366 Songs 161: Ebeneezer Goode

Now, here’s one everyone would rather forget.

“Ebeneezer Goode” was a ridiculously big hit in the UK in 1992, staying number one for four weeks despite the tabloid press managing to work themselves into an outraged lather over the drug references in the song; it’s quite clearly a song about ecstasy – The chorus, after all, goes “‘Eezer Goode/’Eezer Goode/He’s Ebeneezer Goode” the first part of which translates/is heard as “Es are good/Es are good” – but it’s not just a “Neck ’em and have a good time!” one, considering the “A gentleman of leisure, he’s there for your pleasure/But go easy on old ‘Eezer, he’s the love you could lose/Extraordinary fella, like Mister Punchinella/He’s the kind of geezer who must never be abused” verse. That turnaround may get lost in the horrific dayglo singalong of the rest of the song, though; this is very proudly from the period where “rave crossover” meant “8-bit meets Casio meets childish” (Anyone else remember “Charley”? Aieee).

Listening to this for the first time in decades – It’s twenty years old, and I don’t think I’ve heard it in at least fifteen years – what jumps out is how close this is to Britpop, and especially Blur’s earlier stuff. It’s the storytelling aspect, the creation of a character through which to address a different topic. Once you get past the way this song sounds, there’s really not that much difference between “Ebeneezer Goode” and “Colin Zeal” or “Ernold Same.” I wonder if either the Shamen or Blur ever really made that connection themselves, and if they did, whether either party felt guilty about it.

For those playing along at home, there’re a couple of pop cultural steals in here worth noting. The opening “A great philosopher once said…” is Malcolm McDowell, from If…, and if the dirty laugh isn’t Sid James from the Carry On movies, then it’s someone doing a Sid James impression.