|Single by Neneh Cherry|
|from the album Man|
|Studio||Cherry Bear, Westside Studios (London, England)|
|Neneh Cherry singles chronology|
|'Woman' on YouTube|
By Neneh Cherry, Booga Bear and Robert Delnaja, from Raw like Sushi Db Is it the pain of the dr E inking or the s Ab uddenly sinking fe Db eling Dbsus4 Db.
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'Woman' is a song by Swedish singer-songwriter Neneh Cherry from her 1996 album, Man. Written by Cherry, her husband Cameron McVey, and Jonathan Sharp, the song was created as a take on James Brown's 1966 hit 'It's a Man's Man's Man's World'. The song's lyrics describe the difficulties women face in life, allowing Cherry to be seen as an empowering female recording artist.
Released in June 1996, 'Woman' became one of Cherry's biggest, though one of her last, hits in Europe and Australia, reaching the top 10 in Finland, Hungary, Iceland, the United Kingdom and the Wallonia region of Belgium.
Music & Media wrote that the song is Cherry's 'own take on James Brown's It's a Man's Man's World ('this is a woman's world/ it's my world'). Even the melodies and chord changes sound the same, but this track obviously has a message: it's a tribute to femininity and its loving, caring power.' Writing for NME , Dele Fadele noted that the singer's 'forages into soul possess an irreverence that lift otherwise earnest pastiches', stating that 'Woman' rewrites Brown's song as a 'feminist tract'.
Neneh Cherry Songs
'Woman' was released as a single in June 1996, becoming Cherry's last substantial hit. It reached number two in Iceland, number three in Walloon Belgium, number four in Finland and Hungary, and number nine on the UK Singles Chart. In her native Sweden, the song peaked at number 20 in its second week, spending 10 weeks on the Swedish Singles Chart. Elsewhere in Europe, the single reached the top 20 in Flemish Belgium, France, Norway and Switzerland. On the Eurochart Hot 100, it peaked at number 21 during its second week on the chart, after a debut at number 37. In Australasia, 'Woman' was moderately successful, peaking at number 17 in Australia and number 35 in New Zealand. The song has received a Gold certification in France, denoting sales greater than 250,000.
After the success of 'Woman', Cherry stated that she felt she was pushing her limits with the level of fame she was experiencing, claiming that the success she was receiving was enjoyable, but it was not completely what she wanted. She explained, 'The idea behind making 'Buffalo Stance' and Raw Like Sushi wasn't to be famous, it was to change things and do things the way that we do them, always with an idea of activism or a kind of rebellion.'
European promotional CD single
French CD single
French promotional 12-inch single
UK promotional 12-inch single
UK CD single – Remixes
Charts and certifications
In popular culture
In 2018 the song was used in a TV advertisement for L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara.
- ^'New Releases: Singles'(PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
- ^Fadele, Dele. 'Neneh Cherry – Man'. NME. Archived from the original on 17 August 2000. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- ^ ab'Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (14.9 – 20.9. '96)'. Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 14 September 1996. p. 41. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
- ^ abc'Ultratop.be – Neneh Cherry – Woman' (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^ ab'Neneh Cherry: Woman' (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^ ab'Top 10 Hungary'(PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 33. 17 August 1996. p. 30. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- ^ ab'Official Singles Chart Top 100'. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^ abc'Swedishcharts.com – Neneh Cherry – Woman'. Singles Top 100. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^ ab'Eurochart Hot 100 Singles'(PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 33. 17 August 1996. p. 28. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- ^ ab'Australian-charts.com – Neneh Cherry – Woman'. ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^ ab'Charts.nz – Neneh Cherry – Woman'. Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^ ab'French single certifications – Neneh Cherry – Woman' (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
- ^Conroy, Catherine (11 April 2016). 'Neneh Cherry: 'There is a very shallow, sexualised entrapment that women get sucked into''. The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^Woman (European CD single promo sleeve). Neneh Cherry. Virgin Records. 1996. HUTCDP70.CS1 maint: others (link)
- ^Woman (French CD single liner notes). Neneh Cherry. Delabel Records. 1996. 7243 8 93698 2 3.CS1 maint: others (link)
- ^Woman (French 12-inch single promo vinyl disc). Neneh Cherry. Delabel Records. 1996. DE 8139.CS1 maint: others (link)
