10 Great Uses Of Bodily Functions In Songs

This Saturday (27 April), Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’ turns 15. Aside from Elizabeth Fraser’s haunting vocal, it’s chiefly known for its bass drum mimicking a heartbeat – and the video that played on the notion. But mimicking? Here are 10 songs that actually used real bodily functions (not including singing) to integral effect.

Everything Everything, ‘Cough Cough’

Coughing! As percussion! The 21st century Bobby McFerrins nailed it in 2012.

Ash, ‘Sick Party’

They were only – what? – 12, so what could be funnier than closing debut album ‘1977’ with a hidden track full of vomiting noises? Don’t listen on a full stomach.

Black Sabbath, ‘Sweet Leaf’

More coughing. It’s Tony Iommi’s cough cut up and looped, to warn the kids of the dangers of puffing away on recreational cigarettes.


Camille, ‘Wet Boy’

French – and we’re legally obliged to call her this – chanteuse Camille let out a trouser cough of her own on this track from 2011 album ‘Ilo Veyou’, and was so impressed with the effect she kept it in. Well, she kept the sound in the record.

DJ Kool, ‘Let Me Clear My Throat’

You can probably guess the percussive effect Kool wove seamlessly into this big dumb hip-hop cut from 1996.

Pink Floyd, ‘Speak To Me’

An actual heartbeat, Massive Attack. Plus some laughter (and a cash till). The heartbeat also pops up on ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ closer ‘Eclipse’.

Genesis, ‘Mama’

Let’s have some laughs. Phil Collins’ cackle on ‘Mama’ is like a perverted drum solo. Call him the proto-DJ Kool.

Depeche Mode, ‘Master And Servant’

The ‘Mode’s hymn to sadomasochism baulked at the idea of including real whips, but producer and Mute founder Daniel Miller nobly stepped in with some hissing and spitting to recreate the noise. They also fashioned a quasi-drum solo of their own on ‘Personal Jesus’ with some panting/hyper-ventilating.


Stevie Wonder, ‘Isn’t She Lovely’

A baby crying – isn’t that sweet? Sweeter than Phil Collins’ death rattle anyway. Stevie’s ode to the joys of childbirth samples his daughter Aisha to “awww, bless” effect.

Pet Shop Boys, ‘West End Girls’

Can we count footsteps as bodily functions? Matthew Herbert probably used them on his own human body-sampling masterwork ‘Bodily Functions’, and we can call that the textbook. Anyway here, rather than acting as percussion they provide atmosphere. Footsteps providing atmosphere was big in the first half of the 80s – look at Wham!’s ‘Club Tropicana’ and Duran Duran’s ‘Friends Of Mine’. But you knew that already.

Any other tracks that use bodily functions/emissions for a handy purpose? Maybe some belching?