Single Again: White Town – ‘Your Woman’
By Dan Weiss
Single Again is where Dan Weiss investigates chart hits of the past and present, their stories, what they meant and how good they really are.
For this edition of Single Again, Radio.com spoke to Jyoti Mishra of White Town about his worldwide hit single “Your Woman,” which went to No. 1 in the UK in 1997.
Do you consider “Your Woman” to be a blessing or a curse?
Oh, a blessing completely. Because otherwise I wouldn’t have any kind of…I wouldn’t have had any presence in music at all.
What did you have for “Your Woman” first, the lyrical concept or the trumpet sample?
I had the idea for what the song was gonna be about. Well, it wasn’t really one idea. I had the idea of a writing a song that was not any one thing, that was really ambiguous on purpose. But then I had to find out the right song to do it, because I had to make it very catchy or else it would be very boring. So when I came across the sample I thought, this is catchy, I could put anything around this and people would still like it.
When was it first brought to your attention that the sample sounds like the Star Wars Imperial March?
Maybe back then when the internet wasn’t so big, but maybe not. Definitely since, people have been like, ‘oh it’s the Imperial March he’s ripping off,’ but [George] Lucas would’ve sued my ass if it was, and isn’t. But people still go with that.
Did anyone at the record company let on that similarity might be a concern?
No, not at all. Not even one person at the company said no once we had the sample clearance.
When was it first apparent that “Your Woman” was getting a disproportionate amount of attention from the rest of your music?
Well, the song first came out on Parasol, the label I was on in June or July 1996. And then I sent it off to various [BBC] Radio 1 DJs who didn’t play it. And then one DJ started playing it on his nighttime show, but this was like a 10:oo p.m. ’til 12:00 a.m. show. So I didn’t have a huge list of shit but they started loving it. I was just excited to be played on any radio and thought, oh this is amazing. And then he had to fill in for a breakfast show DJ who was away, and when he filled in — this is why it’s a series of lucky accidents — he played my song. And then breakfast radio in Britain heard it, which then would’ve been an audience of about 11-12 million, maybe more. Breakfast radio back then was a huge thing so maybe more that. And then that’s when it blew up, and I got invited onto Radio 1. I didn’t have a manager, publisher, a label apart from Parasol. And then when I tried to see if I could get more copies or anything, I thought I’d have to sign to a major because the demand is huge.