Hunters and Collectors – Back on the Breadline

Back on the Breadline (cover)

Back on the Breadline (cover)

 

The Single

Released In: [Australia / NZ] [Europe] [USA]

Australian Chart Position: 37 (AMR).

Release Date: 1988

Single Availability: (UK version) Extremely rare, (Aus version) Moderately rare.

Value: A$5-A$25.

Australian 7″ and 12″ singles have the original version of Back on the Breadline on them with Real World as b-side.

Excellent UK single (12″/CD) has live versions of Back On The Breadline and Under The Sun on it.

 

 

Versions

Version Length Source Availability
Studio  4:02 Liberation Records What’s A Few Men? album. Moderately common. Available new in CD and digital form.
Studio 4:03 Fate album. Moderately common. Available new in digital form.
Studio 4:01 Natural Selection / Greatest Hits album and video. Extremely common. Available new in CD, CD/DVD, DVD and digital form.
Studio 4:04 All non-Australian versions of the Collected Works album. Moderately common. Not available new.
Studio 4:02 Australian Collected Works video. Moderately rare. Not available new.
Studio 4:02 Back On The Breadline singles. Moderately rare. Not available new.
Studio 4:02 Anthology album. Moderately common. Available new in digital form.
Live 4:18 UK 12″/CD Back On The Breadline single. Moderately rare. Not available new.
Live 4:14 US Raw Material EP. Moderately rare. Not available new.
Live 4:37 1988 07 Live 16 Track Masters VHS PCM. The Vault digital download at True Believers, 25 May 2014.

 Recommended Version.

 

Commentary

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

This song spearheaded the North American campaign of 1987. We were signed to I.R.S. records, and ‘What’s A Few Men?’ would’ve been our second album with them. Unfortunately they couldn’t hear a single. Stoically, we wrote more. ‘Breadline’ was one amongst several which went on a compile with the best of the rest from the ‘What’s A Few Men?’ album. Oh, and they didn’t like the title of the album either. So we changed that too. We called this American record ‘Fate’.

Now all this feverish activity might sound like a torturous exercise in overkill. Some of the boys definitely thought so. Well, they were right, except that at the time we were gagging to crack it over there, and to be honest, we truly believed that all the polishing and manipulation would seriously make a difference. I could have sworn this song had ‘hit’ written all over it. How wrong can you be? Just before getting on the place, standing at the terminal gate, waiting to fly home after I’d been to what felt like every radio station in north America promoting the track, the managing director of the record company asked me, in all seriousness, “Hey young Fella, can you tell me, exactly what is ‘the breadline’?”

 

 

Lyrics

Stand in line
With your empty cup you’re still waiting
For the future of all your living hope
Wait for the incoming call

Your desperation
Where does it lead to false riches?
And the little girl’s greed, your still young
Oh, but you’ve tasted it all

Is that you?
You used to be so proud
Is that you?
Looking so hungry is that you?

Standing at the back of the breadline
The back of the breadline
The back of the breadline
Meet you where the daydreamers stand
Standing at the back of the breadline

You used to be
So careless and sure of your possessions
A moment before you got too restless
Got up and walked out the door

Don’t look to me
Look to the west the sun is setting
You’ve been second-guessed but there’s a future?
Bottom line is what you must believe in

Is that you?
You used to be so proud
Is that you?
Looking so hungry is that you?

Standing in the back of the breadline
The back of the breadline
The back of the breadline
Meet you where the daydreamers stand
Standing at the back of the breadline

Is that you?
You used to be so proud
Is that you?
Looking so hungry is that you?
Don’t look to me is that you?
You used to be free
Is that you?
Standing at the back of the breadline

Stand in line
With your empty cup you’re still waiting
For the future of all your living hope
Oh, but you’ve tasted it all

The back of the breadline
The back of the breadline
Meet you where the daydreamers stand
Standing at the back of the breadline