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Lyrics to Do The Strand

Lyrics to the song Do The Strand as recorded by Roxy Music.


There's a new sensation a fabulous creation
A danceable solution to teenage revolution

Do the strand love when you feel love
It's the new way and that's why we say
Do the strand

Do it on the tables Quaglino's place or Mabel's
Slow and gentle sentimental
All styles served here
Louis Seize he prefer Laissez faire strand

Tired of the tango fed up with fandango
Dance on moonbeams slide on rainbows
In furs or blue jeans you know what I mean
Do the strand

Had your fill of quadrilles the madison and cheap thrills
Bored with the beguine the samba isn't your scene

They're playing our tune by the pale moon
We're incognito down the Lido
And we like the strand

Arabs at oases Eskimos and Chinese
If you feel blue look through who's who
See la goulue and Nijinsky
Do the strandsky

Weary of the waltz and mashed potato schmaltz
Rhododendron is a nice flower
Evergreen it last forever
But it can't beat strand power

The Sphynx and Mona Lisa
Lolita and Guernica
Did the strand

Do The Strand


Do The Strand is probably the most performed Roxy song ever. This song has appeared in almost every set list of every tour since its release in 1973. The song was released as a single in most European countries as well as USA and Japan, but strangely wasn't released in UK until 1978 when it was used to promote the Greatest Hits album. If there is such a thing as a Roxy anthem, then Do The Strand is it.

There are 3 edits of the song:-
Album version 4:00
Street Life Compilation Version 3:40
USA 7" 3:19

What Bryan Says...

The second Roxy album was recorded at the old Air Studios. by Oxford Circus in London's West End, which was to be our home for several albums. The band by now was much more experienced and the songs seemed more assured and focussed.
I had long been a fan of Cole Porter and other songwriters from his era. Do The Strand was an attempt to emulate that style of writing, with a lot of cultural references that I found interesting.
There where a particular genre of dance crazes, like 'Do The Twist', 'The Jerk' and 'The Madison' etc. which I found amusing, and 'Do The Strand' was a nod in their direction' although it attempted to be more high brow or a bit further uptown in as much as I wanted to turn the Sphinx and Mona Lisa, Lolita and Guernica into a rhyming couplet...
Do The Strand became a sort of anthem for Roxy fans, and we traditionally made the closing song at all our shows."

This is a piece written by the late Doctor Simon Puxley explaining some of the references in the Lyrics.

Do The Strand Explained

The Strand First and foremost a dance, depicted as a new craze ('new sensation', 'the new way'). However in the dictionary 'strand' can mean 'walk' (verb), a place to walk, a stretch of beach, or 'to leave high and dry'. 'Strand' was also once a brand of cigarette. And the Strand is of course a famous London street, once highly fashionable: this is the meaning that the title immediately calls to mind, if any. BUT the Strand is none of these things. It's without precedent and unique. It's not even a dance-step. It is, as the lyrics demonstrate, everything; or more particularly it is - to use inadequate platitudes where it's at, whatever turns you on. The buzz, the action, the centre, the quintessence, the energy. The all-embracing focus, past present and future, the ineffable. The indefinable. And in the context of performance the Strand is also something else the here- and-now, i.e. the song, the music and the atmosphere themselves.
The song metaphorically conceives of the Strand as a dance. No ordinary dance, but an eternal, universal or a tangible image of an indefinable aesthetic and emotional perfection. Interestingly the dance was exactly such an expression of an ideal state in much fin-de-siecle and early twentieth- century art; it was an obsessive image, for example, for the poet W.B. Yeats:
0 body swayed to music, 0 brightening glance,' How can we know the dancer from the dance? ('Among School Children')

fabulous creation i.e. 'creation' as in a fashion-show; hyperbole but- as the rest of the song insists - also literally 'fabulous' like a fable, magical, incredible.

Quaglino's place or Mabel's Quaglino's: long-established, exclusive London restaurant with dance-floor, frequented by aristociacy - Mabel's: suggests a cheap cafe or brothel, in direct, bathetic, contrast to Quaglino's. Highlife or lowlife, it makes no difference with the Strand.

