Burnt Orange Peel
By: Beck Hansen

Written by: Beck Hansen

  1. Burnt Orange Peel (1:37)
    Available on One Foot In The Grave and 1 other release.
    Beck Hansen: Producer, Vocals
    Calvin Johnson: Producer
Burnt Orange Peel [Version (a)]:

In all the world of things to be
I got a garden hose and a colour tv
I got time on my hands
I got time on my hands
Nobody cares what I do!

In all the world of things to do
I got a burnt orange peel and a potato stew
I got work to get done
Got work to get done
Nobody knows where to run!

I've got a quart of milk
Got some sound advice
Got some trees that are fake
But they smell so nice
Don't give me the flu!
Nobody knows why we puke!

Back and forth, I dodge a fly
Like a feather in the sky
Write me out a check
Give me all your cash
Nobody knows!
So just go home!
The Song:

Calvin Johnson, when once asked about the One Foot in the Grave sessions, remembered that Beck wrote most of the songs on the spot. While most of Beck's folk songs hang around awhile, and have more thought in them than that he lets on, it was on punky songs like "Burnt Orange Peel" that Beck's improvising is on display. The song displays the lo-fi band's chemistry, clearly having a good time playing and creating this warped punk song.

Played live 18 times:
Earliest known live version: March 30, 1994
Latest known live version: March 19, 2009


Live versions of "Burnt Orange Peel" popped up every so often throughout 1994. We only know of a few, but I'm assuming there were some more. One performance on June 29, 1994, was a loud and fast grunge-fest. This arrangement sounds more than a little bit like "Pink Noise." A fast intro led into the main song, where Beck shouted the words at the top of his lungs. But then it screeched to a halt after the third verse, though with a bit of jamming before it ends.

1997 POTATO STEW version

On the Odelay tour, Beck played the song 5 times that we know about--all in a two-week span in April.

2001 CARTON OF MILK version

Strangely, the song returned from almost out of nowhere to be played again in June/July, 2001. It was done a few times as an encore during Beck's European tour . . . usually as a companion piece to the new "abrasive punk song," "Bad Energy" ("Burnt Orange Peel" was played only once without it). During this time, it was fairly widely reported that Beck wanted to record a punk rock album, and if these two songs are any indication, that could be true!


Three other times Beck has played the song that we know of that don't fall in with any other instances of the song. In June 1996 at the Tibetan Freedom Concert Festival. Once in June 1998. And once in March 2009 (right before One Foot deluxe was released.

I have not heard enough of the 1997 and 2001 versions to know yet how they compare. The March 2009 version was fast and had 4 verses like the record (tho he seems to be making up whatever for the third, and repeats the 2nd as the 4th). It also had a slightly longer coda, ending the song a bit more formally than the album.