Man Next Door

Let’s end this year with a real reggae standard. It’s John Holt’s “Man Next Door”, also known as “I’ve Got To Get Away” or – as Horace Andy called it – “Quiet Place”. The song dates back to 1967 when John Holt wrote it and recorded it with the Paragons. At that time it was still called “I’ve Got To Get Away”. Since then the song has been covered and versioned numerous times.

We kick things off with one of the best and surely one of the most popular versions. Dennis Brown slowed the tempo down a bit, allowing the vocals to slide in and out of the rhythm. It was probably also Brown who gave the tune the “Man Next Door” title.

Massive Attack and Horace Andy turned the song in something much more heavy and dark. They slowed it down even more and added a sample from an old track by the Cure along with a big beat and their dub signature. Here’s their version combined with footage from a sixties Samuel Beckett movie. It’s a perfect fit with both music and images being threatening and claustrophobic.

Then there’s also the punky reggae party the Slits made of it. Live in Berlin and very tribal. The Slits released the song as a single in 1980, reaching number 5 on the UK Indie Charts with it. This video is all about punk, funk, rhythm, dub and fun.

To end this post, here’s the original tune with John Holt and the Paragons.

And of course there’s much more, from Horace Andy performing the song with King Tubby and The Aggrovators, up untill Bill Laswell dubbing Horace Andy’s version and rechristening it yet again, this time as A Noisy Place. For a big list of versions, take a look over at Versions Galore.

By the way, it’s also nice to hear a reggae artist simply expressing his frustration at the amount of noise his neighbour makes upon returning home late at night.

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