- ^Woman (UK 12-inch single promo sleeve). Neneh Cherry. Hut Records. 1996. HUTTP 70.CS1 maint: others (link)
- ^Woman (UK remix CD single liner notes). Neneh Cherry. Hut Records, Virgin Records. 1996. HUTDX70, 7243 8 93690 2 1.CS1 maint: others (link)
- ^'Austriancharts.at – Neneh Cherry – Woman' (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^'Ultratop.be – Neneh Cherry – Woman' (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^'Lescharts.com – Neneh Cherry – Woman' (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^'Offiziellecharts.de – Neneh Cherry – Woman'. GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^'The Irish Charts – Search Results – Woman'. Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^ 'Nederlandse Top 40 – week 34, 1996' (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^'Dutchcharts.nl – Neneh Cherry – Woman' (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^'Norwegiancharts.com – Neneh Cherry – Woman'. VG-lista. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^'Notowanie nr770'. LP3 (in Polish). 1 November 1996. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- ^'Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100'. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^'Swisscharts.com – Neneh Cherry – Woman'. Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^'Rapports annuels 1996' (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^'1996 Year-End Sales Charts: Eurochart Hot 100 Singles'(PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 51/52. 21 December 1996. p. 12. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- ^'Tops de L'année Top Singles 1996' (in French). SNEP. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- ^'Árslistinn 1996'. Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 2 January 1997. p. 25. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
- ^'Swiss Year-End Charts 1996' (in German). Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- ^'L'Oréal Paris – The power of cosmetics, voluminous Original mascara beauty ads short ads 2018'. YouTube Short Ads. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
- Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
Rock critics of a certain age have written hundreds of articles (and in one case, an entire book) about the moment in 1972 when David Bowie draped his arm around guitarist Mick Jones on Top of the Pops and jump started a sexual revolution.
Less has been written about Neneh Cherry’s appearance on the same show 16 years later, but for young women and girls across the UK, it was just as important.
Dressed in a black mini-skirt, gold bra and high-top trainers, she rapped, skipped and spun through her hit Buffalo Stance with a huge gold medallion draped over her prominent baby bump.
Her appearance echoed the song’s lyrical celebration of womanhood, putting sexual self-confidence and maternity firmly on the pop agenda.
Predictably, not everyone was impressed. One critic asked Cherry if it was safe to perform when she was seven months pregnant. “Yes, of course!” she replied. “It’s not an illness.
“It’s what your body is made to do, for Christ’s sake. And anyway performing generates a lot of good energy.”
But other viewers were captivated by the star’s electrifying stage presence. A week after her Top of the Pops debut, Buffalo Stance shot into the top 10.
Her second daughter, Tyson, was born eight weeks later, at the same time as Cherry was putting the finishing touches to her debut album, Raw Like Sushi.
Released in June 1989, the record was a vital, energetic blend of street rap and sweet soul, with Cherry addressing topics like urban deprivation, emotional blackmail and the challenges of parenthood.
“Think of this newcomer as the Joni Mitchell of hip-hop,” enthused the Chicago Sun-Times in its review.
“That’s a bit much, isn’t it?” laughs the singer, as she talks to the BBC in 2020.
“I guess I always wanted to write songs that mean something – but at the same time, I wouldn’t say I write directly political lyrics. They always end up being about being human.”
Those words, combined with Raw Like Sushi’s pulsating pop melodies, definitely struck a chord. Raw Like Sushi sold more than 100,000 copies in its first week, went platinum four months later, and Cherry was nominated for best new artist at both the Brits and the Grammy Awards.
To celebrate the album tuning 30 (30-and-a-half, to be precise) it’s being re-released with two discs of bonus tracks and remixes, and Cherry agreed to share the story of those songs, track-by-track.
“It’s going to be an interesting journey because I don’t really listen to the album,” she remarks. “And when I do, I’m like, ‘My God, you sound like a little kid!'”
A Buffalo Stance is “an attitude you have to have in order to get by”, Cherry told the New York Times in 1989. “It’s not about fashion but about survival in inner cities and elsewhere.”
