Heartbreak Beat :: The Psychedelic Furs
from the album, Midnight to Midnight
Heartbreak Beat was written by Richard Butler, John Ashton, and Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs. The song appeared on the band’s 1987 album, Midnight to Midnight, and was released as the first single in March of that same year.
The song is the band’s highest charting single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at # 26. It is their only “Top 40” hit. The song also reached the top 20 of both the Mainstream Rock and Dance charts.
Although he was born in the UK, the Psychedelic Furs’ front man Richard Butler considers himself a bonafide New Yorker and often finds inspiration from the Big Apple. With the Midnight to Midnight album, he hoped to capture the “very urban, very nighttime” feeling of the city after dark. He told Winner magazine in 1986:
“It’s my interpretation of being in a place. There’s a song called Heartbreak Beat, and it’s about that feeling when you walk through Washington Square Park and you’ve got all the boxes going and it sounds like this huge phase-shifter. New York has definitely affected the feel of the songs. I very much pick up on what’s around me, steal things, phrases, the feeling of being out at night in New York.”
Butler’s co-writers on the song were the group’s guitarist John Ashton and bass player Tim Butler (Richard’s brother).
Editor’s Note: The city at night, nights where you are out in it, feeling it, taking it all in with intent, desire and the mystery that sometimes fills all the spaces when you are going out, but you don’t quite know for what. Your heart beats a little faster, your pulse takes a double-time rhythm, and yes, sometimes it feels like the first flush of love. The first night I really went out in Los Angeles, I felt it, young and inexperienced, wide-eyed and wonder struck, I remember being head over heels about the being out in the city at night. Even now, though, not so young, and far from inexperienced, I still catch that rush when I drive into a city at night with everywhere and nowhere in particular waiting for me.