They Don’t Know (cover versions 1)

This is a collection of cover versions of ‘They Don’t Know’ up till 2005. Please be patient, this page takes a while to load. There is another page which covers 2006 onwards

Tracey Ullman (1983)

Tracey Ullman’ version went up to Number 2 in September 1983 (and US #8).

Janine Olsen (1983)

Janine recorded it as ‘Sie Werden Es Nie Verstehn’, translating as ‘They will never understand’ so presumably a reasonably faithful lyric.

Subterfuge (1988)

From Germany, Subterfuge released it as a B Side in 1988 (the A side was another cover: REO Speedwagon’s ‘Keep on loving you’).

Gigolo Aunts (1994)

Volume Ten - Gigolo Aunts - They Dont Know

Gigolo Aunts’ version appeared on the Magazine Volume (Issue 10).

Young Fresh Fellows (1996)

Their cover is on the 1996 album ‘A Tribute To Music’.

Tracey Ullman (1998)

Tracey Takes On... They Don't Know

A strange one, this!

The Holsteins (1999)

Irish outfit The Holsteins recorded it in 1999 and their version is on ‘Covers & Others’, an Irish collection on Immortal Recordings.

Departure Lounge (2000)

Tim Keegan’ outfit covered TDK on ‘Out of there’.

Gas Giants (2000)

Gas Giants from Tempe, Arizona recorded the song on their Quitter CD single.

Ben Gibbard

Ben Gibbard - They Don't Know (Live Acoustic On KEXP)

Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie played it live on KEXP.

Kamino (2000)

Belgian band Kamino feature TDK as well as ‘You and Me Baby’ on the flip side of ‘I Have Got To Love Me’

Bucky (2000)

Other live outings for the song included The Postal Service and Bucky, who performed it on Kirsty’s May 2000 tour “like the Lemonheads trashing of He’s on the beach”. Kirsty liked it!


From Japan, Cartoon Characters released a song called ‘They Don’t Know About Us’ in 2002 on the compilation album ‘Chaan! Ban!’ but it’s not Kirsty’s song.

Dawn Eden & Anderson Council (2002)

"They Don't Know" performed by The Anderson Council featuring Dawn Eden (2002)

Dawn Eden & the Anderson Council recorded TDK on ‘The Stiff Generation: If It Ain’t Stiff It Ain’t Worth A Tribute’ in 2002.

Kenny Howes and the Yeah! (2002)

Kenny Howes and the yeah Cover of "They dont know"

Kenny from Atlanta covered TDK on ‘Until Dawn’.

Leslie Carter (2003)

Leslie Carter - They Don't Know

Leslie Carter recorded it when she was 17 (the same age as Kirsty when she wrote the song), from the album ‘Like Wow’. Sadly Leslie passed away in 2012, aged just 25.

Katrina Leskanich (2004)

They Don't Know - Katrina Leskanich formerly of Katrina and The Waves

Katrina’s version was played a lot on BBC Radio 2.

Pale (2004)

San Francisco synth band Pale also covered the song in 2004. A bit of a freeworld favourite, this one.

Pale - "They Dont Know" (Kirsty MacColl cover)

Amy Rigby (2004)

Amy has never recorded the song in the studio but a version is available on the live ‘Faulkner, Dylan, Heinz and me’, available from gigs or Amy’s website. She played it for me in a little bar in Leith, when she was touring with the equally wondrous Amy Allison.

Liv Marit Wedvik (2004)

Swedish singer, her version appears on the album ‘Whatever You Say’ on Showtime Records.

They Don`t Know - Liv Marit Wedvik

Tara Jane O’Neil (2005)


Tara Jane sings ‘They Don’t Know’ on ‘Songs To Break God’s Heart, Vol. 1’, a 2005 compilation.

Island Texas (2005)

Austin band Island Texas’ 2005 release ’Sailing again‘ allegedly gave the song a “Carribean flavor” in the hands of singer Jaymie.

Ron Sexsmith (2005)

Ron performed as part of a White Ribbon benefit concert in June 2005, and followed it with Stevie Wonder’s ‘I was made to love her. Good work!

Mach 5 (2005)

On the single ‘Meet Mach 5’ on the Lawless label.

continues on page 2 …


From Japan, Cartoon Characters released a song called ‘They Don’t Know About Us’ in 2002 on the compilation album ‘Chaan! Ban!’ but it’s not Kirsty’s song.

And finally

Tracey Ullman - They Don't Know - TOTP 1983

Tracey Ullman on Top of the Pops to send you home happy.

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