She Sells: 3 Versions

 

An all-time favorite song.
Listening to the separate piano part makes me appreciate it even more.
Here is the 1976 album version:

And here, live, from 1975:

I finally understood, after years of loving this song,
that the title can be interpreted as a Spoonerism for Sea Shells.

Things I love about this song:

The jaunty piano intro with Paul Thompson coming in with that great hi-hat/bass triple thump . . .the tempo shifts to a slow bounce at Nine-till-five / the daily grind . . . and then again shifts at 2:40 in the original studio version above to an expansive majestic sound which ends the song. And the lyrics, like all Roxy lyrics, are poetically exciting, full of word-play and innuendo. Is it about a real-estate seller? A tailor doing alterations? A table-dancer at a gentleman’s club? A dealer in illicit stimulants? A Chinese ceramics collector? An Asian prostitute? Maybe all of that at once. Or maybe just a fantasy in the singer’s mind about his girlfriend. Who knows ? (only Bryan Ferry and God.)

Now you’re talking in headlines
Up to the minute and free
Stop press, hold the front page
Up as a mirror—
Are you reading me?

Watch you walking in waltz time
A jigsaw puzzle in tune
Or are you faking a straight line
To suit yourself too soon

Rather nouveau than never
Contemporary ideal
Some natural kind of poet might slow it
But she sells . . .
more my speed.


She sells country and modern:

Ancient western song
Of oriental confusion—
You so right, me so wrong

Now you’re fixing to fly me
Auto-erotic, please,
On the break that you’re gliding;
Your lingerie’s a gift-wrap—
Send it to me.

Nine-till-five:
The daily grind
Made-up lies
Make up my mind
Same machine consuming me,
Consuming you . . .

Oh why, oh why
She sells . . . I need
Oh why love why
She sells . . . I need.

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