CERTAIN bands believe the powers-that-be are scared of their radical, dangerous message. Here are some that were a little bit deluded.
Chumbawamba were committed anarcho-communists for a decade before their one hit, Tubthumping, and that’s a long time to live in a squat. Sadly it was immediately co-opted as a beer monster dancefloor singalong. Also the lyric ‘He drinks a whisky drink, he drinks a vodka drink, he drinks a lager drink, he drinks a cider drink’ is so annoying it makes you want to join the Young Conservatives.
Went from being angsty punks fretting about meth abuse and anxiety attacks to really quite political, with their big hit American Idiot highlighting the propaganda of ‘embedded’ US journalists during the Iraq war. Sadly the electorate did want to be American idiots and voted for Bush a couple of months later.
The Spice Girls
Geri Halliwell in particular seemed to believe that ‘girl power’ was a genuine movement set to change society, like a pop version of Marxism-Leninism. The only problem was no one had a clue what ‘girl power’ actually was except a slogan to shout. Something about being nice to your friends?
The archetypal 80s anarchist band, with the usual interests of anti-fascism, animal rights, feminism, [insert your own left-wing concern here] etc. Their anti-Falklands ditty How Does It Feel? (To Be the Mother of a Thousand Dead), did actually lead to a Tory MP asking a question in the Commons. However they had zero effect on Thatcher’s popularity and to this day Tory backbenchers are still attention-seeking wankers. Plus ca change.
The Dead Kennedys
A cool name and equally cool song titles like Holiday in Cambodia and Too Drunk to F**k. Their wider impact is questionable, although they did cause panic at the BBC in case the latter song reached the top 30 and had to be listed on Top of the Pops. In the end, Tony Blackburn did refer to it, but as ‘Too Drunk, by the Kennedys’. Good to see TOTP getting its priorities right back in 1981.
The Sex Pistols
Don’t let John Lydon’s sneering cynicism fool you – the Pistols thought they were pretty important. Sadly the sentiment ‘God save the Queen/And the fascist regime’ wasn’t shared by the public, was repudiated by the band themselves when Her Majesty passed on, and John Lydon was ultimately deemed to be more respectful than Phil and Holly.