I’m the sort of person who in everyday speech likes to throw in obscure references, Family-Guy-style, to historical events and popular culture. Yesterday for some reason I was heard to utter the phrase, “Alice? Who the hell is Alice?” which my then-present company instantly picked up on as the chorus from a pop song which was recently (in the past ten years or so) very popular. This surprised me, since I’d always known it from an old polka tune from Jimmy Sturr. (Not sure what the title of the song is, but it’s probably “Alice” or “Who the Hell is Alice”.) My friends insisted that the version they heard wasn’t polka, but couldn’t name the artist.
So, two sets of questions:
Did Jimmy Sturr & co. first perform this song? If not, who wrote and performed it first, and what style of music was it?
Who likely performed the recent popular cover version my friends heard, and what style of music is it?
Hope it’s OK to post this here rather than in Cafe Society, since the questions are rather factual in nature…
Gompie did it about seven or eight years ago, if that qualifies as “recent”.
They changed the word “hell”, too.
This site lists as an artist “Smokie.”
I’ve always heard this in the Irish Pubs.
It’s an audience participation song (aren’t most songs in Irish Pubs?) where the audience responds to the corus with “Alice, who the fuck is Alice?”
The Smokie version dates back to the 70s. I think the title is actually “Living Next Door To Alice”.
Check, but the Smokie version is without the “Alice, who the fuck is Alice”, part. Gompie recorded that one, AFIAK.
I thought we were looking for the “Alice? Who the hell is Alice?” version.
Only problem is, that version is not within the last ten years, as requested in the OP.
I always thought the Smokie version was the original. As previously said, the song itself did not contain the “Alice, who the fuck is Alice” line, that was left to the audience to add.
This song had a bit of a revival in British clubs about a decade ago and then a cover version was released by obnoxious English comaedian Roy “Chubby” Brown.
I could be mistaken about the age of the “recent” version. All I know is what my friends told me; they seemed to think it was a new song because they’re in their early 20s and recall hearing it played a lot on the radio. Not having a radio myself, I apparently missed this phenomenon.
It’s also possible that the version they heard had “fuck” instead of “hell”. They didn’t correct me when I recited the “hell” version, but then maybe they thought I was being euphemistic.
There was a dance remix of it, or I think there was, called the “Wonderland Rave Mix”.
The following is at least correct for the UK.
A band called ‘Smokie’, very popular and with a string of Top 10 hits in the 70s, released a song called ‘Living Next Door To Alice’ which charted in Dec 1976. The chorus of the song, unsurprisingly, ends with the words ‘living next door to Alice’.
In Aug 1995 a song reached the charts officially titled ‘Living Next Door To Alice (Who The F**K Is Alice)’, credited to ‘Smokie featuring Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown’. This was the same band, singing the same song, except that the final line of the chorus was followed by comedian Chubby Brown saying the phrase in parentheses. For TV and radio play, the expletive was either bleeped or replaced by ‘hell’.
Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown is a UK comedian who has achieved a huge following (and great wealth) with virtually no TV exposure. He isn’t on TV because he’s too ‘extreme’, and probably (by now) because he doesn’t want to be. He can sell out more or less any venue. He swears a lot and tells a lot of sexist gags. How this particular combination came about, I have no idea.
Good website for this kind of thing:
Thanks, ianzin. I think this clears up the mystery.