The song started life as the B-side to Jamie Morgan’s Looking Good Diving, with a rap Cherry composed as she visited her local supermarket.
“I stepped up on the kerb and, as my foot came down, I was like, ‘Who’s that gigolo on the street?‘” says the singer. “And pretty much between going into the store and coming out, I had half of the rap.
“I remember doing the second half, ‘The girls with the curls and the padded bras,’ back in my house, and we more or less did the song in an afternoon.”
Although Morgan’s single flopped, Cherry’s B-side caught the ear of Bomb The Bass’s Tim Simenon, who asked to remix it for her album, adding samples from Miami’s Chicken Yellow (for the sax riff) and Malcolm McLaren’s Buffalo Gals (for the hip-hop scratches).
“It was amazing going into the studio with Tim,” says Cherry. “He had such a clear idea of what he wanted to do. He was like, ‘I don’t want any harmonies, I just want the vibe.’
“And thank God he had the vision because I never would have gone back and considered re-doing [Looking Good Diving]. To us, it was like done, ready, whoop, doop, forgotten about.”
Cherry’s second single was an accusatory but compassionate ballad about a man who has some growing up to do. The haunting lyrics and sumptuous strings, recorded at Abbey Road, signified there was more to the singer than the upbeat party vibes of Buffalo Stance.
“I was on the bus after going to see Matt Johnson from The The,” says Cherry. “And I started singing ‘Is it the pain of the drinking or the Sunday sinking feeling?’
“I just had that phrase in my head. Then I went home and found the chords and just totally went off piste.”
Cherry attributes the song’s unusual chord progression to a Casio keyboard she borrowed from her partner Cameron McVey (credited on the album as Booga Bear).
“It had this little auto-chord accompaniment system,” she explains. “Cameron, who’s a great musician and a great songwriter, didn’t really know how to play, so he was always pulling out and finding strange chord sequences on that [keyboard] when we wrote together.
“And when I sent that song to my stepdad, Don Cherry, who was a jazz musician, he said, ‘Damn, there’s seven chords in the verse. That’s not bad!'”
Kisses On The Wind
One of the album’s most pop-forward moments, Kisses On The Wind tells the story of a young girl on the cusp of womanhood – “She was the first girl to turn the boys on” – and how that affects her confidence and friendships.
“It’s a really difficult time, isn’t it?” says Cherry. “Because you come to an age where you start having all these feelings, right? You’re almost longing for it. But at the same time the attention you’re drawing to yourself is kind of overwhelming and embarrassing.
“You go from thinking you’re a grown-up to feeling nine-and-a-half in an instant.”
Neneh Cherry 7 Seconds
Cherry says there are elements of autobiography to the lyrics, but the song was also inspired by watching girls on New York’s Lower East Side, where she lived in her early teens.
“They were young women I was fascinated with, or very much in awe of, who seemed to be very much holding their own and very beautiful – but also very vulnerable and quite fragile.”
Inna City Mamma
Inna City Mamma opens with a sample from Stevie Wonder’s Living For The City – “New York, just like I pictured it” – which was a direct inspiration for the album’s fourth and final single.
“There’s a bit in that song where it just goes from telling the story of this young girl, her legs are sturdy, she’s growing up in the countryside, to someone getting off a bus and arriving in the city,” recalls Cherry. “Then they get thrown in jail and you hear the gate being shut, and a voice goes, ‘You’ve got 10 years’.
“I listened to that track a lot when I was growing up. So it inspired another version of that New York City story, through my own eyes.”
It’s not a flattering portrait. “I trusted you and you crushed me to a pulp,” sings Cherry as the song draws to a close.
“What I was trying to do was portray New York as a lover,” she says. “It’s an interesting city because after you’ve been there for a while, you become part of the city and it becomes part of you. Not many places affect you like that. So Inna City Mamma was my way of trying to have a conversation with the actual place.”
The Next Generation
A song encouraging young men and women to accept the responsibilities of sex and parenthood, The Next Generation also addresses the brutal realities of child-rearing: “They keep you awake at night sometimes and mess on your clothes [and] you worry about whether it’s really worth the sacrifice.”
