Friday, April 12, 2013

Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead

This is a music blog so I feel that I'm entitled to give a view on the BBC's decision not to play Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead in full on its chart show. For overseas readers who may wonder why a song that first appeared in the Wizard Of Oz in 1938 should be so controversial today, the reason is that many, many people are rejoicing at the death of Lady Thatcher and are outraged that she will be given a high profile funeral next Wednesday. They are doing their best to make this short (50 seconds) record an internet hit. Whilst I do not delight in anyone's death, I was one of those who opposed Thatcher's policies when she was Prime Minister and I sympathise with those who want to make their point. What's more I am disgusted that the BBC has, once again, given in to pressure by deciding not to play the song in full.
The list of records banned by the BBC is a long one and, with the benefit of hindsight, a ridiculous one. It's hard to believe that someone on high in the Beeb believed, for example, that Johnny Horton's Battle Of New Orleans should be barred from the airwaves back in 1959. The practice of banning any record that was disapproved of by the BBC hierarchy goes back to before the war, but since the beginning of the pop era dozens of records have faced the chop and been banned at the time by the BBC on the grounds of bad taste, anti-religious references, sexual innuendo and support of drug use. Here are a few of them: Charlie Brown (Coasters), A Day In The Life (Beatles), Ebony Eyes (Everly Brothers), Eve Of Destruction (Barry McGuire), The Garden Of Eden (Frankie Vaughan), Glad To be Gay (Tom Robinson Band), God Save The Queen (Sex Pistols), Hard Headed Woman (Elvis Presley), High Class Baby (Cliff Richard), I Am The Walrus (Beatles), I Can't Control Myself (Troggs), Imagine (John Lennon), Jackie (Scott Walker), Je Taime (Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg), Little Star (Elegants), Love Is Strange (Mickey & Sylvia), Lovin' Machine (Wynonie Harris), Mack The Knife (Bobby Darin), Relax (Frankie Goes To Hollywood), Sixty Minute Man (Dominoes), Such A Night (Johnny Ray), Tell Laura I Love Her (Ray Peterson), Three Stars (Ruby Wright), Tribute To Buddy Holly (Mike Berry), Wet Dream (Max Romeo), Woman Love (Gene Vincent).
With the benefit of hindsight all of these bans on radio play seem ludicrous today - and to most of us they were ludicrous at the time. So Thatcher's song is in good company.


At 12:08 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that they are planning to not play a FIFTY SECOND song 'in full'. I think it'll end up just being "Ding dong the..." "AND that was the Munchkins at number 5" (or wherever it ends up getting to!) Daniel

At 12:09 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, I wonder if it will become the oldest ever song to appear in the official UK chart...? D

At 1:17 pm , Blogger Nick said...

Yes two records in one - oldest and possibly shortest.


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