Sonic Youth – Bull In The Heather

“Bull in the Heather” is a song by Sonic Youth, released as the only single from their 1994 album Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star. The song was named after a racehorse. The horse was the winner of the 1993 Florida Derby. The horse was originally purchased by Arthur i. Klein as a yearling in 1991 at an […]

Bull in the Heather” is a song by Sonic Youth, released as the only single from their 1994 album Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star.

The song was named after a racehorse. The horse was the winner of the 1993 Florida Derby. The horse was originally purchased by Arthur i. Klein as a yearling in 1991 at an auction held in Saratoga, New York. Bull in the Heather went on to race in the Kentucky Derby and went off as the local track odds-on favorite at Churchill Downs. The name of the horse was a combination of the names of its parents. Sired by Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand (the name of a famous bull) and champion broodmare HeatherRose, Klein chose to name the horse ‘Bull in the Heather’. When asked for permission to lend the name of the horse to a Sonic Youth song, Klein consulted his sons because he had not heard of the band before. Upon hearing the band was artistically minded and avoided racial, ethnic or antisemitic lyrics, Klein agreed to allow the name to be used and waived any fees or royalties, much to the surprise of Sonic Youth and their management. Thurston and Kim originally found the name of the horse on a bumper sticker that Bob Nastanovich of Pavement had given them. In May 2007, NME magazine placed “Bull in the Heather” at number 48 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever. The song starts with a sound which is very recognizable in the music of Sonic Youth, by striking a tailed bridge guitar, in this case a Fender Jazzmaster, behind the bridge.

The song was covered by The Go! Team in 2007.

Media coverage

Song appears in Beavis and Butt-head fourth season 24 episode called “Mr. Anderson’s Balls” and in the first season of Daria in episode 9, “Too Cute.”

Tracklisting

  1. “Bull in the Heather” (LP Version) – 3:04
  2. “Razor Blade” – 1:06
  3. “Doctor’s Orders” (T.-vox version) – 4:20

The version of “Doctor’s Orders” on this single is different from the album version, featuring Thurston Moore on vocals instead of Kim Gordon.

Music video

The music video features former Bikini Kill and Le Tigre singer Kathleen Hanna dancing, throwing Thurston Moore about by his guitar and kissing Kim Gordon, while wearing speedos over her tights. During filming, Hanna gave Thurston a bloodied lip. The video is directed by Tamra Davis. The scenes of the guitarists jumping around on a bed were recreated from a photo Kim Gordon gave to Davis of Thurston when he was younger. In the video, Kim Gordon is five months pregnant.

Singles chart

Year Single Chart Peak
1994 “Bull in the Heather” Modern Rock Tracks No. 13
1994 “Bull in the Heather” UK Singles Chart No. 24


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