Tag Archives: god save the queen

Thatcher – Ding Dong The Witch Is Censored

The Wizard of Oz song at the centre of an anti-Margaret Thatcher campaign will not be played in full on the BBC Official Chart Show.

Instead a five-second clip of the 51-second song will be aired as part of a Newsbeat report, Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper said.

Sales of Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead have soared since the former Prime Minister’s death on Monday.

Mr Cooper called the decision “a difficult compromise”.

The song is set to take the number three spot in Sunday’s countdown, according to the Official Charts Company.

Speaking to Radio 1 Newsbeat, Mr Cooper said: “The decision I have made is I am not going to play it in full but that I will play a clip of it in a news environment.

“When I say a news environment, that is a newsreader telling you about the fact that this record has reached a certain place in the chart and here is a clip of that track.”

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Ben Cooper says the decision is a “compromise” but not a “fudge”

I personally doubt that many people over the age of 16 take Radio 1 seriously anyway, and the BBC in general have quite a long record (no pun intended) of banning songs – The Sex PistolsGod Save The Queen” in 1977, The Dead KennedysToo Drunk To Fuck” when it made the charts in the 1980s, Frankie Goes To Holiwood‘s “Relax”, and a whole host more.

Even Noel Coward got banned for “Let’s Dont Be Beastly To The Germans” way back.

Of course, the thing about the particular song in question here is that its not about Thatcher, doesn’t mention her… all the the implied associations are in the minds of the various groups for and against.

Those against it ought to be grateful – it could have been…


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Almanac – September 28

The ghost of Walter Ralegh is said to walk in the gardens of his former home, Sherborne Castle, Dorset, on this day.


551 BC – Some say this was the date of the birth of Confucius.



935 – Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia died.  purportedly assassinated  in a plot by his own brother, Boleslav the Cruel.
He’s the “Good King Wenceslaus” of the carol.


1066 – William the Bastard’s  army lands in  England,  beginning the Norman Conquest.


1745 – That appalling dirge the British National Anthem had its first public performance, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, in the wake of the defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Prestonpans. Which is why the original version had this verse-

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.

Its been omitted from the current version, we dont crush Scots no more.


1791 – France  becomes the first European country to emancipate its Jewish population.


1836 – Thomas Crapper born. English plumber who founded Thomas Crapper & Co in London. Contrary to widespread misconceptions, Crapper did not invent the flush toilet. He did, however, do much to increase its  popularity, and developed some important related inventions, such as the ballcock.

It has often been claimed that the slang term for human bodily waste – crap –  originated with  Crapper,  the most common version of this story being that American servicemen stationed in England during World War I saw his name on cisterns and used it as army slang, i.e., “I’m going to the crapper”.

However, the word is actually of Middle English origin; and  predates its application to bodily waste. Its first application in that particular field, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, appeared in 1846 under a reference to a crapping ken, or a privy ( ken means a house).


1928 – The U.K. Parliament passes the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawing cannabis.


1934 – Brigitte Bardot born. French fashion model, actress, singer and animal rights activist. She was one of the best-known sex symbols of the 1960s, and in  1969 her features became the official face of Marianne (who had previously been anonymous) to represent the liberty of France.  (Marianne is a national emblem of France and an allegory of Liberty and Reason.)


1964 – Harpo Marx died.  Second-oldest of the Marx Brothers.


1966 – André Breton died. French writer and poet, known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto (Manifeste du surréalisme) of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as “pure psychic automatism”.



1971 – The Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 banning the medicinal use of cannabis.


1991 – Miles Davis died.



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FUCK THE SILVER JUBILEE TOO…The Birth Of A Republican – 2

So fast-forward half-a-dozen years to the summer of 1977. I’ve just left school,  a move that neither party had any regrets about, and change is in the air, personified by the nascent Punk music, which I’d just arrived at via Dr. Feelgood and Eddie & The Hot-Rods. And the old order was in mortal combat with the new in the shape of the Silver Jubilee versus the Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen”.

