Everybody's got a new car, with the redundancy money they pay…

Steeltown was recorded at Fairview Studios, Willerby. The recording was engineered by Roy Neave and produced by Roy Neave and the Red Guitars.

The track was released in 7" (SCAR010) and 12" (SCAR010T) formats on Friday 22nd of June 1984 by Self Drive Records. Both versions had Within 4 Walls on the b-side.

Consett steelworks, once Europe's largest, was closed down by the Thatcher government in 1980. The song Steeltown was inspired by a visit to Consett in the aftermath of the closure when its devastating impact on the local community was becoming apparent.

The video below combines the opening sequence of Penny Woolcock's 1987 film "When the Dog Bites", shot in Consett, with some footage of Red Guitars performing "Steeltown" at the Leadmill, Sheffield on January 28th 1984.

The band performed Steeltown and Fact live on the BBC's Whistle Test on Friday 20th January 1984.

My Egypt by Charles Demuth, 1927. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

My Egypt by Charles Demuth, 1927. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


lyrics by Jeremy Kidd, music by Hal Lewis

I hear the steeltown is closing down,
All the mills are rusting.
Everybody's got a new car,
With the redundancy money they pay.
Things are looking grim,
See the wolves, they're closing in.
It doesn't matter how I vote,
The same confederacy of fools get in.

Eh-arrumba sing a simple song,
Steeltown is closing down.

Steel is the backbone,
Of every modern nation.
Mills are closing down,
There's an end to moderation.
The pound is coming down,
Economy's inflating.
People on the streets,
It's the second industrial revolution.

Eh-arrumba sing a simple song,
Steeltown is closing down.
Steal away a steeltown,
Steal away a way of life.

Terris Novalis, Consett by Oliver Dixon.

Terris Novalis, Consett © Oliver Dixon. (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Terris Novalis is a twenty times life-size pair of stainless steel sculptures depicting a theodolite and an engineer's level supported on bird and animal foot tripods. Created by Tony Cragg and installed in 1997 on the edge of the moors in County Durham it stands as a powerful memorial to the Consett Steelworks.

Steeltown quotes...

I had trouble sleeping after hearing the magnificent Steeltown.   Dave Henderson, Sounds, 10/11/84.

Ethereal and Haunting. I remember two kids writing and asking us to draw a diagram of a guitar fretboard showing where the harmonics were played in the intro. Shamefully I never replied. "Doesn't matter how I vote the same confederacy of fools gets in": Ain't that the truth.   JR

I remember doing this on Whistle Test. They had a decibel meter type thing which cut out the power if you played above acoustic level!   Matt

We played this on The Whistle Test. The band was supposed to be picking me up at Woodall services, but something went wrong and I had to hitch a lift. A hippy in a Morris Minor used the sun instead of an A-Z to get me to the BBC. We drove all round London. I got there just in the nick of time.   Lou