Story of Song The stories behind the hits Novellic

Story of Song

Stiff Records heard the band that Kirsty was in at the time, called Drug Addix, but weren’t convinced with the band’s performance and later signed Kirsty solo. Kirsty explained the reason behind leaving the band:”Just because it wasn’t any good. It was pretty awful, and I was the token girl”. Stiff Records called and invited me back. “‘We’d like you to come and play us anything you’ve got.’ I said, ‘I thought you didn’t like the demos!’ and they said ‘We hate the band, but we quite like you!’ When they asked if I had any songs, I said: ‘Oh yeah, loads’, even though I didn’t at all. Then I thought, ‘Oh God, I’d better write something before I go in to see them.’ And that’s when I wrote ‘They Don’t Know”. It’s about a young woman’s love for her boyfriend even though everybody advices her not to, and that people don’t understand love the way she feels about this guy.

Release date

Released in June 1979 for the radios.


Kirsty MacColl


Stiff Records

Chart Rankings

US –

UK – 3


‘They don’t know” peaked at number 2 on the radio ‘Week airplay chart’ in the UK. But since the official UK Singles Chart is entirely based on song sales, ‘They don’t know’ never made it to the charts due to a strike at the distributors which prevented the single from being released. However, In 1983 the song was released by actress/comedienne Tracey Ullman and was a hit reaching number 2 in the UK record charts; MacColl performed backing vocals in this version. Kirsty then started writing songs for Tracey Ullman who wanted more songs like this one to follow her success.

Artist’s age on release date

Kirsty was 19 years young. She died in on the 18th December, 2000 at the age of 41.

Cover Versions

Tracey Ullman released a cover version in September 1983 and it was big hit reaching number 2 in the UK.

Cotton Club – Anja Niskanen – Power pop Gigolo Aunts – Yound Gresh Fellows – Kenny Howes – Leslie Carter – The Boyfriends – Katrina Leskanich – Naiplin (Belgian band) – Anders Wendin (Moneybrother) – Kim Wilde – Andrea Corr – Lydia Loveless – Graham Alexander

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