The Only Ones: Another Girl, Another Planet
A few months ago I was drinking with my friend at The Gingerman Tavern in the Wrigleyville area of Chicago. Our conversation stopped dead in its tracks when a song began to pump out of the stereo system, and for the next three minutes all of the neighboring conversations and clinking of glasses became inaudible. My ears were fixated on the song playing; a song that I felt like I had heard before in a different life. It evoked a feeling similar to not remembering a dream you had the night before until the next afternoon: a peculiar haze of uncertain familiarity woven within the jig saw pieces of the subconscious. Without the aid of an iPhone, the song could not be Shazamed, so I quickly jotted down the lyrics I thought I heard on a whiskey stained napkin: “I’m on an island with you…with you, with you…”
I spent $10 on the jukebox trying to find the song. Was it an early Buzzcocks song? Maybe it was a Pulp B-side? $10 later, I was still without an answer. What the hell was the name of that damn song? My friend soon pointed out to me that the answer was not within the jukebox, but on the bartender’s iPod that was connected to the stereo system. Had I not had an ongoing crush on the cute girl behind the bar, I probably would’ve asked her what the song was, but I was far too shy and far too drunk to ask her, “Hey, doya know the shlong that justas play ‘bout the ishlandsss?”
The next few days, I labored in front of a Google search engine for hours, typing and retyping the different exerts of lyrics I had written down on the napkin. My search results yielded no resolution to my dilemma. A few weeks later, I gave up on the song and hoped that one day I would hear it again and find out what it was called.
Today, I was driving to rehearsal listening to Rhino Records D.I.Y Compilation: Teenage Kicks – UK Pop (1976 – 1979) (see my previous blog post for more information of this incredible compilation) when I heard a set of familiar opening chords. Within thirty seconds of the song, I realized that this was the song! And the lyrics were not, “I’m on an island with you.” They were, “I’m on another planet with you.” I was astounded that all these months later I had coincidentally found the song, and it was called “Another Girl, Another Planet” by The Only Ones
Clocking in at three minutes, “Another Girl, Another Planet” was released by The Only Ones as a single in 1978. It charted in the UK and quickly became the groups most commercially successful and accessible song, leaving The Only Ones as an easily dismissible “one-hit wonder” group. The press publication Allmusic once called the song “Arguably, the greatest rock single ever recorded”. Another fun pop culture trivia fact about this song was that it was a huge influence on The Replacements early career, and they frequently covered it live in concert. It also appeared on the B-side to one of their final singles, 1989’s “Achin’ to Be.”
The song is a great blast of power-pop energy, filled with catchy, melodic hooks disguised in a reckless, punk attitude. I find a timeless quality within in, as well as a great representation of a very specific point in British rock/pop history. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I do…