May 10

The Top 100 Songs Of All Time: 15. The Futureheads – The Hounds Of Love

FT12 comments • 1,516 views

There are a number of songs on this list that, in the cold light of day* it has been hard to find someone who will champion enough to write about it. One even got booted off of the list for that reason. A similar situation has arisen with The Futureheads version of The Hounds Of Love. To a sober mind it is hard to work out why this robust but one joke gag on one of Kate Bush’s best tracks should have made any list of the Top 100 Songs of All Time. Especially with Kate’s own Wuthering Heights wuthering considerably lower down.

To explain it, and to excuse saying much more about it than calling it “a robust but one joke gag on one of Kate Bush’s best tracks” it probably would make sense to explain again how this list was made. Since in the next couple of months we will finally make it to number one after this six year journey, let us go back to a room above the Jeremy Bentham pub on the 29th December 2004 and see how that group even suggested The Hounds Of Love by The Futureheads.

First remember that everyone had been drinking for at least four hours. Remember it was Christmas, post party season where any dancing aspect of Christmas paries would have been slim pickings indeed. In this era of landfill indie anything which stood out or had at least some claim to musical greatness (which The Hounds Of Love certainly does, less so in this version) would be a fig leaf from pop heaven. Consider how funny Geordie accents are. Take all this into consideration before thinking that at this point in time the list making will have been going on for just over an hour. About 150 tracks would have been suggested, some given quite fulsome consideration, others thrown out on their ear. A song required a proposer, a seconder but four vetoes around the room would have kicked it out. Early on songs got in on a good vibes nod. But when you start getting to the top twenty, things slow down considerably. You may get five songs in a row vetoed because they are not top twenty material. And all the time people are getting more drunk, some are also getting bored.

Enter our previous number. House Of Love, by East 17. Remember that this party took up the entirity of the pub floor, was noisy and some people did not hear House Of Love, they heard Hounds Of Love. Humourous banter ensues to clarify which if the songs is voted in. East 17 makes it on a whisker. Smart arse coming up next then says Hounds Of Love, BY THE FUTUREHEADS. Laughter ensues, voting goes through on a nod because it seems like a good idea at the time.

And if anything sums up Hounds Of Love by the Futureheads its: Seems Like A Good Idea At The Time.

Mind you their remix of Fit But You Know It is terrific.

*Or indeed the cold light of 2000 days later.


  1. 1
    weej on 20 May 2010 #

    For my sins, I quite like this song. Yes, more than the original. Probably because I heard this version first, and the original just has something a bit weird about it which I can’t quite put my finger on.
    Not the 15th best song of all time, obviously, but worth a listen.

  2. 2
    Andrew Farrell on 20 May 2010 #

    One even got booted off of the list for that reason.

    Still Number One In My HEART!

  3. 3
    Ben on 21 May 2010 #

    It’s pretty much the perfect festival cover version for an indie band. When I saw them play it at Benicassim back in 2006, they had the audience split down the middle, with the left and right sides singing the respective high and low parts of the introduction. And then they also slowed down the verse before bursting into full speed for the chorus.

  4. 4
    lex on 21 May 2010 #

    How on earth did this utter travesty seem like a good idea at ANY time – it’s a desecration and pretty much an offense punishable by beheading. I WOULD GLADLY WIELD THE AXE ON THE FUTUREHEADS.

  5. 5
    Taj on 21 May 2010 #

    What cowardice! Clearly this IS the 15th best song of all time, and you’ve all forgotten and relapsed into canon cringe.

  6. 6
    fivelongdays on 21 May 2010 #

    This one of those records that I like a hell of lot more than I really ought to. I’m not sure whether it was because it was a hit around the time I moved to London and started doing my journalism course, or whether it’s just a really likeable rendition, or whether it has ‘whoa-oh’ type backing vocals, or whether it’s just the original’s power shining through, or whether it’s because I otherwise wouldn’t give two hoots about The Futureheads, but…DAMMIT COOL PEOPLE! I REALLY LIKE THIS SONG!


  7. 7
    fivelongdays on 21 May 2010 #

    Ooops, just checked and found out it didn’t come out until the week I finished my training…so it can’t be that!

  8. 8
    b33k34 on 26 May 2010 #

    I’ve been reading Popular for ages now but never felt I had something vital to add before now but I’m stuggling to see where the hate for this song is coming from.

    I loved KB’s Hounds of Love album in the 80’s but only had it on cassette so lost it as my cassette decks got relegated to the attic. This cover was enough to get me to get it back in my collection and it now gets regular plays again.

    Unlike most on here I think this stands well on it’s own merits – far from a one joke gag I suspect it came from a deep love of the original. The vocal intro, a great guitar sound and that wonderful galloping pace. As a band I don’t rate them but this might well hit my top 100.

    There’s a lot of unforgivable tosh in this top 100 list but I don’t think this is part of it.

  9. 9
    WBS on 2 Nov 2010 #

    This was me. And I had been meaning to say I’d write about it if you wanted. And there was fuck-all smart-arsed about it.

    But then, it was six years ago.

    I’ll still write about this if you want?

    (Things also on this list due to me: “Ambition” and “Knock on Wood” and one other though I can’t remember what)

  10. 10
    Alan not logged in on 2 Nov 2010 #

    An old mate of mine on this Futureheads cover of Hounds of Love. He’s a Canadian who lived here for some years, and was back in cAnAdA when this track was out.

  11. 11
    Rob J on 2 Nov 2010 #

    Thanks Alan for the link to my piece, eh. ;-) What was nice was the band themselves did the same on their Twitter feed, which is one of the many reasons I love the Internet!

  12. 12
    Gareth Parker on 11 Jun 2021 #

    Love Kate’s original obviously, but I think the Futureheads get away with it here. Good fun imo.

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