Hunters and Collectors – Holy Grail

Holy Grail (front)

Holy Grail (front)

The Single

Released In: [Australia / NZ] [Europe]

Release Date: May 1993.

Australian Chart Position: #20 (ARIA) / #16 (AMR).

Single Availability: Moderately rare.

Value: A$4-A$18.

Australian CD single has live acoustic versions of Where Do You Go?, True Tears Of Joy, When The River Runs Dry and Holy Grail. UK single includes Grindstone, Head Above Water and True Tears Of Joy. Picture above is Australian CD single.

 

Original Version(s)

Version Length Source Availability
Studio  3:50 Cut album. Extremely common. Available new in CD and digital form.
Studio 3:49 Natural Selection / Greatest Hits album and video. Extremely common. Available new in CD, CD/DVD, DVD and digital form.
Studio 3:48 Crucible album. Extremely common. Available new in CD and digital form.
Studio 3:50 Holy Grail single. Moderately rare. Not available new.
Studio 3:50 UK version of Demon Flower album. Moderately rare. Not available new.
Studio 3:50 Anthology album. Moderately common. Available new in digital form.
Live Acoustic [1] 3:21 25th Anniversary edition version of the Cut album. Moderately common. Available new in 2CD form.
Live Acoustic [1] 3:21 Australian Holy Grail single. Moderately rare. Not available new.
Live Acoustic [1] 3:21 Australian Holy Grail single. The Vault digital download at True Believers, 22 November 2015.
Live Acoustic [2] 3:10 Living Single In Large Room and Lounges single. Moderately rare. Not available new.
Live Acoustic [2] 3:14 Living In Large Room and Lounges single. Extremely common. Available new in CD and digital form.
Live Acoustic [3] 3:27 Mark Seymour Daytime and the Dark album. Moderately common. Available new in CD and digital form.
Live [1] 4:01 Live Demons In Amsterdam EP. Moderately rare. Not available new.
Live [1] 4:02 Live Demons In Amsterdam EP. The Vault digital download at True Believers, 8 April 2013.
Live [2] 4:09 Living In Large Room and Lounges album. Extremely common. Available new in CD and digital form.
Live [3]  3:52 Under One Roof / Greatest Hits Live album and video. Extremely common. Available new in CD, DVD and digital form.
Live [4] 4:34 Sound Relief video. Extremely common. Available new in Australia on DVD.
Live [5] 3:50 Live 2014 box set – Enmore 1 album. Extremely rare. Not available new.
Live [6] 3:42 Live 2014 digital album (2017 version). Moderately common. Available new in digital form.
Live [6] 3:42 Live 2014 box set – Palais 1 album. Extremely rare. Not available new.
Live [7] 3:44 Mark Seymour Live At The Basement album and video. Moderately rare. Not available new.
Live [8] 3:42 Mark Seymour Roll Back The Stone album. Moderately common. Available new in CD and digital form.
Live (orchestral)  3:04 Mark Seymour You Don’t Have To Cry Anymore single. Moderately rare. Not available new.

 Recommended Version.

 

Cover Version(s)

Artist Version Length Source
The Rubens Studio 5:10 Crucible album.

 

Commentary

“Holy Grail” is one of the best known Hunters and Collectors songs, up there with “Throw Your Arms Around Me”. Alex, a fan involved in the creation of the “Holy Grail” video clip has the following to say on the original of the song:

In the lyrics section of your Hunters and Collectors site you [used to!] mention that Holy Grail was written about the crusades. It wasn’t. I was on the film crew that did the clip for it (at a reptarium and the little studio on Warrigal Road in Melbourne) and had a talk to Mark about the inspiration. Mostly I just pointed out that he had captured the grittiness of spending 18 hours in armour almost perfectly (I am a medievalist). He pointed out that he actually wrote it about Napoleon in Russia (the winter campaign). Since he said that I could sort of see it, and it does work… but it still seemed more of a medieval forced march type of song.

As it happens Mark ended up trying on bits of armour from my van in between set ups (and finding ways to redraw the massive penis that the artist had painted on the De-Vinci like sketch on the floor (way too graphic for Saturday morning TV)). In the end we just had one of the band members stand on it strategically.

Odd kind of night… and it takes Mark 16 takes to lip-sync on account of constantly finding “new” ways to perform material (unfortunately NOT an option when shooting a video to an existing sound-track).

Now you have a semi-pointless bit of lyric history!

 

For those who are interested, in 2002 Mark Seymour got some publicity when his mobile phone rang to the tune of “Holy Grail” during a press conference. Mark made this ring tone using ‘composer’ that comes with some Nokia Phones. Thanks to Martin and Miriam, here is the code to program “Holy Grail” into phones with composer:

8c1 8f1 8c2 8#a1 8a1 4g1 4f1 4f1 16f1 2g1 8c1 8f1
8c2 8#a1 8a1 8g1 8f1 4a1 4f1 2g1 (repeat)

Note: Set to 100 beats per minute.

 

Comments from the “Natural Selection” liner notes (by Mark Seymour):

Obsessed with a vision of a Russian Eldorado, Napoleon forced the grand army to march on Moscow in the winter of 1812. They froze to death in the ice and snow and the crows moved in to feed. This song was originally conceived while reading ‘Art and Lies’ by Jeanette Winterson, a little light relief, during the recording of ‘Cut’. It’s a parable about an army whose beliefs led to its own destruction. It also alludes to the endless search for the ‘rock ‘n’ roll carrot’ (otherwise known as ‘the Holy Grail’), that dangles before the collective nose of every band that ever walked the earth. Now a major sporting event standard…

 

Lyrics

Oh, so high

Woke up this morning from the strangest dream
I was in the biggest army the world has ever seen
We were marching as one
On the road to the holy grail

Started out seeking fortune and glory
It’s a short song but a hell of a story
When you spend lifetime trying to get your hands
On the holy grail

We’ll have you heard about the great crusade
We ran into millions, but nobody got paid
Yeah we raised four corners of the globe
For the holy grail

All the locals scattered, they were hiding in the snow
We were so far home, so how were we to know
There be nothing left to plunder
When we stumble on the holy grail

We were full of beans
But we were dying like flies
And those big black birds, they were circling in the sky
And you know what they say, yeah, nobody deserves to die

You know I, I’ve been searching for an easy way
To escape the cold light of day
I’ve been high and I’ve been low
But I’ve nowhere else to go

There’s nowhere else to go

And I’ve followed orders
God knows where I’ve been
But I woke up alone
All my wounds were clean
I’m still here
I’m still a fool for the holy grail

Oh yeah I’m a fool for the holy grail