NEM#212: Graham Parker’s Hard Graft

Graham is the quintessential British singer-songwriter. Though often compared to Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, he started before either of those guys, with his first album as Graham Parker & the Rumour coming out in 1976. He released five albums with them by 1980 and then went solo for another 15 albums (sometimes with a backing band, sometimes entirely solo). Then The Rumour reformed for two albums and has now morphed into The Goldtops.

We discuss “Lost Track of Time” by Graham Parker and the Goldtops from Last Chance to Do the Twist (2023), “Going There” by Graham Parker & The Rumour from Mystery Glue (2015), “She Wants So Many Things” from Struck By Lightning (1991), and “Between You and Me” by Graham Parker & The Rumour from Howlin’ Wind (1976). Intro: “Local Girls” from Squeezing Out Sparks (1980).  Hear more at

Watch the video for “Local Girls.” Another big song from that album (Squeezing Out Sparks) is “Hey Lord Don’t Ask Me Questions,” and the opening track is “Temporary Beauty.” An ’80s hit (my introduction to Graham) was “Get Started, Start a Fire.” Wikipedia says his only US hit was “Wake Up (Next to You).” (For an “album artist with no hits,” he sure had a lot of produced videos back in the day!)

Watch the live film of the Rumour reunion tour. Hear a live, relatively recent take on “Between You and Me.” Watch a complete solo show from 2022. Watch a complete classic show with The Rumour from 1977.

Graham has written a few books; I read his first novel, the fictional but based on his experience as a musician, The Thylacine’s Lair. A fun, recent release from Graham is The Middlesex Demos, which show what his writing and singing was like in 1973; listen to to the folky “Stay Here Loving You.” Hear his first single (from 1976), “Silly Things.”

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