network news: boyzone v nocturnal emissions


Where did Boyzone's 1998 international hit No Matter What come from?

Was it really penned by multi-millionaire Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman, or did the song really come from a penniless underground techno group?

No Matter What They Told You
No Matter What They Sold You
No Matter What They Trained You To Believe....

No Separation was written by Nigel Ayers for his band Nocturnal Emissions in 1983.

The track first appeared on the LP Viral Shedding released by Illuminated Records that year.
The album, based on recycled musical components, carried a powerful ecological message.

Viral Shedding, an underground hit, very quickly established the foundations of Techno and the many derivatives that were to follow. It pointed a way for the new-emerging genre to break away from the isolated, mainly European roots of "industrial" music and EBM, and to include more multicultural elements in the masala.

No Separation was later slightly remixed with the assistance of members of 400 Blows for the Funky Alternatives compilation in 1984. One of the remixers, Tony Thorpe went on to join the multi-million selling KLF and then to work as the drum and bass pioneering Moody Boyz.

The Funky Alternatives compilation also included some of the early work of New Order, 23 Skidoo, Tackhead, DAF and Chris and Cosey. As a series it sold several hundred thousand copies in both LP and CD format. Nigel Ayers never received a penny for his efforts on this album.

On the strength of No Separation and the other tracks of Viral Shedding, Nocturnal Emissions became the first techno band ever to play at the hugely influential WOMAD Festival. No Separation remained an underground anthem for many years. Two versions of this song resurfaced on the Dark Vinyl CD Viral Shedding in 1992.

In 1998, Ayers dusted off the master tapes and produced an extended Revolutionary Industrial Trance version of this track for live appearances in Europe, from which bootlegs spread like wildfire.

Also in 1998, the Irish boy band, Boyzone released their own version of No Separation. Music was attributed to Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Jim Steinman and it was retitled No Matter What. This version transformed the essentially upbeat ecological message of Nocturnal Emissions into a pitiful consumerist ballad riddled with superstitious delusions.

Although Webber has powerful business interests, which the copyright laws are designed to protect, he and Steinman are obviously not the sole authors of this hugely successful song.
And as usual, Mr Ayers received no royalties.

Just to set the facts straight, we now reproduce the Nocturnal Emissions version of this song, alongside its sad parody:

No Separation
(Nocturnal Emissions, 1983)
No Matter What
(Boyzone, 1998)
No matter what they told you
No matter what
No matter what they sold you
No matter what they trained you to believe
This is the truth, youth (yeah)
This is the truth, youth

No Separation
There is no separation
There is none
(Bar tat bar tat bar titty bar tat)
(Bar tat bar tat bar titty bar tat)
No Separation
There is no separation
There is none

We can put things together
We will survive
We are human
We are animals

No matter what they bought you
No matter what they taught you
No matter what they told you was rude

One thing I know
Two things I know
Three things I know
And four things for sure

There is no separation
There is no separation
There is none

And remember
There will be a next week
And a next year

No matter what they tell us
No matter what they do
No matter what they teach us
What we believe is true
No matter what they call us
However they attack
No matter where they take us
We'll find our own way back

(Ooh) I can't deny what I believe
I can't be what I'm not
(I'll know our love)
I'll know our love forever
(I know) I know no matter what

(Ooh) If only tears were laughter
If only night was day (ooh)
If only prayers were answered (hear my prayers)
Then we would hear God say (say)

(Ooh) no matter what they tell you
No matter what they do (ooh)
No matter what they teach you
What you believe is true

And I will keep you safe and strong
(And sheltered) and sheltered from the storm
(No matter where) no matter where it's barren
(A dream) a dream is being born

No matter who they follow
No matter where they lead
No matter how they judge us
I'll be everyone you need

No matter if the sun don't shine
(The sun don't shine)

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