Why Aye Man (6:12)

Cover of The Ragpicker's Dream

From The Ragpicker's Dream and 22 other releases

Why Aye Man is a commonly used phrase on Tyneside (Geordieland) and really only means “Yes” but in an emphatic way.
The use of this phrase and the way it is used in the song echo Native American Indian chants, at least as seen in common white culture. The song was inspired by, and used as the theme tune for “Auf Wiedersehen Pet”, the British television series which began with the scenario of hard up Geordies having to go to Germany to find work on building sites. The first verse refers to this.

In the third (?) series the heroes were involved in building a bridge for a Native American tribe on their reservation and it was for this series that the tune was written and used as the theme tune.

The person who joins Mark Knopfler on stage in a video version of this track is Jimmy Nail, who was a leading actor in the series and also has a career as a singer. Legend has it that before the first series of Auf Wiedersehen Pet Jimmy Nail was a chippie working on the building sites with no previous acting experience. His surname is not in fact Nail but is a nickname deriving from his occupation as a chippie.

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We had no way of staying afloat
We had to leave on a ferryboat
Economic refugees, on the run to Germany
We had the back of Maggie's hand

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