Psychedelic Furs frontman Richard Butler: ‘Pretty in Pink’ got song all wrong

SHARE Psychedelic Furs frontman Richard Butler: ‘Pretty in Pink’ got song all wrong

As The Psychedelic Furs visit Chicago this week for three sold-out shows at City Winery, they’re reuniting with the former hometown of a man whose work resurrected their 1981 song “Pretty in Pink” — for better or, from an artistic standpoint, worse.


When:8 p.m. Jan 4-6 (doors open at 6)

Where: City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph


As the story goes, the late Chicago-area writer-director John Hughes titled his 1986 movie after the Furs tune after it was introduced to him by the film’s star, Molly Ringwald. When the movie became a hit, its re-released title track — made smoother and more upbeat for cinematic purposes — charted in the U.S. for the first time. But the Furs weren’t exactly pleased with the way Hughes incorporated their composition.

“The song was about a girl who kinda sleeps around and thinks it’s really cool and thinks everybody really likes her, but they really don’t,” Furs frontman Richard Butler told Mojo Magazine in 2010. “She’s just being used. It’s quite scathing.”

Hughes’ flick is a high school rom-com.

“We did the song and were very pleased with it,” Butler told Mojo of the band’s original and rougher version. “It wasn’t that we were disappointed it wasn’t a hit to begin with — at that point, we didn’t know what was going on or whether any of them were singles or whether we were that kind of band. A few years later, Molly Ringwald took it to John Hughes and said, ‘I love this song, we should use it for a movie.’ He took it away, listened to it and wrote ‘Pretty In Pink,’ which totally got the whole thing wrong. It was nothing like the spirit of the song at all. It’s really hard to say whether it was damaging for us. I suppose we got tied in with the story of the film, and if that’s what people thought the story was about and didn’t look much further than that, they were getting a very false impression.”

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