Wednesday 10 April 2013

Protest Song, Never!

I've been thinking quite a bit about my formative years during the 80s over the past couple of days, like a lot of people I expect. Concentrating on the music that I was listening,  to not all of the music but the stuff with a message, the protest music.

You can relax this isn't going to be an argument that the protest music in the 80s was better than anything that has come long since. No point debating that, it is a given.

I was thinking of all the Billy Bragg, Red Wedge affiliated groups such as the Style Council, Communards etc and also the raging, angry stuff by the likes of Crass, Conflict and Chumbawamba. Most of the music was preaching to the converted I think, I'm not sure too many folk who had been dressing like fannies and listening to the likes of Duran Duran took to heart the lyrics of To Have And To Have Not or Pills and Soap.

A tune by the biggest pop group of  1984 keeps popping into my head when I remember those days when it seemed that every weekend I was marching for something but mostly for an end to the nuclear arms race and the presence on British soil of American Cruise Missiles and the looming deployment of the Trident Submarine, first strike weapon.

The cover version of Born To Run won't seem like a protest song to most but to I have always felt that it fitted right in with the rest of the tunes I would put on my 80s protest compilation tape. Part of the reason must be that the first time I heard it was on the bus going to Barrow In Furness for an anti-Trident demo. Also the snatch of dialogue at the start suggests that the guy getting the bollocking is raging against something. But when you listen to the song their is a definite feeling desperation about it, not the getting your end away suggestion of the original but more a we need to get the fuck out of here as it's shit, which is exactly how I felt in 1984.

I'm probably talking a load of bollocks but I've always felt that there was more to the cover version than a camp tongue in cheek cover of Springsteen. Anyway,  it will be on my 80s rally compilation just after Bob Marley's Redemption Song, another I heard first on that demo in Barrow.

FGTH - Born To Run


Anonymous said...

I agree this is a great song. Always have. No irony.

George said...

Drew. A couple of things.
1. Talking bollocks. I'm all for it, especially about music.
2. Barrow 1984. I was on that protest too.
3. Springsteen. Never liked his music.
4. That was 3 points not 4. Sorry.

Walter said...

You don't have to be a fan of Springsteen to recognize a great song

Swiss Adam said...

Not a Springsteen fan but love this song.