Kirsty MacColl didn't get anywhere near the chart recognition she deserved before her tragic death. A wonderful singer, a gorgeous voice, she can be found on backing vocals for many a famous and popular tune - anyone familiar with The Smiths or The Pogues will smile at the mention of her name - and yet here solo material rarely managed to crack the top 50. Nevertheless, the music was always special, always powerful, and for the most part still stands up well today.
Innocence was the lead track to her breakthrough LP Kite, one which would see her veer from rockabilly to country to a fantastic couple of cover versions and back again. Although she has a reputation for a covers (unfairly), she was quite the accomplished songwriter, and Innocence is an excellent example of her talent. As well as starting the album, it was selected as a single, remixed and released in several versions including a B-side by none other than David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd fame). Like so many of her better songs, it didn't perform particularly well: the single stalled at 78 in the UK charts.
But one has to ask: why? The song is eminently chartable. Starting off with a quick couple of drum hits it bounces along, full of rockabilly charm and even featuring a fiddle solo that sounds charming each and every time. The instruments are a mix of acoustic and electric guitars, played to perfection and perfectly complementing one another. Lyrically Kirsty attacks a person for whom 'innocence has passed by', scorned by everyone up to the supermarket check-out girl but still oblivious to the anger they've provoked. Witty and easy to sing along to, it's absurd that it didn't chart any higher. Still, by virtue of its being on an album (recently reissued, in fact), it still saw greater exposure.
The original version of this song can be found on the LP Kite, produced by her then-husband Steve Lillywhite. The song was remixed for release as a single by Pete Glenister and Nigel Brockbank to make it slightly more radio-friendly, although it remains similar to the original; this version can be found on the compilation Galore. A third mix, the "Guilt mix", appeared on the CD single and as a bonus track on the 2005 re-release of Kite. Almost two minutes longer than the original, it adds new effects and brings the violins in before the drums, sounding not unpleasant.
Innocence saw release on the usual collection of formats, including 7" vinyl, 10", and on CD, each with different B-sides. They were:
Compiled using my own copies of the single and album, Wikipedia, and KirstyMacColl.com.