a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

Come Home Billy Bird

Come Home Billy Bird

>>> See history (releases, charts by countries)
22nd March 2004

>>> See credits...

The first single from Absent Friends was ‘Come Home Billy Bird’ which was actually the first post-Regeneration to be premiered in early 2002. Despite being quite well-known from the fan-base, here the new version of ‘Billy’ was a totally reworked orchestral version. Backed with vocals by Lauren Laverne (famous BBC radio DJ, and former Kenickie member), the song had then a commercial appeal.
Released one week prior the release of the album the single took advantage of the major promotion offered by EMI. On the other hand, since 2001 a page had been turned, and the press was less interested in 90’s band, when newcomers were more exciting to talk about (Franz Ferdinand were the main buzz at the time). Anyway, the single did quite well, reaching number #25 in the UK charts which is slightly better than Love What You Do.


As usual to boost the sales, the single came within 3 formats. As a CD single, a maxi CD or as a 7” record. Their covers feature a photo shoot of Neil Hannon walking by the sea early in the morning, the second one being also included on the album’s booklet. A promotional film was done by Dennis Madden during this and the album photo sessions, perhaps as an early idea for a music video (not sure though); and it’d end just being used for an advert. The proper music video is an animation produced by French director duo Kuntzel+Deygas. It recalls the story of the song: the businessman Billy Bird wakes up after a hangover and runs to his flights to catch up his son playing football. The result is quite convincing with funny faces of Neil Hannon, and a few references to France. The video is included as a CD-ROM track on the maxi CD.
The concept is that the maxi CD includes the regular version of the title track, the video, and as B-sides an alternative version (here a demo, arranged like when it was first played live) of the title track plus another song. On the other hand the CD single includes only one B-side. These 2 B-sides were not unfamiliar to the fanbase at the time. Indeed Idaho and Girl Least Likely were played live over the previous years.

Finally, the 7” single comes with a new song, ‘All Things’. That song, would also be available on CD thanks to the Absent Friends Companion bonus disc, along with the two other songs from the Single/Maxi.