Song Name: Girl U Want

Artist: DEVO

Appears On:

Live in Central Park, Live at the Observatory, Santa Ana, CA (live versions)

Run Time: 2:55 (album version)

Year Written: 1979

Year Released: 1980 (album version)

Years Performed: 1979-present [1] stats

Writing Credits: Mark Mothersbaugh/Gerald V. Casale

Sung By: Mark Mothersbaugh

Alternate Versions: E-Z Listening Version, Girl U Want 1995/Tank Girl U Want, Boy U Want/Devo 2.0 Version

Demo Versions: Girl U Want (demo alternate version), Freedom of Choice Home Version Demo

Song Connections: None

Trivia / Info:[]

  • Partly inspired by The Knack's "My Sharona" according to a music critic.
  • "Girl U Want" was the lead single for Freedom of Choice, and DEVO's third album was originally to be called "The Girl You Want".
  • The single cover art was adapted from a potato chips bag sourced from Akron, Ohio. [DEVO: The Brand, pg 83]
  • First performed live on 29 December 1979.
  • WB released one "Girl U Want" single - the hard to find b/w "Mr. B's Ballroom." Virgin released the single overseas b/w "Turnaround," the spelling is "corrected" to "Girl You Want." WB released a promo single in the US.
  • The E-Z Listening Version was so popular DEVO performed it on the 1982 tour with the full lyrics. [2]
  • A rerecorded version appeared on the soundtrack for the film Tank Girl in 1995, becoming the first new DEVO recording since 1990.
    The movie version added a vocal track by Jula Bell. [3][4]
  • This track continues the DEVO tradition of Mark singing lyrics altered from the expected so the listener has to figure out the lyrics used.
    The expected "love" lyric in "Girl U Want" was altered to lust and performed ambiguously.
Other lyrics altered to unexpected ambiguity include "silver linings" mutated to sniffy linings "soft" corrected to stroft and "greenest tree" purposely changed to greenhouse tree.
Mark sometimes clearly sings "undefined lust" instead of "undefined love" and "greenest tree" instead of "greenhouse tree" in live performances.
Mark does not fully voice the lyric "love" in the album version, leaving the word ambiguous and open for interpretation.
Mark uses the word "lust" in the versions on Recombo DNA and on the Tank Girl soundtrack. [5]

Onstage Behavior:[]

(On stage L to R)

Alan sets a driving beat, playing acoustic drums.

Bob 1 stands while playing electric guitar and steps forward while soloing, extending his pick arm during the end of the solo.

Jerry plays keys and dances with his feet planted shoulder-width apart.

Mark uses both hands to hold a microphone while leaning forward towards the audience, at the beginning of the song. Mark stays within arms reach of his keyboard, which he sometimes plays one-handed.

In later concerts Mark holds the microphone one-handed and moves it around in different ways throughout the song.
During the lyric “drips on down” he extends his left arm with the back of his hand to the audience and his wrist flexed. He move his fingers while drawing down his hand.

Bob 2 bobs to the rhythm while playing keys.

At the song’s conclusion all bend their heads down, with the dome angled towards the audience, as seen at the beginning of the Girl U Want music video.

DEVO appeared on French TV in 1980, performing "Girl U Want" to audio playback.

Mark mimes singing and occasionally licks two ice cream scoops on a twin wafer cone.[6]
Jerry sits at his keyboard and Bob 2 stands.
Bob 1 mimes playing an Ibanez Iceman.
Alan's musical props include two analog syndrums manufactured by Electro-Harmonix in 1979 and later reissued.[7]
By the end of the song Mark gets some ice cream on everyone’s face.[8]

Filmed near SFP studios on Rue des Alouettes,[9] at the request of Martin Lamotte[10]


