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Secret Agent Man

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Song Name: Secret Agent Man

Artist: DEVO (cover song)

Appears On:

Year: 1975

Years Performed: 1977-1980, (2000,) 2006-2012

Run Time: 3:35 (single/album version)

Writing Credits: P.F. SloaneSteve Barri (Arrangement by Mark Mothersbaugh)

Sung By:

Bob Mothersbaugh (Lead vocals on demo used for video, on album version, and live performances after 1977)
Mark Mothersbaugh (Backing vocals on album version and live versions after 1978, live vocals on demo and 1977 live performances)
Gerald V. Casale (vocals at early live performances only)

Alternate Versions: Secret Agent Man (Video Version)

Demo Versions: Secret Agent Man (Demo), Secret Agent Man (Mark Vox)

Song Connections:

Trivia / Info:

  • There are circulating recordings of this song with vocals by Bob 1, Mark Mothersbaugh, and even Gerald V. Casale.

Onstage Behavior:

  • When there is no keyboard line to play, Mark usually twirls his forearms around each other.

Lyrics:

You know I live a life of danger
for the FBI
Keeping tabs on our nation
on the land, on the sea, in the sky
But every single night
before I go to bed
I get down on my knees
and thank God
I’m a secret agent man
Secret
agent man
Secret agent man
They've given me a number
but they've taken 'way my name
I got one hell of a job to perform
for the U.S. of A.
Got the responsibility
of our nation’s top security
But every night and day
I salute the flag and say
thank you Jesus
Cause I'm,
I’m a secret agent man
Secret
agent man
Secret agent man
They've given me a number
but they've taken 'way my name
You know they got me doin' this doin' that
and a little bit of something else
Fighting cavities of evil
Safe-guarding America's health
But not an afternoon pass
I don’t get up off my ass
Thank you God cause I'm,
I’m a secret agent man
Secret
agent man
Secret agent man
They've given me a number
but they've taken 'way my name
Secret
agent man
Secret agent man
They've given me a number
but they've taken 'way my name
Cause I'm a secret agent man

Original Lyrics: (sung by Johnny Rivers in the "live" 1966 recording)

There's a man who leads a life of danger
To everyone he meets he stays a stranger
With every move he makes another chance he takes
Odds are he won't live to see tomorrow
Secret Agent Man
Secret Agent Man
They've given you a number and taken away your name
Beware of pretty faces that you find
A pretty face can hide an evil mind
Oh, be careful what you say
Or you will give yourself away
Odds are you won't live to see tomorrow
Secret Agent Man
Secret Agent Man
They've given you a number and taken away your name
Secret Agent Man
Secret Agent Man
They've given you a number and taken away your name
Swinging on the Riviera one day
And then lying in a Bombay alley next day
Oh, don't you let the wrong words slip,
while kissing persuasive lips
Odds are you won't live to see tomorrow
Secret Agent Man
Secret Agent Man
They've given you a number and taken away your name
Secret Agent Man

Video: Appears on The Men Who Make the Music. Part of The Truth About De-Evolution, included on The Complete Truth About De-Evolution.

  • The video starts with music from the beginning of a Smart Patrol demo.

Live Video: DEVO performs "Secret Agent Man" on Live 1980

External Links:

DEVO
Mark Mothersbaugh | Gerry Casale | Bob Mothersbaugh
Bob Lewis | Bob Casale | Jim Mothersbaugh | Alan Myers
David Kendrick | Josh Freese & Jeff Friedl | Josh Hager
Record Labels / Publishers
Booji Boy Records | Warner Brothers | Enigma | Devo, Inc. 
Stiff | Virgin | Rykodisk | Infinite Zero | Restless | Discovery | Rhino 
MVD Audio | The Orchard | Superior Viaduct | Futurismo
Production
Brian Eno | Ken Scott | Robert Margouleff | Roy Thomas Baker | DEVO 
The Teddybears | Greg Kurstin | Santi White | John King | John Hill | Mark Nishita 
Official Studio Albums
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978) | Duty Now For The Future (1979) | Freedom of Choice (1980) | New Traditionalists (1981) | oh, no! it's DEVO (1982) | Shout (1984) | Total DEVO (1988) | SmoothNoodleMaps (1990) | Something for Everybody   (2010)
Other Albums
Be Stiff EP (1977) | E-Z Listening Disc (1987) | Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace (1989) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 1 74-77 (1990) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 2 1974-1977 (1991) | DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years (1992) | DEV-O Live (1999) | Recombo DNA (2000) | Live In Central Park (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | New Traditionalists: Live 1981 Seattle (2012) | Something ELSE for Everybody  (2013) | Miracle Witness Hour  (2014) | Live at Max's Kansas City - November 15, 1977  (2014) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
Filmography
The Men Who Make The Music (1981) | Human Highway (1982) | We're All DEVO (1984) | The Complete Truth About De-Evolution (1993) | DEVO Live (2004) | DEVO Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
Related Articles
History | Bootlegs | Booji Boy | Devolution | Influence | The Wipeouters | Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers | Devo 2.0 | Akron, Ohio | Music Videos | Versions | Outfits

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