Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ding Dong the People's Song and the Progressive Hero

Well it didn't make it to the number one position on this week's music charts.

Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead has failed to reach the number one spot in the music charts.

The Wizard of Oz song, which has been at the centre of an online campaign by opponents of Baroness Thatcher, reached number two after selling 52,605 copies.

And the BBC did chicken out.

But number two is still extraordinary for a 74-year-old song. And somewhere the spirit of the man who wrote it is chuckling tonight.

For the great Yip Harburg was truly a progressive hero. 

In a 2006 interview with Amy Goodman on 'Democracy Now', Harburg's son Ernie Harburg said "Wizard of Oz" was about common people confronting and defeating seemingly insurmountable and violent oppression. The Scarecrow represented farmers, the Tin Man stood for factory workers, and the Munchkins of the 'Lollipop Guild' were the union members, he said.

A man who was blacklisted for his beliefs, and wrote so many other great songs like
Brother Can You Spare a Dime?

They used to tell me
I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?

Whose lyrics still stand today as an indictment of everything Thatcher and her Con acolytes did and are doing to our world.

And I'm pretty sure if Yip was alive today, and we had asked him to rewrite the lyrics of that song as the New York Times did in 1970.

He would have written this version for us:

Once we had a Roosevelt  Pearson or a Tommy Douglas.
Praise the Lord!
Life had meaning and hope.
Now we're stuck with Nixon, Agnew, Ford, the Harper gang.
Brother, can you spare a rope?

For he would have known that Harper is just another would-be Thatcher, just the same old Con thing. And he would have been working with us to defeat him.

Yup. I mean Yip. Thank goodness I'm a progressive eh?

Which is why I long ago downloaded the Brother song, just like I downloaded the Ding Dong one yesterday.

But if you don't mind I think I'll end with another song he wrote, that long ago became the unofficial anthem of the gay movement.

The one that speaks to all of us, of the light beyond the darkness, and of the hope for a better world...

For we will get to that promised land, that better place.

We will defeat the Cons of this world.

Yip Harburg's songs will live forever.

And he will always be my hero....


P.S. Now c'mon Munchkins, we're off to the Thatcher funeral...

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Anonymous said...

A rope? Is death threat little man?

Haven't you died of AIDS?

Haven't you killed yourself yet?

Isn't that what your "kind" does best?
Die young, die early and die fast?

Anonymous said...

I remember a fabulous version by the great jazz singer June Christie of "Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead" if you could ever find it, now...think it was recorded in the '50's...
How anyone can intone about the late never great Milk-Snatcher Thatcher is beyond imagining..she did more to destroy families and communities than anyone else in Britain..and the reverberations are still well and truly present today in that country...her death, unfortunately, changes nothing...

Simon said...

hi lefty...when I went looking for the video, I was surprised to find how many versions. There was even one by Bing Crosby. I briefly considered it, but it's not Christmas, and there was only one Judy. The thing I find ironic, is that so many members of the Thatcher cult are upset about the Ding Dong song thinking it's only about the Wizard of Oz. When in fact there couldn't be a more fitting song to mark her passing, and hopefully the beginning of the end of her foul legacy...

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to the heart by, some peoples cruel words to you. However. You have friends out there, that do support you.

However. You are right Simon. I am happy, right along with you.Things are going to change for the better. Hopefully in BC, Adrian Dix will trounce Harper's satellite party, the BC Liberals.

It's a wait and see between Justin and Mulcair. Many of us, I think are past the point of caring, just as long as Dictator Harper is, gone, gone, gone. I want my country back. I want to be able to be, a proud Canadians again.

Simon said...

hi anonycon...goodness gracious we are aroused tonight, and it isn't even a full moon. I guess Thatcher's death, the NDP convention, Justin Trudeau's election and your leader's sagging polls, must have finally driven you over the edge. I suppose that you think you can hurt or intimidate me by writing such filth. But actually you don't. I just feel sorry for you, because I'm so happy and healthy and loved, and you must be so sick and miserable and lonely. Oh well, run along, finish that pitcher of turpentine and then go straight to bed. And if you don't wake up in the morning, I'm sure only your pet rat Harpo, the one you carry around in your pocket or your piehole, will be the only one who misses you...

P.S. Do you know what Thatcher's last words were? "I'm melting !!!!! I'm melting !@#!!" Muahahahaha... :)

Simon said...

hi anonymous...thank you, I'm very happy and grateful for all the support you and others have given me over the years. And don't worry about anonycom. I receive may comments like his, or worse, and I usually delete them right away without even really reading them. I only post the occasional one so as to show, what kind of people some of those Cons are, so we can be reminded why we must do everything we can to defeat them. And we WILL defeat them, I'm never been more optimistic in that regard. And we will be proud Canadians again...