1990 Manchester. Evoking memories of The Hacienda, baggy clothes, dole queues and a list of musical powerhouses that would make any city proud, but this is Manchester, this is a city steeped in musical history. Making up part of that history will always be The Happy Mondays no matter what any other fucker says.
In 1990 The Happy Mondays released arguably their biggest song to date, Step On. Now I remember hearing this as a kid, it had me hooked from that unmistakable keyboard riff intro and THAT video …. I wanted to be stood on the roof of a hotel with me mates surrounded by sunshine and palm trees, fucking around, drinking and dancing till the sun goes down, it just seemed like another world to me, a world I needed. Factor in Shaun Ryder’s now famous line that has been emblazened across countless merch stands over the years “You’re Twisting My Melon Man” and you’ve got one hell of a fucking tune on your hands.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I found out that “my” version of Step On, ie The Monday’s version of Step On that I knew and loved, ingrained in my childhood’s empty mind was in fact a cover of South African Singer/songwriter John Kongos’ “He’s Gonna Step on You Again” from 1971. Upon hearing this news, my mind was blown, you could say my melon was twisted man (Sorry!)
Kongos’ original version is a foot stomping glam rock masterpiece right at the birth of glam rock. The foot stomping comes from a tape loop of African drumming according to the sleeve notes on the reissued CD , although The Guinness Book of Records would suggest that it is actually the first ever song to have used a sample. I like the notion that it was the first ever song to use a sample as it somewhat ties in with the Mondays covering it, being fans of sampling themselves and championing the Acid House scene around Manchester at the time of Step On with records and DJ’s spinning at The Hacienda using samples from a bygone era to make the kids dance with a little help from our mate Mr.E, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
There have been a fair few cover versions since Kongos original including three prior to the Happy Mondays. Three Australian bands The Party Boys, Chantoozies and Exploding White Mice all covered the song as did Def Leppard post Happy Mondays but the less said about all of these versions the better.
What we have left is 2 absolute belters – John Kongos original of how the song was intended and the Monday’s revamp that pretty much has to go down as one of the greatest covers ever recorded, stamp out ya fire on the rest of the shit.
Peace & Love as per x