They Don’t Know Tracey Ullman
Song Title: They Don’t Know
Artist: Tracey Ullman
Date of release: September the 9th 1983
Description: ” They Don’t Know ” is by Tracey Ullman ( Trace Ullman ), the actress, comedian, singer and dancer. Tracey is also screenwriter, producer, director, author and businesswoman who holds dual British and American citizenship.
The song was written by English singer and songwriter Kirsty MacColl when she was 17, she is probably best known for singing with Shane MacGowan and the Pogues on their hugely successful ” Fairytale of New York “.
Her father was Ewan MacColl, the Folk singer and songwriter. He penned Roberta Flack’s “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face “.
The single was produced by Peter Collins, the English record producer, arranger and audio engineer has worked with artists like Gary Moore, Bon Jovi, Air Supply, Alice Cooper, Jermaine Stewart and The Cardigans.
” They Don’t Know ” was released on the 9th of September 1983 by record label Stiff Records ( ZTT. Warner Music Group ) and taken as the second single from Tracey’s debut Album You Broke My Heart in 17 Places.
Originally the song was written and recorded by Kirsty MacColl in 1979. In the United Kingdom the song became popular with radio stations up and down the country and made it to number 2 on the Music Week airplay chart.
However complications which arose from an industrial dispute at the distributors meant the single wasn’t shipped to record stores and promoted, which prevented the release. Because of the industrial action the single didn’t appear on the UK chart, which at the time ( before streaming was invented ) was compiled entirely of physical sales.
Four years after Kirsty MacColl’s release of ” They Don’t Know ” Tracy Ullman released her cover version. Tracy was already a popular actress and comedian in the United Kingdom. She recalled later that it was a chance meeting with Dave Robinson’s ( Head of Stiff Records ) wife, Tracy said of the encounter ” One day, I was at my hairdresser, and Dave Robinson’s wife Rosemary leant over and said, ‘ Do you want to make a record? ’ I was having some of those Boy George kind of dreadlock things put in and I went, ‘ Yeah I want to make a record. ’ I would have tried anything ”.
Many people wrongly think that Tracey uses the backing track from the original by Kirsty MacColl, both versions are different in composition. Kirsty did sing backing vocals and used her original ” bay-ay-be-ee ” which can be heard in the middle of the song.
Tracey’s songs, including this one, were exaggerated recreations of 60’s and 70’s pop music. The British music paper, the Melody Maker, said her music style was ” somewhere between Minnie Mouse and the Supremes “.
The accompanying music video was directed by Dave Robinson. He directed many of the videos for Madness, the English ska band from London, England. Dave also directed the video for another of Tracey’s hits, ” Breakaway “.
Sir Paul McCartney makes a cameo appearance in the video playing a character named Paul. At the time Tracey was filming a minor role as a character called Sandra in Paul’s film Give My Regards to Broad Street, which wasn’t a success at the box office and disliked by critics.
” They Don’t Know ” was a commercial success for Tracey. In the United States the song peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and spent 17 weeks on the chart there.
In the United Kingdom the song entered the UK chart on the 24th of September 1984 and reached a peak of number 2. The song spent 5 weeks in the top ten and a total of 11 weeks on the UK chart.
BillBoard Hot 100 Highest Chart Position: 8
UK Highest Chart Position: 2
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Germany 35, Netherlands 10, Belgium 6, Norway 1, New Zealand 15
Official Website / Fan Site: Allabouttracey.com
FaceBook Page: Facebook.com/traceyullman
Wikipedia Page: Wikipedia.org/TraceyUllman