"Mermaid Smiled" is a song by Andy Partridge. It originally appeared on the 1986 album Skylarking, but the unexpected success of "Dear God" meant placing the latter on the album; "Mermaid Smiled" was chosen to be taken off to fit it. It would later be included on the odds-and-ends compilation Rag and Bone Buffet, and re-releases of Skylarking would re-include the song.

A brief recording of Andy's discovery of a "new" tuning which would be used for "Mermaid Smiled," titled "Mermaid Explanation," appeared on Fuzzy Warbles Volume 5 in 2004. The full demo follows immediately after "Explanation."


Andy: “This was briefly on Skylarking but when ‘Dear God’ - which wasn't on the album at first - became a hit something had to go and so I took off the shortest song.”

Andy (on the demo): “So I had some chords in a new tuning and I'd found a melody (that's the thing that goes duh, duh, duh), but I didn't have any words, apart from ‘smiled’. I knew I wanted it to be about the sea, that was all at this stage. So I slapped the back of my acoustic in lieu of bongos and made white noise waves, but what the hell was it about? I posted this (almost) instrumental to producer Todd Rundgren and in the meantime plundered a poem I'd written about lost childhood innocence, which I think was called ‘Book Full of Sea’, to supply requisite text. So here with mirror in hand is the one word, 99% finstrumental.”


From pools of xylophone clear

From caves of memory

I saw the children at heart

That we once used to be

Borne on foaming seahorse herd

Compose with trumpeting shell

From lines across their hands

A song as new as new moon

As old as all the sands

Shrank to stagnant from Atlantic wild

Lost that child 'til mermaid


Summoned by drum rolling surf

As laughing fish compel

The young boy woken in me

By clanging diving bell

Breakers pillow fight the shore

She wriggles free in the tide

I'm locked in adult land

Back in the mirror she slides

Waving with comb in hand

I was lucky to remain beguiled

Grown to child since mermaid


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