Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

Posted: October 1, 2014 in political, political songs, politics, songwriting, Thatcher
Tags: , , , , , , , ,, , , ,

The people’s reaction to Thatcher’s death is a tribute to E Y “Yip” Harburg, who wrote “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,”the rest of the Wizard of Oz songs and many others. My thoughts to an American Thatcher admirer:

Amongst the evidently large number of differences between us is that I live here, lived through it, (after my time as a political exile) was in touch with what ordinary folk thought and still think, not to mention millions of young people who can’t get a job or a house. One of the most hateful, and hated people who ever walked the face of Britain. Whilst it is true that some labour leaders didn’t do themselves any favours, she and her government ensured a continuing climate of uncontrolled market driven greed from which we will not recover for many years to come, if ever. But you won’t get any of that from the BBC, Fox, CNN or Murdoch. “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” (written by Yip Harburg, American songwriter who wrote all the Wizard of Oz and Finian’s Rainbow songs, “April in Paris” “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and “Free and Equal Blues” Harburg, who died in 1981, was blacklisted in the 1950s red “witch hunt” and had his passport revoked.) has overnight reached the top of the charts despite being banned by established radio! My planning thesis (1975) was on Belfast (where I had lots of friends and met good people on both sides) in the Troubles. I know a lot of Irish history.

Events and experience have taken me more left than I could have imagined when I was 21. Not in any party sense. In case it escaped you, one of my songs has been popular in Ireland for over 30 years, known across the world, covered and translated into other languages, so I conclude I hit the right chords somewhere.
I’ve had good luck and a good life here, so far, but feel the hurt, anger and desperation of people, including in my community, who are losing the little they have while the gulf between them and their super rich masters widens further. Thatcherism still kills.
Can’t please everyone.

Jack

 

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