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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 146
Sun. June 3, 2012

“Peek-a-Boo”
Siouxsie & The Banshees
1988

“♫ She’s jeering at
the shadows/ Sneering
behind a smile/ lunge
and thrust to pout and
pucker/ into the face
of the beguiled […]
Peek-a-Boo
♫”

I remember when I first heard it as a wide-eyed teenager, religiously watching M-TV’s 120 Minutes every week, and then one day, “Peek-a-Boo” arrived like an alien song from outer space, Siouxsie and her Banshees. A twisted hip-hop cabaret with horns—“Peek-a-Boo” was, at the time, the strangest and most intriguing song I had heard, in my life. And I loved every minute of “Boo!”

Did you know that the main backing track of “Peek-a-Boo” was actually a cover of From a Looking Glass’ John Cale’s “Gun” but played backwards? Banshees’ producer Mike Hedges explained in 2008 to Word Magazine how “Peek-a-Boo” came to life in the studio.

It all started on an LP called Through The Looking Glass. On that album they’d recorded a version of a John Cale song called ‘Gun,’ and when we were recording it I turned it over – which you can do on analogue tape – and it sounded amazing.”

We recorded forward drums over the backwards track – crunchy and loopy, kind of hip-hoppy. Then we added accordion and bass, although there’s only one piece of bass on the entire track. It was all very quick. From turning the tape over it probably took the best part of a day and a half to finish the song.”

Siouxsie always came up with ideas very fast, and once the backing track was done she created the melody and lyrics incredibly quickly. She’s very spontaneous. So “Peek A Boo was originally a John Cale song! It was one of the most experimental things I did at the time that actually worked.”

How amazing is that? Think about it, the creation of “Peek-a-Boo” is equivalent to a poet turning his poem upside down and it magically becoming an ever better verse. A rarity, for 1988, and even in this day in age. The Stone Roses did it with “Don’t Stop” which is “Waterfall” backwards. Very creative, enthralling and addictive, “Peek-a-Boo” is not only one of the most original but one of the best songs Siouxsie & The Banshees in their eclectic history.

Siouxsie added, when she told the Melody Maker in 1988—“I really like the violence of the sound and I was really surprised that it got played on the radio. I just thought the sound would scare too many people away.”
“Peek-a-Boo” scared me into becoming an instant Banshees supporter. Because of this, “Boo” definitely is my favorite Siouxsie song and one that I will be jamming while grooving to— all day long. Excuse, my while I spin “Peek-a-Boo—” so strange, a Siouxsie song may never sound this amazing again!

Who’s ready to sing along— who knows the words?

“♫ Peepshow, creep
show/ where did
you get those
eyes?
♫”

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