One thing you need to know about 1977 is how few conduits for infomation there were. The idea of the internet would have been in the realms of science fiction along with holidays on the Moon, and it would be another 3 years before we even got a telephone at home. We had to walk the best part of a mile to the nearest pay phone…but then, most of the people I’d have called didn’t have a phone either. And no, children – we didn’t have mobile phones back then either. Deprived upbringing ? My dears, you have no idea…

Three TV channels and no option of satellite or cable, four BBC radio stations [the nearest commercial station was over 40 miles away and could only just be picked up, and we were on the wrong side of the country to receive Radio Luxembourg].

Punk fanzines were in their infancy, you had to know where to find them and, in any case, by their very nature they tended to chronicle events that had happened, rather than breaking news. The mainstream media was then, as now, firmly in favour of the status quo and therefore wasn’t considered a trusted source of information.

That just left the music press, basically Sounds, NME and Melody Maker, on the newstands every Thursday. I always favoured Sounds, because it tended to cover the kind of stuff I was getting into. NME always seemed a bit too much up its own arse, if you know what I mean, and MM just wasn’t a contender at all.

With that in mind, you’ll appreciate that it was often necessery to piece together what was happening in non-mainstream circles from a number of fragmented reports and rumours. At best, we were usually a week behind.

So, Mrs Windsor versus the Sex Pistols. History records that in the week of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, “God Save The Queen” peaked at #2 in the official UK charts kept off of  #1 by Rod Stewart’s  “I Dont Want To Talk About It”…an ironic title, as ever since plenty of people have wanted to talk about it.

I ought to point out that the record charts were far more important than they are today. Kids used to take radios to school on a Tuesday, when the new chart was released, so as to be the first with the news. Every Punk single that forced its way into the MOR-laden Top 20 was therefore a small victory in an on-going war. Or so it seemed at the time, anyway.

I think the rumours of dirty deeds in the chart compilation office were circulating almost immediately [as pointed out, “almost immediately” then meant “within a week or so”]. Had the BBC doctored the charts so as not to cause offence to Mrs Windsor ?  Had the palace actually applied a bit of pressure to BBC executives who might have half an eye on a knighthood for services rendered ? We didn’t know, but we knew what we thought

The story that I heard later – and I’ve no idea if it’s true, but it at least seems plausible –  was that the chart compilers suddenly changed the rules – sales of records would no longer be counted if they were from a record label’s own stores.

Of course, this made no difference at all to most record labels, because they didn’t have stores. But Virgin, the Pistols label, did. And bearing in mind that many record outlets refused to stock “GSTQ”,  Virgin stores must have accounted for a large proportion of sales.
Although presumably they also sold a fair few elsewhere just to make #2.

Well, as I say, I’ve no idea if this is actually true. And if the palace did apply pressure in an attempt to mould unruly popular culture to their own designs, we’ll probably never know for sure. All I can say  is that at the time it seemed like the Esthablishment were applying the screws to something that displeased them, and that was reason enough to fall in behind the republican flag.

Incidentally, 1977 was the only time that somewhere I was living actually held a royal street party. But it was just for the younger kids, us older teenagers weren’t invited. Of course, we wouldn’t have gone even if we had been… but it’d have been nice to have had the opportunity of making a point by refusing. Bah ! Foiled again.

And here we are all these years later, in a different century even !, and Mrs Windsor is still clinging to her throne like a very determined barnacle.  And something my teenage self could never have expected – I’ve recorded a version of “GSTQ”


Free MP3 download here- http://alonetone.com/fsoundlab/tracks/god-save-the-queen-sex-pistols-cover.mp3

It was originally recorded for a jubilee-themed competition on mp3unsigned.com. and you might not be suprised to hear that it got 0 votes. Although to be fair, a third of the enterants also got 0 votes, and the winner only got 3, so I’m not losing any sleep over it.

And no – in this case I dont think pressure from the palace was involved…

Mr. Frankenstein

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