The King Is Dead (Go West song)

"The King Is Dead" is a song by British band Go West, released in 1987 as the third single from their second studio album Dancing on the Couch. It was written by Peter Cox and Richard Drummie, and produced by Gary Stevenson.[2][1] "The King Is Dead" reached No. 67 in the UK.[3] The 12" version of the single featured a live version of "The King Is Dead" as the A-side, recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon, London.[4]

"The King Is Dead"
Go West The King Is Dead 1987 Single Cover.jpg
Single by Go West
from the album Dancing on the Couch
B-side"Little Caesar"
ReleasedAugust 1987[1]
Format7", 12"
Songwriter(s)Peter Cox, Richard Drummie
Producer(s)Gary Stevenson
Go West singles chronology
"I Want to Hear It from You"
"The King Is Dead"
"From Baltimore to Paris"

The song features Kate Bush on backing vocals. While recording the song in Denmark, Go West felt it would benefit from the addition of backing vocals reminiscent of Bush' style. Guitarist Alan Murphy, who had worked with Bush in the past and was currently working with Go West on the recording of Dancing on the Couch, suggested he contact her. Bush agreed, but rather than travel to Denmark, she recorded her part in her home studio due to her fear of flying.[5]

Critical receptionEdit

Upon release, John Aixlewood of Number One commented: "Go West have nimbly swapped their simplistic loud songs for a simplistic quiet one. "The King Is Dead" tries for that late night, smoke-filled bar feel, and ends sounding not a million miles away from the keyboard demonstrator on Sale of the Century. A musical version of the SDP."[6] In a retrospective review of Dancing on the Couch, Dan LeRoy of AllMusic said: "...the only other tracks that make any sort of impression are "The King Is Dead," [an] incongruous but attractive cocktail jazz with an assist from Kate Bush."[2]

Track listingEdit

7" single
  1. "The King Is Dead" - 4:28
  2. "Little Caesar" - 4:39 (Recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon, London)
12" single
  1. "The King Is Dead (Live Version)" - 6:53
  2. "Don't Look Down (Live Version)" - 4:54
  3. "Little Caesar (Live Version)" - 4:29
  4. "Call Me (Live Version)" - 3:43

Chart performanceEdit

Chart (1987) Peak
UK Singles Chart[3] 67



  1. ^ a b "Go West - The King Is Dead / Little Caesar - Chrysalis - UK - GOW 6". 45cat. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  2. ^ a b AllMusic Review by Dan LeRoy. "Dancin' on the Couch - Go West | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  3. ^ a b "GO WEST | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  4. ^ "Go West - The King Is Dead (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  5. ^ "Alan Murphy | Go West Guitarist". Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  6. ^ Number One magazine - Singles - John Aixlewood - 29 August 1987 - page 50