Town"
"Was There Anything I Could Do?"

"Streets Of Your Town" is a song by Australian indie group The Go-Betweens, a single from their 1988 album, 16 Lovers Lane. Featuring polished production, a prominent backing vocal by Amanda Brown and a guitar solo by bassist John Willsteed, "Streets of Your Town" is one of the band's most recognised songs and is arguably the closest the group had to a mainstream hit, it was released in July 1988 in the UK on Beggars Banquet, where it reached #80 on the singles charts[3] and in Australia in August 1988 on Mushroom,[4] where it reached #68.[5] In New Zealand, the song was issued in November 1988, and was a top 40 hit, peaking at #30[6]–the band's highest-ever placing on any national chart.

The single was re-released in the UK in 1989, in an attempt by Beggars Banquet to encourage the band's commercial momentum. However, it only peaked at No. 82.[3]

Composition and recording[edit]

Written by Grant McLennan, the sunny, upbeat music is contrasted with darker lyrics: "Don't the sun look good today but the rain is on its way, watch the butcher shine his knives, and this town is full of battered wives". McLennan said of writing the song, "I was listening to 'Under the Milky Way' and I was just working it out–cause I'm a big fan of The Church. And that afternoon I came up with a chord progression and a chorus."[7] The song was written in McLennan and Amanda Brown's apartment in Bondi. Brown said, "It was written in, I would say, 10 minutes. I was singing along and I sung that "shine" line, which is like the call and response answer in the verses. And I don’t collect any songwriting royalties for that song, because that was a condition of my joining the band."[8]

Mclennan had not played the song to Forster before entering the studio. "It remains an odd fact - the one Go-Betweens song Grant and I never played before recording," Forster wrote.[9] Lindy Morrison said, "We were in a park in Glebe when Amanda and Grant played the song to us for the first time, and I guess I was hearing it through Robert’s reaction, because Robert was so shocked. So I was feeling his pain, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t see how magnificent that song was."[8]

John Willsteed played the "gorgeous Spanish-inflected acoustic guitar solo"[10] on a nylon-stringed classical guitar that belonged to Brown. The band were unable to replicate it live where Willsteed played bass. Forster noted, "It was much more of a studio construction, and maybe the best version of it ever is on the album."[8]

Forster later said, "This was obviously the most commercial thing we'd ever done, and it came out around October '88, which caught the summer here, it was re-released in summer and it sat fantastically on Australian summer radio and then it sat well on English summer radio. We were walking around Soho and we'd hear it on the radio, every jean shop and café, it was on Radio 1 and so we were hearing it as we were walking around."[11]


a shot from the Kriv Stenders video, showing the Brisbane City Hall in front of blue sky

There were two video clips filmed to promote the song. One, directed by Paul Goldman and filmed in black-and-white which is included on the CD remaster, featuring footage of the band performing the song and the town of Rainbow, Victoria and the Melbourne suburb of Yarraville, Victoria, the other, more often played videoclip, directed by Kriv Stenders, mixes evocative city images of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The Guardian describes it as, "slabs of bright blue sky behind terrace houses, telephone lines, clock towers, apartment blocks and train stations. There are glimpses of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, overhead tram lines in Melbourne and buildings in central Brisbane. And lots of sun glittering on water."[12]

Other versions[edit]

Lines from the song were included by U2 when they played "Elevation" and "With or Without You" on the opening of the Pacific leg of their Vertigo World Tour in Brisbane, in dedication to McLennan. The song was also played after the band's second encore,[13][14] the song was covered by Ivy, appearing on their 2003 album, Guestroom. The opening guitar chords from the song are sampled on "Just the Way You Are" by Italian dance production group Milky, the song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Airplay chart in October, 2003.[15]

This song was used as the theme song for Prime Television in Australia in 2001-2002[16] and for television advertisements for The Courier Mail in 2006/2007, though in both cases the song was edited so that the darker lyrics were omitted. The song was also featured in the 2008 Australian/British AFI award-winning drama-based feature film The Black Balloon.[17] A cover version of the song by Dave McCormack featured in the soundtrack to the film All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane (2007).

Track listing[edit]

Original 7" Vinyl release[edit]

  1. "Streets of Your Town" - 3:34
  2. "Wait Until June" - 3:05

Original 12" Vinyl release[edit]

  1. "Streets of Your Town" - 3:34
  2. "Quiet Heart" - 5:20
  3. "Bow Down" - 3:45
  4. "The House that Jack Kerouac Built" - 4:46

Original CD single release[edit]

  1. "Streets of Your Town" - 3:34
  2. "Spring Rain" - 3:06
  3. "Right Here" - 3:53
  4. "Wait Until June" - 3:05


Chart (1988) Peak
Australian Singles Chart[5] 68
New Zealand Singles Chart[6] 30
UK Singles Chart[3] 80
Chart (1989) Peak
UK Singles Chart[3] 82

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom July 1988 Beggars Banquet 7" vinyl BEG 218
12" vinyl BEG 218T
CD single BEG 218CD
May 1989 7" vinyl BEG 232
12" vinyl BEG 232T
CD single BEG 232CD
Australia 29 August 1988[4] Mushroom 7" vinyl K607
Spain 1988 Victoria 12" vinyl VIC 349
Germany 1988 Rebel CD single SPV 55-3017
United States 1989 Capitol 12" vinyl SPRO-79547


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ a b c d "Official Charts > Go Betweens". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Australian Music Report No 735 – 29 August 1988 > Singles: New Releases". (original document published by Australian Music Report). Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  5. ^ a b Scott, Gavin. "30 Years Ago This Week: October 16, 1988". Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b " > The Go-Betweens in New Zealand Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  7. ^ John O'Donnell, Toby Creswell & Craig Mathieson (2010). The 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Victoria: Hardie Grant Books. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9.
  8. ^ a b c Andrew Stafford. "'It's a widely misunderstood song': how the Go-Betweens made Streets of Your Town". The Guardian.
  9. ^ Robert Forster (2016). Grant & I. Penguin. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-6700782-2-6.
  10. ^ Andrew Stafford. "The Go-Betweens: Right Here doco shows old wounds remain close to the surface". Sydney Morning Herald.
  11. ^ Jody Macgregor (4 September 2012). "The Go-Betweens Pt. 2: 'Lennon/McCartney Could Have Written That'". Mess + Noise. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  12. ^ Barry Divola. "Australian anthems: the Go-Betweens – Streets of Your Town". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Mengel, Noel (8 November 2009). "Unashamedly touched by U2". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  14. ^ "U2 get world tour underway again in Brisbane". NME. 8 November 2006. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  15. ^ Billboard Bits: Jack Black, Dub Narcotic, Milky
  16. ^ "Prime Television". Australian TV History. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  17. ^ "The Black Balloon soundtrack". IMDb. Retrieved 21 January 2010.

External links[edit]