Signs (Five Man Electrical Band song)
"Signs" is a song by the Canadian rock group Five Man Electrical Band. It was written by the band's frontman, Les Emmerson and popularized the relatively unknown band, who recorded it for their second album, Good-byes and Butterflies, in 1970. "Signs" was originally released that year as the B-side to the relatively unsuccessful single "Hello Melinda Goodbye" (#55 Canada).
|Single by Five Man Electrical Band|
|from the album Good-byes and Butterflies|
|B-side||"Hello Melinda Goodbye"|
|Length||4:05 (album version)|
3:20 (single version)
|Five Man Electrical Band singles chronology|
The song's narrator describes four instances of encountering signs that anger or concern him, as follows:
- A notice that "long-haired freaky people need not apply" for a job opening. He stuffs his hair into his hat in order to get an interview, then contemptuously reveals it once he has been offered the job.
- A "no trespassing" warning outside a house. He climbs onto the perimeter fence and berates the owners for keeping people out and fencing in the land's natural beauty.
- Being told to leave a restaurant because he does not meet its dress code or have a membership card, both of which are displayed on a sign.
- A sign inviting people to worship at a church. When an offering is taken up at the end of the service, he makes a sign telling God that he is doing well, as he has no money to contribute.
Cover for the 7" single
|Single by Tesla|
|from the album Five Man Acoustical Jam|
|Recorded||July 2, 1990|
|Venue||Trocadero Theatre, Philadelphia, PA|
|Tesla singles chronology|
"Signs" was covered and recorded live by Tesla for their Five Man Acoustical Jam album in 1990, peaking at number 8 on the Pop charts. This cover had some minor changes to the lyrics: the line "blockin' out the scenery" was changed to "fuckin' up the scenery," and "made up my own little sign" was changed to "made up my own fuckin' sign". A studio version recorded in 2007, which appeared on the EP A Peace of Time, used the original lyrics.
- 7" single
|1.||"Signs" (Clean Version)||3:11|
|1.||"Down Fo' Boogie" (LP Version)||3:21|
- 12" single
|1.||"Signs" (LP Version)||3:15|
|1.||"Little Suzi" (Live Acoustic Version)||3:53|
|2.||"Down Fo' Boogie" (LP Version)||3:21|
- CD single
|1.||"Signs" (Clean Version)||3:11|
|2.||"Down Fo' Boogie" (Single Version)||3:21|
|3.||"Little Suzi" (Live Acoustic Version)||3:53|
|US Hot 100 (Billboard)||8|
|US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)||2|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||70|
Other covers and samplesEdit
ApologetiX recorded a parody of the song titled "Lions", telling a Biblical story of a character named Daniel in a lion's den. It was originally included on the cassette of Radical History Tour, and was later re-issued on the "Director's Cut" edition of Isn't Wasn't Ain't.
- "Top Quality Rock Helps Labels Turnaround Their Profit Picture". Billboard. 6 November 1971. p. RN-34. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "RMP100 Singles, July 24, 19751". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
- "Cash Box Top 100 9/04/71". tropicalglen.com. 4 September 1971. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1971/Top 100 Songs of 1971". Music Outfitters. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1971". tropicalglen.com. 25 December 1971. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Joel Whitburn (2008). Joel Whitburn Presents Rock Tracks 1981-2008. Record Research. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-89820-174-1.
- "Tesla Chart History - Hot 100". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
- "Tesla Chart History". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 554. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.