Whole Wide World

“This is a chord. This is another. This is a third. Now form a band.” In 1976, these four short phrases appeared alongside three hand-drawn images of the A, E and G guitar chords in a punk fanzine named Sideburns. Many musicians followed this simple manifesto and hundreds of punk bands were born in late 70s Britain. They were like a breath of fresh air into a music scene that had become pretentious and boring. A couple of years earlier, a guy named Eric Goulden took just two of these chords and wrote a little ditty that would eventually be released in 1977. The song was called Whole Wide World and he had become Wreckless Eric by this time. The song’s basic structure and humorous lyric fitted perfectly into the punk aesthetic, but it failed to set the world on fire. Punk was one of the first genres of music that really grabbed me and I imagined that I knew every punk song worth knowing. Well, I must admit that I didn’t hear Eric’s song until a few years ago when the character played by Will Ferrell sang it to Maggie Gyllenhaal in a pivotal scene in Stranger Than Fiction. Ferrell’s shy and understated performance of the song is not punk rock in the strictest sense, but he did capture some of its spirit. Its two chords were reason enough for me to learn it on the ukulele a few years ago, though I also think it’s a decent tune. I tried to play it again today, but I got blisters on my fingers from just tuning up my uke. I’ll make an effort to build up the skin on the tips of my fingers and give it another go soon. By the way, that’s my ukulele in the photo above

Whole Wide World – Wreckless Eric

30 Day Song Challenge Archive

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