The Bartender and the Thief


About The Bartender and the Thief

"The Bartender and the Thief" is a 1998 single by Welsh rock band Stereophonics. It was the first single taken from their second album Performance and Cocktails. It was released on 9 November 1998 and reached number three on the UK Singles Chart. The song is the second track on the Performance and Cocktails album. A live version from Cardiff Castle is available on CD2 of the single. Another live version from Sheffield Arena is on the "Moviestar" single. A bar version of the song is on CD 1 of the "I Wouldn't Believe Your Radio" single. The music video features the band playing at Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand and is based on the Francis Ford Coppola movie, Apocalypse Now. The song, which is one of their heavier tracks, is frequently played amongst their live sets. During live performances, vocalist Kelly Jones has been known to use the two bars without vocals before the final chorus to reference the Motörhead song "Ace of Spades". The lyrics therefore are "The ace of spades, the ace of spades. The bartender and the thief were lovers..." 


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When you think about it he's watching 
Every word you say hey dazed and when 
He's sussed you out he calls her up and out 
She comes and hustles us 
The bartender and the thief are lovers 
Steal what they need like sisters and brothers 
Met in a church a night to remember 
Robbing the graves of bodies dismembered 
He watched the lesbian talk she kissed and 
Groped but mostly talked in lust crushed 
He couldn't make the call his eyes were 
Gripped on licking tongues enough's enough 
Failed for once 
Long digging gone fishing love 
The bartender and the thief are lovers 
Steal what they need like sisters and brothers 
Met in a church a night to remember 
Robbing the graves of bodies dismembered 
Saved what they stole to meet at the alter 
Place where they first set eyes on each other 
Flew to the sun to start life all over 
Set up a bar and robbed all the locals

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Stereophonics are a Welsh rock band that formed in 1992 in the village of Cwmaman in Cynon Valley, Wales. The band currently comprises lead vocalist and guitarist Kelly Jones, bassist and backing vocalist Richard Jones, guitarist and backing vocalist, Adam Zindani and touring member Tony Kirkham (keyboards), the group having originally also included Stuart Cable on drums. Stereophonics have released seven studio albums, five of which have topped the UK Albums Chart. Their seventh, Keep Calm and Carry On, was released in November 2009 but did not make the Top 10. A successful compilation album was also released in November 2008 – Decade in the Sun charting at number two in the United Kingdom. The band is part of the Cardiff music scene. more »

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Written by: Kelly Jones, Stuart Cable, Richard Mark Jones

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

10 facts about this song

Songwriting and Inspiration
"The Bartender and the Thief" was written by Kelly Jones, Richard Jones and Stuart Cable. The song was inspired by the film "Primal Fear," which Kelly Jones watched while The Stereophonics were on a world tour.
Album Appearance
The song is the lead single from their second studio album, "Performance and Cocktails," released in 1999. It was released before the album itself, generating anticipation among fans and the music industry.
Chart Performance
The song was a commercial success, landing at number three on the UK Singles Charts and becoming one of Stereophonics' most successful singles.
Musical Style
Known for its loud and energetic style, "The Bartender and the Thief" deviated from Stereophonics' normal melodic, lyric-driven rock. Instead, it leans towards a heavier rock sound with strong, impressive guitar riffs.
Music Video
The music video was directed by Pedro Romhanyi and features the band playing in a cluttered room filled with lamps. A woman and a man are also seen communicating through morse code. The woman symbolizes 'the bartender' while the man represents 'the thief'.
Live Performances
This particular song is known for being an energetic opener for Stereophonics’ live shows because of its high energy level. It was performed live at the 2008 and 2010 Reading and Leeds Festivals.
"The Bartender and the Thief" won Best Single at the 1999 NME Award, demonstrating its popularity and positive reception.
Cultural Impact
The song has been used in several TV shows and films, highlighting its lasting cultural impact.
Song Interpretation
The song's lyrics are often interpreted as reflecting a tension-filled relationship or a doomed love affair, in line with the band's tradition of narrative songwriting.
Critics' Review
Critics have praised the song for its aggressive sound, strong guitar riffs, and Kelly Jones' unique vocal delivery, marking it as a standout track in Stereophonics' discography.

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