Touch of Class
By: Beck Hansen
Written by: Beck Hansen

Alternate Titles:

a.k.a. Cock

  1. Touch of Class
Touch of Class [Version (a)]:

(The lyrics never seem to be the same twice, but these are from November 28, 1994 version.)

Oh you got the chance
I just want to see you dance
Fuck it, claustrophobic boogie
Goin' on to the brink of dawn

Ah you hammer-time the brain
Insane in the mundane
That's class action

Ah yea, made you look
I'll be back to pick you up later
The Song:

"Touch of Class" is an energetic, fast instrumental, only known from live bootlegs.  It was seemingly limited to the fall of 1994. The tune is basically a mix of guitar distortion and monumental drumming. It may have been a jam, as there doesn't seem to be too much in the way of structure, but it's hard to tell!

There are some lyrics, sometimes. Beck did not sing at all on the jam from October 21 1994 (just some shouts), but a few days laters he was adding vocals. The recording on November 28 1994 is decent enough (see above), but by comparing, you can tell that Beck does not stick with these words on other performances. It was an ever-changing song, probably pure ad-lib.

Played live 9 times:
Earliest known live version: October 21, 1994
Latest known live version: December 18, 1994

The song is used to open the show at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA on October 24 1994. It fits in well with Beck's usual way of beginning his 1994 concerts: loud and fast. That night, following "Touch of Class," was "Fume," "Fuckin With My Head," and "Thunder Peel." While he changed setlists most nights, Beck pretty much always opened his 1994 shows rocking hard, grunge-style.

Beck introduced the song as "Touch of Class" on November 5 1994. He muttered some lyrics during the song, but they're difficult to discern, and probably relatively unimportant. Beck ended the song with "Get freaky all night, yeah! / Touch of class / Up your ass." This performance seems pretty tame compared to the one on October 24, though that could be due to the recording quality.

The version on November 28 1994 is probably my favorite. "All right, kids, this is called 'Touch of Class,'" Beck started. The drumming was again amazing, and the performance feels just a bit more groovy than other versions, and definitely more dynamic. Tonight the lyrics include the line "insane in the mundane," a phrase he used in one of his recorded versions of "Flavor."