Louis Seize King Louis the Sixteenth (Seize) of France, guillotined by revolutionaries in 1793. 'Seize' is a double entente: French for 'sixteen', it's pronounced identically to English 'says'. 'Louis Seize' is a conflation, then, o 'Louis Seize says'; 'he prefer' is the ungrammatical English a Frenchman might use.

Laissez-faire French phrase used in English to mean 'free trade', and more generally 'no restrictions' therefore freedom of expression, 'anything goes', 'each to his own'. A literal translation is 'let it be', or 'you have leave to do', so the sense of these lines is that Louis approves of the Strand because it has no limits, or that he prefers the Strand laissez-faire rather than otherwise, or even that he gives state approval ('you have leave to do') to the Strand.

Tango... fandango Spanish-American dances. The tango became an established ballroom step; the fandango a wilder routine, became a synonym for a shindig.

Quadrilles Quadrille: a square dance, origin France.

Madison A dance done in formation which was a short-live fad, mainly in America, in the early sixties.

Mashed potato schmaltz A play on words to create a contradiction. 'Mashed potatos' is intended literally, to describe the slushiness of schmaltz (sentimentality and oversweetness in music, films, etc.); and is also the name of a 'sixties dance which appeared in the wake of the twist and in its rhythmic and vigorous lunges is anything but schmaltzy'.

Rhododendron Large evergreen shrub which flowers annually, cultivated all over the world but especially in the grounds of large houses in England.

The Sphinx and Mona Lisa Two all-time great enigmas. The Sphinx was a creature in both Greek and Egyptian mythology with a human head and a lion's body. The Greek version strangled those who failed to solve a seemingly unanswerable riddle: literally enigmatic. The most famous example of the Egyptian Sphinx, the massive stone figure (240 feet long, 66 feet high) still recumbent at the side of the Great Pyramid, is more mysterious: it actually exists, but what its exact purpose was is unknown.
The impression, anyway, is that it guards the pyramid's secrets, as the Greek Sphinx guarded the answer to the riddle. The 'Mona Lisa' is probably the most famous painting of all time. Painted by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), the smile on the face of the portrayed woman has been the scource of endless speculations. Her expression is said to be deeply profound with a magical effect which no analysis of the painting can explain
The Sphinx and Mona Lisa represent not only the arcane and mysterious but also - by implication -the ancient and immortal.

Lolita and Guernica Two outstanding artistic portrayals of never-ending human frailties - love and war respectively. Vladimir Nabakov's novel masterpiece (1955) describes a man's obsession with a pubescent girl, a 'nymphet'. The opening words of the book are: "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul".
Guernica was a Spanish village massacred by Mussolini's bombers in the Spanish Civil War. Pablo Picasso - Spanish by birth - immortalised this Fascist genocide in a painting - called Guernica - for the Spanish pavilion at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in1937.
Perhaps Picasso's most well- known single work, the name Guernica has become synonymous with monstrosity.

Beguine A rhumba-like dance-step from the islands of St. Lucia and Martinique. Introduced to American dance-floors in the 1920's (viz. the song-standard 'Begin the Beguine'), but has never established itself.
Samba Much-favoured ballroom dance from Brazil, which actually originated in Africa and has spread to the palais of England.

Lido A fashionable Italian beach, just outside of Venice; or any pleasure-ground borrowing the name.

Who's Who The annual directory of anyone who's anyone (currently).

Lagoulue Celebrated Parisian dancer at the turn of the century. So named because of her immense size ('goulu' means greedy), she was immortalised in countless Toulouse- Lautrec pictures. Has also lent her name to a fashionable New York nightclub.

Nijinsky Vaslav Nijinsky (1892-1950), Russian ballet dancer who, under Diaghilev's direction, created a sensation in the early years of the century with his technique and expressiveness. Generally regarded as the greatest of all male dancers. The '-sky' at the end of his name is jokingly supposed, in cornmon lore, to end all Russian words: thus 'Strandsky' in the next line.

Song Musicians

Do The Strand is on the following Roxy Music and Solo Albums