#990: 1975, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)

by Jackie_South on February 22, 2015

I almost followed in Ray North’s stead and posted a bit of current pop, but then I noticed that it was forty years ago this week that Steve Harley reached number one with this.

The first time I recall hearing this, I thought the chorus was a come-on line: “Come up and see me, make me smile” definitely sounds a bit Mae West.

It isn’t of course: this is a bitter Steve Harley railing against his former band mates in Cockney Rebel, who left the band after having the cheek to ask that they might co-write some of the band’s third album (You’ve done it all, you’ve broken every code/ And pulled the Rebel to the floor”).

At different times Harley has given different versions of what the song’s chorus meant. At times, he has said that it is a hurt forgiveness – one of ‘despite what you’ve done, come over some time and still be mates’. At others, he has said that it was a two-fingered message ‘come back on your knees when you realise your mistake so that I can laugh in your face’.

I think the power of the song is that there is probably a bit of both. Make Me Smile is the ultimate song of hurt male pride – raw, mixed up emotion that Harley himself doesn’t appear to have a full handle on behind that great sneering.

A great song. Could have done without the guitar solo though.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

George_East February 22, 2015 at 6:51 pm

Great stuff and don’t forget the superb cover by the Wedding Present.

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