“There was a lot of dialogue at the time about pro-choice, anti-abortion, contraception – all of which are still big themes now,” says the singer.
“Teenagers in a lot of places don’t have access to birth control and end up with unwanted babies. But I also wanted to sing about the beauty of life, so there were a few different threads to that conversation.”
Crucially, Cherry was delivering this message as a mother, promoting her record while raising a newborn baby and her six-year-old daughter Naima.
“In retrospect, I’m like, ‘Bloody hell, I’m not sure how I did that,’ but I was determined to make it work.
“That was a thing, as a woman, as a mother, doing the kind of music that I’d chosen to make, I really wanted to break through those boundaries and step out of the norm.”
And she says travelling with her family stopped her from being swept up in the whirlwind of Raw Like Sushi’s success.
“Finishing a day’s promo and lying in a bed, breastfeeding Tyson was such a blessing. There wasn’t any space to get drawn into any of that extraterrestrial crap.”
The second half the album opens with a soulful reflection on a failing relationship, and it deliberately swerved away from the strident tracks of Side A.
“I didn’t want to get trapped in being bombastic or shouty or cheeky,” says Cherry. “So I put some elements in there from a more thoughtful perspective.
“A lot of the songs are fundamentally about being a woman, wanting to survive, needing to fight back, not wanting to be an underdog. But we all end up in these more complex situations where you can’t be like that, or it takes a while to get there and defend yourself.
“That’s where Love Ghetto came from.”
Chautauqua branchtrainz forget. CHAUTAUQUA BRANCH - Trainz Forge. The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) was one of the largest and most influential railroads in American history. It had a myriad of lines running from the east coast to Chicago. Four of those lines operated in Western New York and Pennsylvania, two to Buffalo, one to Rochester, and one through Salamanca and Olean to Warren and Oil City Pennsylvania.
One of the album’s funniest and most caustic songs, Heart is addressed to a woman who’s stolen Cherry’s boyfriend. “Everybody knows you’re a phony,” she chastises. “You just want his alimony.“
“I can’t exactly remember the essence of where I was and how the tune came together, but it is quite vicious,” says Cherry.
“It’s almost an answer to the song before – about the moment you get to a place where you go, ‘Do you know what? That’s enough now.'”
“That song actually came from a friend of mine, Vivien Goldman, telling me about some dodgy guy she’d been seeing, and how he’d been seeing someone else on the side.
“I’m sure Viv said, ‘The worst thing is that these women he’s hanging out with are just phonies.’ No disrespect to the beautiful women, but these were kind of tacky girls.
“And so Phoney Ladies came from that conversation… I wrote it in my kitchen in Kensal Rise. The bed and my kitchen are my favourite working places!”
Outré Risqué Locomotive
There’s a lot of sex on Raw Like Sushi, but this is the only song where Cherry gives in to lust. “My body’s clean but my mind is so bad,” she purrs over an irresistible funk groove.
“The sound of Prince was probably floating around in our minds,” she says. “He was such a big part of everything at that time.”
In a 1989 documentary about the making of the album, Cherry is seen recording the vocals just 10 days before her due date, clearly in some discomfort.
“I was literally standing with my leg up on a chair singing that song, having weird little contractions,” she recalls.
“Quincy Jones said he’d never record a pregnant woman, which I think is a little bit extreme, but it definitely affects your vocals. Everything is squished, so your diaphragm isn’t at full capacity.”
So Here I Come
A blistering coda, So Here I Come sees Cherry deliver her manifesto, “If you’re gonna do it, you got to do it right“, before she signs off for good.
But the song also paints a vivid picture of her upbringing, including the crushing disappointment of her first day at school.
“I’ll never forget it,” she says. “I was so proud of the fact I could read and I wanted to show my teacher, but she just basically ignored me.
“I suppose in her mind she didn’t want to treat me different to anyone else in the class but it was heartbreaking.
“I didn’t last at school for very long. I’m so thankful my parents had the guts to say, ‘This situation isn’t right, let’s work it out.’
“To have that understanding and that faith is brilliant. And that’s why I’m still here.”
Woman Neneh Cherry Strings Chords Guitar
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Neneh Cherry Wikipedia