The Circus (song)

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"The Circus"
Erasure single circus.jpg
Single by Erasure
from the album The Circus
ReleasedSeptember 21, 1987
Format12", 7", CD
GenreSynthpop, new wave
Length5:30 (LP)
3:50 (7")
LabelMute (UK)
Sire (U.S.)
Songwriter(s)Vince Clarke, Andy Bell
Erasure singles chronology
"Victim of Love"
"The Circus"
"Ship of Fools"

"The Circus" is a song by British synthpop duo Erasure, released in September 1987 as the band's seventh single overall. It is also the title track on their second album, The Circus.

The album version clocks at 5.30 minutes, so the song was remixed for single release to a much more radio-friendly 3:50 minutes. Mute Records issued it as the fourth and final single from the album.

Written by Erasure members Vince Clarke and Andy Bell, "The Circus" was a departure from the shiny pop of their six previous singles, creating a more down-tempo and melancholy mood. Essentially a synthpop track, the music is accentuated by acoustic guitar and a continuous circus-like accordion. The lyrics touch on social issues, rare for the duo, and centre on the lament of "working men", whose bright futures and job securities are left shattered in the modern world of greedy corporations and technology.

The song's distinctive and unusual sound is said to have been inspired by Bell hearing a record being played backwards.[citation needed]

Despite its haunting quality and dark lyrical content, "The Circus" became Erasure's third UK Top 10 hit, peaking at number six.

Track listings[edit]

7" single (MUTE66)[edit]

  1. "The Circus" (Remix)
  2. "The Circus" (Decay Mix)

12" single #1 (1-12MUTE66)[edit]

  1. "Victim of Love" (Live)
  2. "If I Could" (Live)
  3. "The Circus" (Live)
  4. "Spiralling" (Live)

12" single #2 (2-12MUTE66)[edit]

  1. "It Doesn't Have To Be" (Live)
  2. "Who Needs Love Like That" (Live)
  3. "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" (Live)
  4. "The Circus" (Bareback Rider Mix)

12" single #3 (3-12MUTE66)[edit]

  1. "Sometimes" (Live)
  2. "Say What" (Live)
  3. "Oh L'amour" (Live)
  4. "The Circus" (Gladiator Mix)

12" single (Sire 20822-0)[edit]

  1. "The Circus" (Gladiator Mix) - 6:07
  2. "The Circus" (Decay Mix) - 5:32
  3. "The Circus" (Bareback Rider Mix) - 6:35
  4. "The Circus" (DJ Mix) - 3:50

CD single (CDMUTE66)[edit]

  1. "The Circus" (Remix)
  2. "The Circus" (Decay Mix)
  3. "If I Could" (Live)
  4. "It Doesn't Have To Be" (Live)
  5. "Say What" (Live)
  6. "The Circus" (Live)

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1987) Peak
German Singles Chart[1] 30
Irish Singles Chart[2] 6
UK Singles Chart[3] 6


  1. ^ "". 1987-09-21. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  2. ^ Jaclyn Ward. "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  3. ^ "The Official Charts Company - The Circus by Erasure Search". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013.

External links[edit]