WAR & PEACE
This week’s show is dedicated to Graeme Tubbenhauer (Feb 2, 1954 – April 25, 2006).
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” – Pericles
Being the martyr to topicality that I am, I couldn’t ignore Anzac Day. This day of national remembrance honours members of the Army Corps who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War 1 (including my own Grandfather). It now more broadly commemorates all those who died and served in military operations for Australia and New Zealand. So, despite the fact that, like me, you are probably sick of hearing ‘And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ and you now know everything that any human could possibly want to know about Gallipoli, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to put together a show about War & Peace. I’d love it if the show was just about Peace, but as Plato stated: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
We started the program with a song by Little Maxie Bailey, DRIVE SOLDIER DRIVE that was written in 1953 during the Korean War, the first time that the American Army had allowed the segregation of black and white troops. And then it was only because there were far more young black men volunteering than there were white. Which, in turn was all about job opportunity.
And then it was 19, a song by Paul Hardcastle, released as the first single from his self-titled studio album of 1985. The song features dialogue by television narrator Peter Thomas, and a strong anti-war message. The track is about America’s involvement in the Vietnam War and the effect it had on the soldiers who served. 19 features sampled dialogue and news reports from Vietnam Requiem, an ABC television documentary about the post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by veterans.
Next it was Pink Floyd with US & THEM from the album Dark Side of the Moon. Roger Waters’ dad died at the siege of Anzio in 1944 and he’s grappled with war’s futility ever since. Dark Side of the Moon‘s dreamy ode to battlefield confusion was originally called “The Violence Sequence”.
Then it was time for one of the trippiest tracks ever made at Motown. In BALL OF CONFUSION, the Temptations strongly suggest that war is just another sign of impending Armageddon – a whirlwind of modern madness that includes ghettoization and poverty. Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded RUN THROUGH THE JUNGLE in the same year, (1971). It was adopted as an anti-Vietnam song, but John Fogarty gave an interview to the LA Times, in 1993, saying that it was really about America’s obsession with guns. Either way, it’s a song that makes a powerful statement against violence and aggression.
If you know any of System of A Down’s work, you’ll know that protest is their business. A reaction to the Gulf War, their song BOOM! is an amazing aural assault built on rat-a-tat guitar riffs and locomotive beats. The video is worth watching as it uses peace rally stats and commentary from activists both young and old. Michael Moore from Bowling for Columbine fame helped create the clip. Join over 4 million people who have already checked it out on YouTube:
Worth including was Graham Nash’s song MILITARY MADNESS – from his 1971 album Songs for Beginners. It’s a catchy musical complaint about how a tide of “war fever” sometimes washes over societies. Naturally we had to include GIVE PEACE A CHANCE, especially as it is the 40th anniversary of John & Yoko’s Bed-In in 1969. The pic on right is from a new book of photographs and essays from eye-witnesses. A beautiful collectors item and worth checking out at www.peaceworksnow.com. And then it was Country Joe and the Fish, who were widely known for musical protests against the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1971. The band’s founder, Joe McDonald, performed I FEEL LIKE I’M FIXIN TO DIE RAG at Woodstock. The band have gone on record as saying that their name was created because “Country Joe” was a popular name for Joseph Stalin in the 1940s, while “the fish” refers to Mao Tse Dung’s statement that the true revolutionary “moves through the peasantry as the fish does through water.” Check out this video clip from Woodstock. Dare you to sing along. They even give you the lyrics with bouncing ball! Excellent.
SHIPBUILDING was written by Elvis Costello in the aftermath of the Falklands war, and originally donated to Robert Wyatt for his album of resistance songs “Nothing Can Stop Us”. Elvis examines the eternal links between jobs in industrial production, in this case shipbuilding, and the human costs of War. I considered not playing Edwin Starr’s memorable song WAR, merely because it seemed so predictable, but hey, when Edwin howls “War, what is it good for?” he does so with such authority, all resistence evaporated.
Barry McGuire’s EVE OF DESTRUCTION is considered, by some, to be the epitome of a protest song. It expressed our frustrations and fears in the age of the Cold War, the nuclear arms race and the civil rights movement. Others consider Bob Dylan’s IT’S BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND to be THE peace anthem. The truth is that protest songs have been in existence since time began, so no need to choose. Listen to both.
We were brought almost up to date with the Black Eyed Peas 2003 hit, WHERE IS THE LOVE?, as they lament on current worldwide problems including terrorism, U.S. government hupocrisy, racism, war, intolerence and greed. I think they just about covered it!
Michael Stipe was an army brat and his Dad served in Vietnam, so he probably has some fairly reliable info on Agent Orange. No doubt it inspired R.E.M.’s ORANGE CRUSH.
THE DOGS OF WAR, from Pink Floyd describes how politicians secretly orchestrate wars with the major motivator being money. It’s particularly about the covert wars of the 80s where millions of American dollars went to Afghanistan to fight off the Soviet threat of communism. Here is a clip of them performing the song live:
My Roy Orbinson pick of the week is one of the most amazing versions of DANNY BOY that I have heard. The Irish anthem has been interpreted as a message from a parent to a son going off to war. We had the tissues at the ready for that one.
I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom from the great philosopher, Jimi Hendrix: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” (Hallelujah -ed.)
Here’s the complete playlist:
Drive On Soldier, Drive On – Little Maxie Bailey
19 – Paul Hardcastle
Us & Them – Pink Floyd
Ball Of Confusion – The Temptations
Run Through The Jungle – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Army Dreamers – Kate Bush
A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke
Some Unholy War – Amy Winehouse
Empire – Dar Williams
Boom! – System of a Down
Saving Private Ryan – War Sound effects
Military Madness – Graham Nash
Travelin’ Soldier – Dixie Chicks
Give Peace A Chance – John Lennon
I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag – Country Joe & The Fish
Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley
God Bless This Mess – Sheryl Crow
Shipbuilding – Elvis Costello & the Attractions
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
War – Edwin Starr
Imagine – John Lennon
Sound Effects – War
Eve Of Destruction – Barry McGuire
Blowing in the Wind – Bob Dylan
Where Is The Love – Black Eyed Peas Feat. Justin Timberlake
Orange Crush – R.E.M.
The Dogs of War – Pink Floyd
Danny Boy – Roy Orbison
Next week, its all about MOTHERS. Song suggestions welcome!
Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park, BayFM 99.9 2-4pm Tuesdays, Sydney time. Also streaming at http://www.bayfm.org
Posted on April 29, 2009, in Broadcasting and media, community radio, music - nostalgia, music, blues, music, country, music, r&b, music, soul, Radio Program, Roy Orbison, Uncategorized and tagged Australia, Blues, Byron Bay, country, Motown, music, pop, R&B, radio, rock, Roy Orbison, Theme music. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.