Element of Light

Element of Light is the fifth studio album by singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock and his second with his backing band, the Egyptians. It was released in 1986.

Element of Light
Robin Hitchcock And The Egyptians.jpg
Studio album by
RecordedAlaska Studios
Berry Street Studios
Live recordings at The Town & Country Club
LabelMidnight Music
ProducerRobyn Hitchcock & Andy Metcalfe
Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians chronology
Gotta Let This Hen Out!
Element of Light
Globe of Frogs
Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Tribune[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[3]

Most of the album was recorded at Alaska Studios and Berry Street, but two tracks, "The President" and "Lady Waters & The Hooded One", were live recordings made for the BBC, with overdubs recorded on BBC Mobile and at Alaska.

The album title derives from the song "Airscape", which has been cited several times by Hitchcock as a favourite among his own compositions,[4] and a live rendition was tagged on to later CD editions. "Airscape" concerns his "favourite beach", Compton Beach on the Isle of Wight,[5] which also provided a backdrop for the cover shots. He was inspired by learning about the erosion of the cliffs, and imagining the ghosts of people who had walked the cliffs centuries ago now suspended over the water.[6]

The song "The President" makes reference to Ronald Reagan's visit to Bitburg, where members of the Waffen-SS were buried.[7]

The song "Raymond Chandler Evening" is an homage to the world-weary novels of mystery writer Raymond Chandler.[8]

Originally running to ten songs, the first CD edition included extra bonus tracks, all taken from singles, while later pressings have added a further six, including the comedic spoken number "The Can Opener".

The album was produced by Robyn and Andy Metcalfe, with input from long-time colleague Pat Collier.

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Robyn Hitchcock.

Side oneEdit

  1. "If You Were a Priest"
  2. "Winchester"
  3. "Somewhere Apart"
  4. "Ted, Woody and Junior"
  5. "The President"

Side twoEdit

  1. "Raymond Chandler Evening"
  2. "Bass"
  3. "Airscape"
  4. "Never Stop Bleeding"
  5. "Lady Waters & the Hooded One"

Midnight CD bonus tracksEdit

  1. "The Black Crow Knows"
  2. "The Crawling"
  3. "The Leopard"
  4. "Tell Me About Your Drugs"

Rhino CD reissue bonus tracksEdit

  1. "The Black Crow Knows"
  2. "The Crawling"
  3. "The Leopard"
  4. "Tell Me About Your Drugs"
  5. "The Can Opener"
  6. "Raymond Chandler Evening" (Demo)
  7. "The President" (Demo)
  8. "If You Were a Priest" (Demo)
  9. "Airscape" (Live)
  10. "The Leopard" (Demo)

YepRoc CD reissue bonus tracksEdit

  1. "The Black Crow Knows"
  2. "The Crawling"
  3. "The Leopard"
  4. "Tell Me About Your Drugs"
  5. "Sprinkling Dots"
  6. "Upside Down Church Blues"
  7. "Into It"
  8. "Neck"
  9. "Bass" (Demo)
  10. "Lady Waters Mix 1" ("Lady Waters & The Hooded One" demo)"


  • Robyn Hitchcock – guitar, vocals, upright piano on "Somewhere Apart"
  • Andy Metcalfe – bass, vocals on "If You Were A Priest", "Winchester", "Ted, Woody and Junior", "Bass", "Airscape", "Lady Waters & the Hooded One", "The Black Crow Knows", "Tell Me About Your Drugs", piano on "Winchester", "Ted, Woody and Junior", bass keyboard on "Raymond Chandler Evening", keyboards on "Never Stop Bleeding" and "The Leopard", drums on "Tell Me About Your Drugs"
  • Morris Windsor – drums, vocals on "Ted, Woody and Junior", "Bass", "Airscape" and "Lady Waters & the Hooded One"
  • Roger Jackson – keyboards, glass harmonica on "Airscape", vocals on "Lady Waters & the Hooded One"


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Element of Light – Robyn Hitchcock / Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  2. ^ Kot, Greg (23 February 1992). "Rating The Robyn Hitchcock Solo And Group Releases". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  3. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "Robyn Hitchcock". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 378–380. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  4. ^ Grandjean, Pat (1991). "A Day In The Life Of Robyn Hitchcock". Bucketfull Of Brains. No. 42. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  5. ^ Plumbley, Mike (10 August 1996). "On The Bus With Robyn Hitchcock Or The Number 42 To Compton..." Isle Of Wight Rock. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012.
  6. ^ Demme, Jonathan (Director) (1998). Storefront Hitchcock (Motion picture). New York City: MGM Pictures. And ah, so I worked out that, that the cliffs where I pace, in another hundred years' time will disappear completely, and that my ghost will be fifty feet above the beach. There must be other ghosts out to sea, as the ghosts get further out to sea their costumes get older, so you've got you know, ghosts from the fifties about twenty feet out, and ghosts from World War II ghosts just beyond that, and you've got Great War ghosts with their goggles, and Edwardian ghosts with their mantles and Victorian ghosts with their cravats and canes, ah Jacobean ghosts with their... legs. And it just goes back on, whatever they had, those things to stop 'em smelling too bad. And about a mile out, there must be Cro-Magnon ghosts, clubbing each other to death and grinning. Now I guess there's going to be a few more of those inland as well. Anyway, this is a song from my ghost to those who walk underneath it.
  7. ^ Robins, Wayne (7 February 1988), "Robyn Hitchcock: A View From Rock's Underground", Newsday, archived from the original on 7 February 2012
  8. ^ "The P.I. Record Collection". The Thrilling Detective. Retrieved 14 May 2020.