Paris, potatoes, Pete and Oasis – The Libertines tell the story of ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’

Find out where the classic indie single came from

The LibertinesCarl Barat has opened up about the meaning and origins of their classic single ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’. Watch our ‘Song Stories’ video with Barat above.

The 2003 song was a single-only release in between their debut album ‘Up The Bracket’ and sophomore self-titled record. Many believe it to be about the then often tumultuous relationship between Barat and Pete Doherty.

“Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ began when we were sitting in Paris,” Barat told NME. “We were borrowing a flat from a record label girl, and it was overlooking the Sacré-Cœur. Pete was trying to cook some potatoes, and he wasn’t doing a good job – they wouldn’t boil quick enough. For some reason we couldn’t eat them so we lobbed them out into this schoolyard. There were no kids in there.”


He continued: “A certain Oasis song and a certain Velvet Underground song, the titles of which were put together and made the title of that song – it’s also the same chord progression. We went about infusing it with our own rhyming idea, then when you start writing about something because it’s there, you start unintentionally outpouring whatever’s in your heart and mind at the time.

“It’s funny how that happens. It seemed quite poppy and throwaway at the time, as these things often do.”

The Libertines live
The Libertines live

When asked about the lyrical inspiration of the track, Barat replied: “They’re quite personal, but they’re quite universal in their abstractness. They were kind of specific at the time, but I don’t want to say any more than that.

“They’re about the authors, but it’s strange how when you write something stream of consciousness, you’re just making rhymes and suddenly you’re looking at a mirror. I think maybe that happened a bit in that song as well.”

– How well do you know The Libertines? Take our lyrics quiz and find out


The Libertines live
The Libertines live

As for the now iconic music video, Barat told NME: “This chap Alex Carr, who was going out with our manager at the time, he put it together. It was footage of Sean Mclusky’s anti-Jubilee gig at the ICA, to protest was going on at Pall Mall. So you had Brian May on the roof with a wind machine, then us in the basement. The video was basically taken from that day – just us wondering around the streets in our jackets and things.”

Barat also spoke to NME about their plans for their upcoming tour, new album and building their own ‘HQ’ hotel and studio.

As well as headlining both Truck Festival and Tramlines this weekend, the band’s upcoming UK tour dates are below. Tickets are on sale here.

17 – Dunfermline Alhambra
18 – Inverness Ironworks
19 – Kilmarnock Grand Hall
22 – Blackpool Empress Ballroom
23 – Hull Arena
25 – Plymouth Pavilions
26 – Scarborough Spa
30 – Lowestoft Claremont Pier
1 – Margate By The Sea Festival (Margate Dreamland)
2- Brighton Brighton Centre