Story of the Song: Bohemian Like You, The Dandy Warhols (2000)

Robert Webb
Friday 23 September 2011 00:00

A defining song of the last decade, "Bohemian Like You" is rooted in rock's paradigmatic "cars'n'girls" format. Courtney Taylor-Taylor, the Dandy Warhol's guitarist and principal songwriter, was at his apartment window watching traffic pull up at the lights below. "An early Eighties BMW 320i stops there with an amazing looking young woman behind the wheel," he says. "Her elbow was hangin' out the window at a jaunty angle and her roots were showing. She had a cool tattoo and her face was exquisite."

As the lights changed and she pulled away, Taylor-Taylor reached for his guitar and began spontaneously strumming the chords to a new song, "Bohemian Like You", inspired by his fleeting vision of loveliness. With no idea who she was, and knowing nothing else about her, he began to fantasise about what a relationship would be like with the car girl, who by now had evaporated in the evening rush. His composition took the shape of a one-sided conversation. "My silly little brain ran amok with the dream of love and vintage motor malfunctions," he says. "It was only natural to weave it into a song on the spot. I was overwhelmed, ya know?"

"Bohemian Like You" was recorded at a warehouse in downtown Portland, Oregon, one of a clutch of new numbers for the album 'Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia'. An obvious single, it failed to make the Top 40 until it was re-issued in 2001, following its use in a mobile phone advert. And the car girl? "Sadly I never saw her again, although I asked around a lot with my German-car buddies," says Taylor-Taylor. "One dude told me she was a pastry chef. Needless to say I ate a lot of pastries that week."

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments