Songs with conversations in the background

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones song “Let Me Be” starts with quiet dinner music and chitchat before the drums and electric guitar kick in.

Wow! I can add to this list:

Lou Reed’s “All Through the Night” is recorded as if Lou’s performing in a nightclub. You hear conversation, glasses clinking, general hubbub. There’s two guys talking, and the word “junkie” pops out at you; possibly the guys are relating some gossip about Lou. But in general, they’re ignoring the singer.

I heard Jefferson Starship’s “We Built This City” in Baltimore, and the jockeys at the station had one of their characters, Mama Panzerella, talking over the bridge. Since the character was specific to that station, I assume the record company released the song with an empty track so each station could “personalize it.”

Lark’s Tongue In Aspic Part 1 by King Crimson
Fool’s Overture by Supertramp

Surprised no one has mentioned Flower Punk by the Mothers of Invention.

“She’s Talking Again” by Henry Philips has a girl in the background talking non-stop through the entire song.

The entire Radio KAOS album by Roger Waters has conversations througout.

Have you heard it lately? It holds up pretty well, despite the obvious 80’s production values.

There’s crowd noise at the end of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine.”

Megadeth’s “A Thousand Times Goodbye” includes snippets of a breakup over the telephone.

Although this is fairly obscure, Infinite Number of Sounds, a favorite Ohio band, has a song called These are Velvet Boots. It consists entirely of a conversation between two unidentified guys. Here it is transcribed:

These are Velvet Boots (From the album Time Wants a Skeleton)

Unidentified Guy 1: There was this person who came into school, and uhhhh…he lives in second court. Totally Goth kid, I mean like powder white skin, he like powders his skin and he like,he has has like…

Unidentified Guy 2: He never looks at the sun?

Unidentified Guy 1: And he has like black plucked eyebrows…that he like, I swear to God this kid puts like sheen on them or something, and like long, very shiny, black hair. And he’s always wearing like velvet, a velvet…a satiny kind of top…

Unidentified Guy 2: HmmHaha!!..The kind of person you want to beat up? HunHunHunHunHUnHa!!!.. Even though you’re nerds!.. HunHunHunHunHUnHA!!

Unidentified Guy 1: Yea, he has black leather pants, and everythings perfect, like black shoes and everything. And for his eyes he got contact lenses that are white. So if you look into his eyes, all you see is the pupil! It’s sooo FREEAAKKY!! OK? He’s really (unintelligible)

Unidentified Guy 2: HunHunHunHunHUnHA!!.. That’s weird!!.. HunHunHunHunHUnHA!!..

Unidentified Guy 1: and and he’s got the rings, like you know, like the ones that are jointed…like, like, like He’s wearing like a little gauntlet on his finger.

Unidentified Guy 2: Like he’s a cyber guide! HunHunHunHunHUnHA!!..

Unidentified Guy 1: Yea. So he’s wearing all this…he’s looking intensely gothic. And everybody’s kind of afraid of him because he looks scary! And uh, he lives in third…he lives in first court and uhhh…second court was having a second court pride day. And they did it in the motif of the French Revolution.

Unidentified Guy 2: Right.

Unidentified Guy 1: And they were going around like going, “SECOND COURT ROCKS THE FRENCH REVOLUTION! LIBERTE’ !!!” ya know, and all this crap. And they had waterballoons and they were running around. And they ran into first court uh, with waterballoons… and were like throwing them at people and they all turn this corner and HE’s standing there, right? And everyone just kinda STOPS!

Unidentified Guy 2: HunHunHunHunHUnHA!!..

Unidentified Guy 1: …Cause, ya know, he’s really scary looking!! And he just looks at them…like this, he goes…and, and this one girl kinda like lobs a balloon, and it breaks at his feet and the water like splashes on his boots. And he just looks down, and he looks up, and he goes…


Unidentified Guy 2: HunHunHunHunHUnHA!!..HunHunHunHunHUnHA!!..HunHunHunHunHUnHA!!..

Unidentified Guy 1: …and like walks away. And like after he’s gone everybody just starts dying laughing!

Unidentified Guy 2: HunHunHunHunHUnHA!!..

Unidentified Guy 1: Since then he has been known in many circles as, These are Velvet Boots.


Unidentified Guy 1: Yea, it’s pretty funny…

Show Biz Kids, Steely Dan- Several people are talking in the closing (the only line I’ve made out is “This is your captain speaking”).

The In Crowd, Ramsey Lewis Trio- “Live” recording. You can hear an audience member discussing the organist at a club.

David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes” has some background talking where he is repeating the line he has just sung–but there is one line that just does not sound like the line he’s just sung. I can’t tell exactly what he’s saying, but it does not sound the same.

On the CD of Bookends it’s a single, separate track. A couple of websites I just looked at seem to indicate this is the same arrangement as was on the LP. That’s also consistent with my vague recollection of the liner notes of the CD which, I think, were the original notes from the LP. I think I’ve got the original LP in my basement, but I don’t have a turntable. :frowning: If I can remember, I can at least check the track listing tonite.

Other songs for the OP:

The Monkees’ Daydream Believer has snippets of an unintelligible (to my ears) studio conversation before the song commences.

I think there’s a Dead Milkmen song with the same thing (someone yells Get it! Get it! Catch it!), but I can’t remember the song. It’s probably been a decade since I listened to any of that stuff.

In Liz Phair’s Good Love Never Dies, she speaks a few lines to the subject of the song, but hers is the only voice that’s heard.


There are tons of psych songs with spoken bits stuck in, offhand:

“Happenings Ten Years’ Time Ago” - Yardbirds
“Gratefully Dead” - Eric Burdon & The Animals
“Third Stone from the Sun” - Jimi Hendrix Experience (actually monologue)
“Sgt. Pepper’s…” - Beatles

And probably hundreds of other more obscure songs not coming to mind.

One of the Strummin’ Mental obscure vintage surf comps has a song called “Snake Eyes” by a band I can’t recall with casino banter.

The cover of Dead Kennedy’s “Too Drunk to Fuck” by Stereo Total has party conversation.

If background radio banter counts, you’ve got “Dictator” by The Clash and “Rock’n’Roll Radio” by The Ramones.

Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot!

X - I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts

Just about everything by Pink Floyd, right? The Wall (how can you have your pudding if you don’t eat your meat?), Brain Damage/Eclipse, Us and Them all have spoken asides or dialog.

A lot of Johnny Rivers songs (eg, Memphis) sounded like he let all his drunken friends into the studio. As does the Beach Boys’ Barbara Ann (I know, the friends are Jan & Dean.)

Another one from Pink Floyd - in “Learning to Fly” a small airplane’s pre-takeoff checklist is verbalized in the background.

In the Joni Mitchell song “Twisted”, there is commentary from Cheech and Chong.

I checked last night. The Bookends LP I’ve got lists “Voices of Old People” as a separate entry in the same position as on the CD. JKellly, I believe you’re misremembering.

BTW, “I’ve got blisters on my fingers” is definitely from Helter Skelter; I heard it played last night. I don’t think I’d ever heard that part of the song before (since it cuts in and out a bunch at the end, mostly on the radio they don’t get all the way through), and that line, shouted and distorted as it was, scared the crap out of me.