Margaret Thatcher Death Party: The musical influence of Maggie
Britain is awash with the giddy joy of people celebrating the death of an 87 year old woman. With unseemly haste the Tory “Britain isnt working” slogan has morphed into a queue to “piss on her still to be dug grave“.
It’s not that I don’t understand the emotiveness Thatcher has always bred, I just don’t get the point. Her death wasn’t at the hands of a baying mob outraged at the inequalities of her rule, it was at the end of a long, happy and prosperous life. Dance on her grave all you like but she lives on in Blair, Cameron, Labour, the Tories and a whole host of Thatcher-Lites.
If the Iron Lady has a positive legacy, it is perhaps to be found in the music her divisive and destructive time in office inspired.
So Margaret, thank you for the music, if nothing else.
Here’s a selection, starting with Lenny Henry introducing The Beat on
TisWas Correction: On OTT (the late ‘adult’ version of Tizwas).
Elvis Costello – “Tramp The Dirt Down”
“When England was the whore of the world, Margaret was her madam”
You could compile a boxset of Billy Bragg’s Thatcher inspired material (notably “Thatcherites”) but nothing comes close to the beauty of “Between The Wars“.
Jegsy Dodd and the Sons of Harry Cross – “8000 Miles Away” – Falkland Islands commentary
I knew Adrian Sherwood & Keith Le Blanc had produced at least one Thatcher inspired work but thanks go to Craig in New Zealand for jogging my mind. The Enemy Within’s “Strike” samples Arthur Scargill on top of crunching electro beats courtesy of the Tackhead mainman. I can remember hearing it first on Coldcut seminal Solid Steel radio show in the early 90’s. All profits went to the “Miners Solidarity Fund”.
Tackhead also sampled Maggie on “Hard Left” featuring Gary Clail, while On-U Sound produced the Dub Syndicates “No Alternative but to fight”.
Peter Gabriel wrote “Don’t Give up” with the plight of the miners, and the mass unemployment brought about by Thatcher’s policies in mind. He originally offered the female vocal part to Dolly Parton who turned it down, leading to one of Kate Bush’s most memorable performances. (Hat tip to Charlotte for the suggestion)
A couple of hundred revelers took Mogwai’s “George Square Thatcher Death Party” literally and partied in George Square, Glasgow on the night Mr’s T died. The Scots are not renowned for their love of Thatcher, due perhaps to the decimation of industry and their gas revenue paying to keep England on the dole through the 80’s.
Sinéad O’Connor – “Black Boys On Mopeds”
Is “Shipbuilding” by Robert Wyatt the greatest Thatcher protest song? Its certainly the only one to have a 30 minute BBC Radio 4 documentary on the history of the song (well worth a listen).
The Specials – “Ghost Town”
Pete Wylie – “The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies!”
“She’s gone, and nobody cried”
Frank Turner – “Thatcher Fucked The Kids”
A little more Thatcher flavoured reggae from UB40 with “Madam Medusa” and “Iron Lady” by the Demon Rockers.
“Round her vacant features, Gilded serpents dance
Her tree of evil knowledge, Sprouts a special branch”
Head to Wrong Tom’s bible of funky reggae punky music “Skank Blog Bologna” for a typically indepth dig around Thatcher’s skanking legacy. This rewrite of Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” being one delight, although the Dub version is even better.
Maggie was even there at the birth of UK Hip-Hop, as Ricky & The Mutations 1983 “Thatcher Rap” must be in with a shout of being one of the earliest examples of Hip-Hop from these shores.
The Not Sensibles had tongue firmly in cheek when declaring “I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher“, while The Exploited certainly weren’t..
Her description of Nelson Mandela as a terrorist even earned her a mention from Public Enemy.
Morrissey – Margaret on the Guillotine
The Dead Kennedys – Kinky Sex Makes the World Go ‘Round
Hefner – “The Day That Thatcher Dies”
“We will laugh the day that Thatcher dies, Even though we know it’s not right, We will dance and sing all night“.
The Blow Monkeys with Curtis Mayfield – “Celebrate (The Day After You)”
Crass – “How Does It Feel To Be The Mother Of A Thousand Dead”
@musiclikedirt Excellent work.Can I nominate the 2nd Style Council LP in pretty much its entirety?
— Dev Sherlock (@d_e_v) April 9, 2013
How could I forget!!??
Captain Sensible maintained a healthy contempt for Margaret throughout his career, and recorded “There Ain’t No Thrilling Maggie Tonight” for BBC Radio 1. His Falklands tribute “Glad Its All Over” reached the charts and was performed on Top Of The Pops.