A Man Could Get Lost

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This article is about song; for single see A Man Can Get Lost, for digital release see Memorabilia / A Man Could Get Lost E.P.
A Man Could Get Lost
Track by Soft Cell
Year 1981
Written David Ball
Composed David Ball
Produced Daniel Miller
Genre synth pop
Single A Man Can Get Lost
Also in Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing
Demo Non Stop
Heat: The Remixes
Club Remixes EP 2018
Live EP 2019
Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret (box set)
“A Man Could Get Lost” is a song by Soft Cell, from their debut 1981 single A Man Can Get Lost.

Origin[edit | edit source]

“A Man Could Get Lost” was written by David Ball[1] in 1979[2] and has become one of earliest songs performed by the duo. The song describes the loneliness, sadness and anxiety occurring on the streets of a big city.

Record and release[edit | edit source]

“A Man Could Get Lost” was one of early Soft Cell tracks to be included on duo's debut single. It was recorded in Stage One Studio, December 1980, and produced by Daniel Miller. Track uses Almond's first take vocals.[3] Song appeared on mistitled 7″ single A Man Can Get Lost, as an A Side, and released on March 1981 with 12″ Memorabilia.

Other versions[edit | edit source]

Demo[edit | edit source]

A demo recording of “A Man Could Get Lost” indicates that initially song had completely different music and the second verse lacks overlapping lines from final version, which describe negative feelings of the character of the song. The demo was recorded in Leeds Polytechnics studio around 1979, along with many other early Soft Cell tracks. It first become widely known trough bootleg releases, such as Science Fiction Stories. It got first official release in 2005 with compilation of Soft Cell early demo recordings Demo Non Stop, then appeared as ‘early version’ on Keychains And Snowstorms box set in 2018.

Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing[edit | edit source]

“A Man Could Get Lost” was one of the single songs to be re-recorded for Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing remix mini-album in 1982. This version is instrumental and has additional percussion and scratch sound effects. It was also released as B side on Canadian 7" version of following single, What!.

Remixes[edit | edit source]

A remix of the song by Marcello was released as part Heat: The Remixes compilation in 2008. Another remix, by John of the Pleased Wimmin, was released on limited Club Remixes EP in 2018; this remix is instrumental and closer to Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing version.

Live versions[edit | edit source]

Live recordings of the song, both early and single versions, would appear on various bootlegs for a very long time. First official release can be marked by Keychains And Snowstorms box set, released in 2018: its DVD contains a footage of Soft Cell’s live show in Amnesia club, Leeds, May 1981, where single version of the song was performed.

On July 16, 2018, “A Man Could Get Lost” was recorded live in the Warehouse club, Leeds. A video fragment of the performance was shown in Soft Cell: Say Hello, Wave Goodbye documentary. The recording was released on limited 10″ EP on July 26, 2019, within deluxe Say Hello Wave Goodbye box set, and later in box set reissue of Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret in 2023.

Extended mix[edit | edit source]

An extended mix of the song was produced by Dave Ball for 2023 reissue of Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret album, which celebrated 42 years anniversary of its release. The track received longer instrumental intro and outro, with the latter getting scratch sounds from ‘Ecstatic’ version, new key chords and voice distortions replacing Almond's backing vocals, and featuring drums from “Memorabilia” more prominently.

Instrumental[edit | edit source]

Alongside remaster of original, extended mix and a live version, an instrumental of the song, subtitled ‘Original Daniel Miller Instrumental Version’, appeared on aforementioned Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret box set in 2023. However, it appears to belong to newer extended mix rather than original 1981 version, while completely lacking drums from “Memorabilia”.

Personnel[edit | edit source]

  • Original version
  • Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing version
    • Production – Mike Thorne
    • Engineering – Don Wershba
    • Mixing – Harvey Goldberg

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

Written by David Ball[1]

Out in the city
Out in the street
Isn't it pretty
Isn't it neat I like the decor
I like the glass
Inside the dummies
Stare as pass

Chorus:
Hi dear, bye dear
Get your and more
Hi dear, bye dear
Get your and more

I like the neon
(I look oh so hard)
I like the clash
(I find it so confusing)
I like the backdrops
(Street after street look so alike)
Window display
(Don't know just what I'm doing) I like the products
(Seems like a maze to me)
I pay the price
(I feel the danger)
There are so many
(Nobody speaks to you)
A man could get lost
(When your a stranger)

Chorus

And more

Out in the city
A man could get lost
Out in the neon
A man could get lost
A man could get lost (x5)

Availability[edit | edit source]

“A Man Could Get Lost” appears on following records.

Official releases
Year Title Type Version
1981 A Man Can Get Lost Single Original
1982 Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing EP Ecstatic version
What! 
(Canadian 7" version)
Single Ecstatic version
1996 Say Hello To Soft Cell Compilation Original
2006 Demo Non Stop Compilation Demo
2008 Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret (Deluxe Edition) Album Ecstatic version
Original
Heat: The Remixes Compilation Remix
2018 Keychains And Snowstorms Box set Original
Demo
Live (video)
Club Remixes EP 2018 EP Remix
2019 Live EP 2019 EP Live
2023 Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret (Ultimate Edition) Box set Original
Extended
Live
Instrumental
2024 Memorabilia / A Man Could Get Lost E.P. EP Original
Extended
Instrumental

Original, demo, ‘Ecstatic’, ‘Marcello Remix’ and extended versions are also available on streaming platforms.

Bootlegs
Title Type Version
Futurama Album Live
Live At The Warehouse Album Live
Live At The Retford Porterhouse Album Live
Big Frock Mutants Album Live
Science Fiction Stories Compilation Demo

Listen[edit | edit source]

Official uploads on YouTube

A Man Could Get Lost (Daniel Miller Vocal Edit) []
Original single version

A Man Could Get Lost (Early Version) []
Demo version

A Man Could Get Lost (Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing Version) []

A Man Could Get Lost (Marcello Remix) []

A Man Could Get Lost (Jon Pleased Wimmin Remix) []

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Soft Cell - Interview (Interview with Dave Ball). John Clarkson. 31 July 2008. (pennyblackmusic.co.uk)  archived
  2. Soft Cell: Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (documentary)
  3. Keychains And Snowstorms: The Soft Cell Story (box set book)
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