“I Am Stretched on Your Grave”

Composed by Phillip King/Frank O'Connor

Lyrics

(Source: I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got)

I am stretched on your grave,
And will lie there forever.
If your hands were in mine,
I'd be sure we'd not sever.
My apple tree, my brightness,
It's time we were together,
For I smell of the earth
And am worn by the weather.
When my family thinks
That I'm safe in my bed,
From night untill morning,
I am stretched at your head,
Calling out to the air
With tears hot and wild,
My grief for the girl
That I loved as a child.
Do you remember
The night we were lost,
In the shade of the blackthorn
And the chill of the frost?
Thanks be to Jesus
We did what was right,
And your maidenhead still
Is your pillar of light.
The priests and the friars
Approach me in dread
Because I still love you,
My love, and you're dead.
I still would be your shelter
Through rain and through storm.
And with you in your cold grave,
I cannot sleep warm.
So I'm stretched on your grave,
And will lie there forever.
If your hands were in mine,
I'd be sure we'd not sever.
My apple tree, my brightness,
It's time we were together,
For I smell of the earth
And am worn by the weather.

Notes

This song started life as a 17th century Irish poem of unknown authorship, called "Táim sínte ar do thuama" (or "A Taim Sinte air do Thuamba"). The melody is first attested to in a 1928 hymnal, which credits it as the tune used by the hymn "Dia an t-Athair do shealbhaig flaitheas naomhtha." Frank O'Connor's English translation, published in Love Poems of the Irish in 1967, was used by Philip King in his 1979 recording, and this is the version that Sinéad used and credited. (Incidentally, the Irish lyrics can be heard on Iarla Ó Lionáird's I Could Read the Sky, which also features Sinéad on two other songs: "Roísín Dubh" and "The Singing Bird.")

(Source: Wikipedia)

The drum sample used in the best-known version of the song (the one on I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got) is from James Brown's 1969 single, "Funky Drummer." Sinéad almost certainly got the idea for sampling it from Public Enemy's 1989 song "Fight the Power," which not only samples it, but references it in the opening lines ("1989--the number, another summer (get down)/Sound of the funky drummer"). Brown's version wasn't released on LP or CD until 1986's In the Jungle Groove; the sample Sinéad uses is culled from 5:21 to 5:23.

The Apple Brightness mix and Night Until Morning dub versions sample Johnny Marr's iconic opening riff from The Smiths' 1984 song "How Soon Is Now?" This wasn't Sinéad's only connection to The Smiths: she had just worked with Johnny, who was by then a member of The The, on their 1989 song "Kingdom of Rain." Their bassist, Andy Rourke, co-wrote "The Value of Ignorance" and played on several tracks in 1990-91, and joined The Smiths' drummer, Mike Joyce, as part of Sinéad's touring band in 1990. Furthermore, Sinéad covered their 1984 song "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" in some of her 1987 and 1988 shows; at least two versions can be heard on bootlegs.

12 versions

4:55 1988/06/03 live at The Dominion Theatre, London, UK

The Value of Ignorance live video
The Value of Ignorance / The Year of the Horse live DVD reissue

5:33

I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got album
I Am Stretched on Your Grave” promo single
So Far...The Best of Sinéad O'Connor compilation album
Essential compilation album
I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got (limited edition) album
Essential compilation album
Trente Hits Incontournables compilation album
Alle 30 Goed compilation album
All the Best compilation album

5:37 Apple Brightness Mix

The Emperor's New Clothes” single
I Am Stretched on Your Grave” promo single
I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got (limited edition) album
I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got: 4 Track EP promo sampler

4:17 Night Until Morning dub / Earthapella

The Emperor's New Clothes” single
I Am Stretched on Your Grave” promo single

3:16 Night Until Morning dub

The Emperor's New Clothes” single

0:55 Earthapella

The Emperor's New Clothes” single

5:40 live October 1990

Year of the Horse live video
The Value of Ignorance / The Year of the Horse live DVD reissue

?

live 1995 at the Glastonbury Festival

4:44

live at Vicar Street, Dublin

She Who Dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High Shall Abide Under the Shadow of the Almighty album

4:37 live March 15th, 2003

Nuit Celtique II live DVD

4:48 live at Iceland Airwaves Festival 10.14.2011

The Wolf Is Getting Married” single
How About I Be Me (and You Be You)? album
Album Sampler sampler CD

5:20 live from London

How About I Be Me (and You Be You)? album

Quotes

(Source: John Reynolds)

Stretched On Your Grave was an original approach to traditional Irish music.

Musicians

(Source: I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got)

Sinéad O'Connor vocals
Steve Wickham fiddle

We would like to thank Jason R. Tibbetts for his contribution and compilation of Sinead's full discography. Many thanks Jason.
All artwork, lyrics, and liner notes are copyrighted by their respective owners, and are used without permission, but are used with the utmost respect.

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