You're in a corner everywhere you turn
You know you're headed for the "planet of burn"
But the words get stuck on the tip of your tongue
She's the real thing but you knew it all along
She's just the girl, she's just girl
The girl u want
She sings from somewhere you can't see
She sits in the top of a greenhouse tree
She sends out an aroma of undefined lust
It drifts on down in a mist from above
She's just the girl, she's just the girl
The girl u want
Look at you with your mouth watering
Look at you with your mind spinning
Why don't you just admit it's all over
She's just the girl u want
She's just the girl, she's just the girl
The girl u want
She's just the girl, she's just the girl
The girl u want
You're in a corner everywhere you turn
You know you're headed for the planet of burn
But the words get stuck on the tip of your tongue
She's the real thing but you knew it all along
She's just the girl, she's just the girl
The girl u want
She's just the girl, she's just the girl
She's just the girl, she's just the girl
The girl u want


Music Video[]
Appears on We're All DEVO, The Complete Truth About De-Evolution
"Girl U Want - Video"   Devo - MySpace

The "Girl U Want" video title card

  • Laraine Newman portrays the girl on the swing spraying the mist referenced in the song lyrics. Mark was Laraine's boyfriend at the time. [11] She plays Donut Rooter in We're All DEVO
  • Robert L. Mothersbaugh, Sr. again plays General Boy, who uses a device to remotely control two "robotic" dancers.
  • “The film insert of the fat man in the weight-reducing machine[12] drinking a milkshake is enough to somewhat redeem the piece.” - Jerry (1984)[13]
Live Video[]

DEVO Live 1980, Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig, DEVO Live, Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun
Live at the Observatory, Santa Ana, CA


  1. DEVO Live Guide. Website keyword search for "girl u want".

  2. YouTube. "Girl U Want (1982-10-30)" 3-DEVO. "A CEN Satellite Presentation."

  3. YouTube. Jula Bell comments for "Tank Girl Opening Credits".

  4. “Movie soundtracks”. Jula Bell Official Page: Everything About the Artist Jula Bell. (2022, December 3). (
    “In the 80’s Jula Bell started doing voice overs and sound track work. She worked with Mark Mothersbaugh (Tank Girl opening sequence duet with Devo for Girl U Want...)”

  5. "Tank Girl Script - Dialogue Transcript". Drew's Script-O-Rama. (n.d.). (
    (Page begins with transcription of Girl U Want ‘95 [with Mark’s vocal] from the soundtrack of the Lori Petty and Naomi Watts movie.)

  6. Mark's shiny red cornet de glace resembles plastic and ice cream made of plastic was later reported on French public television.
    "World’s first ice cream made with plastic • FRANCE 24 English". Uploaded to YouTube by FRANCE 24 English. (2023, September 28).

  7. DEVO Live Guide. ( (

    EHX Super Space Drums [two types].
    "PEDALBORED - Electro Harmonix Super Space Drum". Uploaded to YouTube by @danieldangerously.

  8. "DEVO on french TV - june 1980 - Girl U Want -". Uploaded to YouTube by Alain From France.
    Collaro Show avec Stéphane Collaro & Martin Lamotte.

  9. David Korn. Comments. "Devo Week – Day 2: The One That Got Away". 33 1/3. (2015, May 19). (,2.3856086,3a,45y,291.55h,80.82t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sdycHhOB3bGEacNZZCRFi6A!2e0!5s20160401T000000!!7i13312!8i6656?coh=205410&entry=ttu

  10. ”THE BAND U WANT." Devo chez Collaro – 1980. INA, National Audiovisual Institute.
    ”...Devo performed the song ‘Girl U Want’ in the street at the request of Martin Lamotte…"[translation].

  11. Green, Michelle. “While She May Not Be Perfect, Laraine Newman Braces Herself for Another Shot at Stardom”. People magazine, Vol. 24, No. 2. (1985, July 08).,,20091240,00.html (From

  12. Battle Creek Health Builder.
    Vibrating belt massager.

  13. 1984 quote reprinted in:
    ”DEVO Retrospective with Gerry Casale”. DMA Auditorium, Dallas Video Festival (1989, November 9).

External Links:[]

"Girl U Want" -- Rock Band Wiki
"Girl U Want" -- Wikipedia

Current Shows | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2016 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1991 | 1990 | 1989 | 1988 | 1982 | 1981 | 1980 | 1979 | 1978 | 1977 | 1976 | 1975 | 1974 | 1973

Template:Devo Discograph