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Music / Prefab Sprout

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Now my rhythm ain't so hot, but it's the only friend I've got,
I'm the king of rock 'n' roll completely.
All the pretty birds have flown now I'm dancing on my own,
I'm the king of rock 'n' roll completely.
"The King Of Rock'n Roll"

Prefab Sprout are an English Sophisti-Pop band who were most popular in the 1980s. The band is led by singer-songwriter and only constant member Paddy McAloon. For most of their career, the band consisted of McAloon (lead vocals, guitar, other instruments), his brother Martin (bass), Wendy Smith (vocals, keyboards, guitar) and Neil Conti (drums). Smith and Conti left the band in 2000, while Martin McAloon continued to be listed as a member until 2010.



  • Swoon (1984)
  • Steve McQueen (1985)
  • From Langley Park to Memphis (1988)
  • Protest Songs (1989)
  • Jordan: The Comeback (1990)
  • Andromeda Heights (1997)
  • The Gunman and Other Stories (2001)
  • Let's Change the World With Music (2009)
  • Crimson/Red (2013)
  • I Trawl the Megahertz (2019)note 


Tropes associated with Prefab Sprout

  • Big Applesauce: "Hey Manhattan!"
  • Car Song: "Cars and Girls" is a Stealth Parody in the verses and an aversion in the chorus.
  • Christian Rock: The closing sequence of Jordan: The Comeback toys with it but remains ambiguous enough to avert the trope. However, Let's Change The World With Music ditches the ambiguity and definitely qualifies.
  • Deaf Composer: In 2013, McAloon revealed that he had tinnitus, which limited his ability to record in the studio.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Swoon has a jangly, guitar driven Indie Pop sound instead of the Sophisti-Pop style that they would perform for the rest of their career.
  • Eagleland: Paddy's love of Americana comes across quite strongly in several of the albums.
  • Epic Rocking: Mostly averted, but "I Trawl The Megahertz" clocks in at 22:06.
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  • Fun with Acronyms: Missing his girlfriend who was away in the French town of Limoges, Paddy set about writing a song with the word "Limoges" in it. The result was Prefab Sprout's debut single, "Lions In My Own Garden: Exit Someone".
  • I Am the Band: Though he used to deny it, Paddy McAloon basically was for most of the band's tenure. Due to his ongoing health issues this trope is now in full effect as they essentially make it impossible for him to work with other musicians and Paddy has openly admitted that he can now only work on his own.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Discussed in "Appetite":
    So if you take - Then put back good
    If you steal - be Robin Hood
  • Market-Based Title: Steve McQueen was titled Two Wheels Good in the U.S. after the actor's estate objected.
  • New Sound Album: Every single one of them.
  • Oop North: They come from County Durham.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: "rollmo" in "Machine Gun Ibiza". It's become a running joke in the fandom.
  • Rock-Star Song: "The King of Rock'n'Roll", "Electric Guitars."
    We were songbirds, we were Greek gods, we were singled out by fate
    We were quoted out of context; it was... great!
  • Self-Demonstrating Song: "Goodbye Lucille #1 (Johnny Johnny)", the second time the chorus comes around:
    Life's not complete 'til your heart's missed a (drum fill) beat
  • Spoken Word in Music: Most of I Trawl The Megahertz, especially the title track. Paddy wrote it while recovering from eye surgery which left him blind and insomniac, so he spent his nights listening to call-in radio shows, recording some of it and editing it into one long monologue which he then had Yvonne Connors recite.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Done deliberately in "The King of Rock'n'Roll", as a quote from the fictional novelty song that was the narrator's only hit.
    Hot dog! Jumping frog! Albequerque!