Ding Dong the Witch is dead   4 comments

The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is caught up in yet another controversy this evening, this time over the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. One song from that show is likely to top the download charts this weekend, and the BBC is concerned if it should be played on the radio.

I’m not sure that in 1939 they had any grasp of music charts let alone music downloads, probably more interested in what a certain German was up to.

wizardoz

Now I can understand the BBC being worried about the lyrics of certain songs, like Relax recorded by Frankie Goes to Hollywood which had clear sexual innuendo and Je T’aime a duet written by Serge Gainsbourg, sung with lover Jane Birkin in 1969. As attempts at censorship both of these failed badly, and in the latter case because it was effectively banned from sale in the UK, so a copy was given away with every copy of Private Eye one week, which I believe is still one of Private Eye’s top selling issues.

This however is a children’s song and the lyrics simply celebrate the death of the wicked witch. The problem seems to stem not from the song itself, but from the people who bought it. Yes, for the slower amongst you, it has been bought by people who are not supporters of the late Baroness Thatcher. The BBC’s proposed solution is to have two audience guests in to discuss the reason why the song is in the chart and then play less than 10 seconds of it.

The irony of all this of course is that Thatcher was very against state control and censorship for censorships sake, and she would have opposed any moves of this sort were she still in office. It does however serve as testimony to the divisiveness of Margaret Thatcher that tens of thousands of people have downloaded this track as mark of protest even though she left office nearly 25 years ago.

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Posted April 12, 2013 by bluonthemove in Uncategorized

4 responses to “Ding Dong the Witch is dead

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  1. You may not be surprised that I knew immediately where this post was heading. Or at least who/what you would be referring to.

    I’ve got Relax on a single. Great record, one of my faves. As is Je t’aime which I don’t have. Relax however was released in the Thatcher years, unlike Je t’aime.

    And another earlier banned record I have is Hi hi hi, by Wings. Where he is going to do you sweet banana like you’ve never been done. Or something like that. Good song even if the lyrics are somewhat dubious.

    I am wondering at the age of people who are protesting about Thatcher though. One of the bloggers I read was only five when she came to power. So therefore 16 when she was chucked out. The same age as me (within a year) when she gained leadership of the Tory party. I couldn’t write seriously about anything that happened in politics before my mid teens, so that pretty much puts people in our generation who actually lived through Thatcher years as late teens/twenties – or later.

    I could write about the three-day week and sitting listening to the radio by candlelight instead of watching television (I quite like that) but I have no further view of it and certainly not the same insight I have of the Thatcher years.

    So I am seriously confused about people under 50 years of age jumping on the bash Thatcher bandwagon.

    I hated the Wizard of Oz. Frightened the life out of me. Even more than the Daleks. At least the music for Dr Who was good. Although I did hide behind the sofa for that too.

    • Some of the Beatles lyrics didn’t leave much to the imagination, songs like ‘Come together’ for example.

      I find it interesting how many people think the three day week was when Thatcher was PM, although she was in Heath’s cabinet at the time, snatching back the free school milk. I was at school during the 3 day week, and as with I believe all schools and colleges it didn’t apply to us, so we still had classes every day. We weren’t allowed to watch TV so that wasn’t an issue.

      I think much of the hatred for Thatcher has been passed down almost as folk lore within families, but I am still amazed at how many people, in their tens of thousands, have downloaded a really awful piece of music to make their point.

      Allegedly the Tory party has been mobilising their forces on facebook and twitter, encouraging people to download the 1980s top 20 recording “We love Margaret Thatcher” by the Not Sensicles. The BBC have said if it is in the chart they will play it, a fine example of double standards if ever there was.

  2. Bit out in left field here–not going to weigh in on Mrs. thatcher, except to agree that she certainly left a legacy of divisiveness.
    Now, Frankie and such. In the 1980’s I was a teacher in a k-12 Catholic school in the rural part of my province. Being the grade 12 homeroom teacher it was not unisual for me to spend my Friday nights chaperoning teenage dances–a great way to raise money for the senior prom; we’d clear a couple hundred $$$ on each one so it accumulated. Aside from having to deny entry to drunken former students it wasn’t all that bad most of the time, except for the ringing ears. Thankfully, rap was not that popular in the eighties. Anyway… “Relax” was a popular song at the dances and I recall on several occasions being asked by some–not students (staunchly religious adults mostly)–why I didn’t ‘order’ the DJ to turn it off; after all this was a “Catholic” school and, hey gay sex was…unthinkable, right :>) (Oh, my, don’t get me started).
    Generally I’d shrug it off. Why? Several reasons. First there’s no point arguing with zealots as they’re not going to listen to any viewpoint except their own. Second I don’t believe in telling people what they can listen to and what they cannot. Third, it was just dance music for most of the kids; the meaning was something they didn’t so much as think of; a non-issue therefore. Fourth, and most importantly, making a big deal of it would focus divisive and unnecessary activity around something that, to me, was so trivial it was not worth bothering with.
    Here’s what I saw: a teenage dance that got my students to socialize in a positive way while raising money for an important school event. Not worth messing with all in the interest of letting two groups of zealots duke it out. The two groups were not interested in common ground; they just wanted to impose their own morality on the rest of us, regardless of the cost.
    In the end, the dances were positive events and nobody, as far as I know, is destined for either hell or greatness on account of “Relax” being played.
    Damn catchy rhythm, though.

    • I would agree with the fourth reason, I think the BBC is making far too much of a fuss about something that is too trivial to be bothering with. I’ve listened on youtube to Ding Dong the Witch is dead, it is an absolutely awful piece of music and only lasts something like a minute and a half, would anyone have noticed.

      Not sure you’d have been allowed to play Je T’aime at the school disco though. I’ve no idea what the words were (in French) but it was all set to the groaning and moaning sounds one would normally associate with a couple having sexual intercourse and being a slow tempo was not the most appropriate dance music for young people. My father bought the particular copy of Private Eye, a satrical anti-establishment magazine, but he needed the help of his two youngest children to work the record player.

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