I first came across this song under its original name “johnny johnny,” before listening to their album “Steve McQueen”. It stands as my favorite Prefab Sprout song, and one of my all time favorite songs.
There are many elements in this track that would later be found in the “shoegaze” genre. Slow plucked, with lots of reverb rise and fall built in, the soundscape works dynamically against the lyrics of Paddy McAllon. His ability to write about both sides of love is second to none.
The track manages to perfectly encapsulate the grieving of a young love breakup. The overblown instrumentation and vocal delivery sound almost filmic, but manage to be grounded by the lyrics, which tell a simple story in a sincere and truthful way.
It’s that ability to exaggerate the small that resonates so well with the feeling of youth, when emotions run high and everything means the world to you. Prefab Sprout capture the feeling well many times but “Goodbye Lucille #1” distills this down into four and a half minutes.
A perfect pop tune that deserves a listen: