Sally called, when she got the word
She said “I suppose you’ve heard about Alice”
Well, I rushed to the window, and I looked outside
And I could hardly believe my eyes
This big limousine pulled slowly into Alice’s drive
Oh, I don’t know why she’s leaving, or where she’s gonna go
I guess she’s got her reasons but I just don’t want to know
‘Cause for twenty four years I’ve been living next door to Alice
Twenty four years, just waitin’ for a chance
To tell her how I’m feeling, maybe get a second glance
Now I’ve gotta get used to not living next door to Alice
Co-written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, “Living Next Door to Alice” was originally released by the Australian vocal harmony trio New World in 1972. The song charted at no. 35 on the Australian chart. The song later became a worldwide hit for the British band Smokie.
In November 1976, it was released by Smokie, a group Chapman and Chinn were producing, for whom it was a massive hit. It topped the charts in no fewer than seven countries. Curiously this was a double A-side, the other side being “Night Moves” by Bob Seger.
In this song, the singer is heartbroken because Alice, his neighbor for 24 years, is moving away. He never expressed his feelings for her, but he clearly thought about her a lot. In the last verse, his other neighbor, Sally, says that she’s been waiting 24 years for him, and she’s still here. However, he ignores her and continues to pine for Alice.
Unfortunately, someone thought it was fit to parody, and in 1995, the Dutch project Gompie decided to add an unfortunate refrain to it: “Alice, Alice, who the f–k is Alice?” This version topped the Netherlands chart.
Alice in the song
The song is about a young man’s long-standing unrequited love toward the girl next door and his neighbor of 24 years, Alice. The protagonist had seen a limousine parked at Alice’s home, learning through mutual friend Sally that she is moving away, and begins to reflect on childhood memories and his friendship with Alice, and becomes heartbroken as he sees Alice get inside the limousine.
As he watches the car drive out of sight, the protagonist feels regret about two things:
First, Alice leaving without explanation. Second, that in 24 years, he never took the opportunity to express his feelings for her.
In the final verse, Sally explains that “Alice is gone, but (she’s) still here.” All the time that the singer had been pining for Alice, Sally herself had been waiting 24 years for her opportunity with him. As the song ends with the singer still hurt and having difficulty getting over his previous crush, the last words of the last verse hint at optimism (and a potential future relationship with Sally) as Alice’s limousine disappears down the road.
Watch and listen to the original version of “Living Next Door To Alice” by the New World.