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Why, why, why, Delilah?

GB News was outraged this morning. Was it Shell’s record profits? Striking teachers? Anything uttered by a Labour politician? Nope. On their online channel, it was the BANNED (their capitals) hit song “Delilah”. Oh dear, banned, in capitals, in ‘woke row’. To be clear, it has not been banned, or even BANNED, at the Welsh rugby national stadium on the eve of Six Nations, but it has been removed from the pre-match and half-time list of songs for performance by the official choir. Visiting choirs have been asked not to sing it. No-one however, will stop the 90,000 fans from singing it.

A ‘woke row’ then over ‘problematic lyrics’. Let’s reflect on this briefly. I’m guessing we all know those lyrics - “I felt the knife in my hand, and she laughed no more” - the narrator has obviously been in a toxic relationship which has led to Delilah cheating on him. I don’t believe we hear her side of the story but the first verse suggests that they are not living together (he passes ‘her’ window one night, spying on her it would seem). He waits until Delilah’s visitor drives away, then challenges her. She laughs. He stabs her to death. Whilst waiting for the authorities to take him away, he asks her to forgive him - because he couldn’t ‘take anymore’. - So, sorry - not sorry. It was all down to her, his obsession (verse 2). “Sheeeeee, wassss - my woman”. No Sir Tom, I don’t think she was.

Wokery, of course. Nonsense. It’s just a song, everyone knows it, no-one has a problem with it. Woke censorship, cancelling a national treasure. Freedom of speech (and 60’s pop songs). Well, who might have a problem with it are the parents of Holly Newton and Aliza Miraz, teenage girls stabbed to death in the last week or so. Another girl was stabbed in the leg by a boy when she refused to give him her telephone number. I would not want them to be exposed to a choir, let alone 90,000 fans, belting out those ‘problematic lyrics’.

There’s a long list of songs banned by the BBC - including “Glad To Be Gay”, “Relax”, “Anarchy in the UK”, “Lola” - though because it mentioned CocaCola, not for gender issues. Many, many more, some for reasons hard to hear with a straight face. Eliza Doolittle’s “Walking on Water” ran into trouble and Doolittle was asked to change the lyric: “Sometimes I wish I was Jesus” to “Sometimes I wish it was easy to get my Air Max on and run across the sea to you.” Of the many banned titles, only Cher’s “Bang!Bang! (My baby shot me down)” seems to be in the same ball park as the never banned (or BANNED) “Delilah”.

Femicide is, sadly, not uncommon in big songs. Often by a river. “Banks of the Ohio”, “Down By The River”, a sub-genre of murder ballads going back to “Matty Groves” includes Pat Hare’s 50s offering “I’m Gonna Murder My Baby”. As upfront as it gets. Years later Pat Hare did murder his partner. Once you start thinking about it (not about murder, about songs about femicide) its disturbing to realise just how common they are.

Even when there is no actual murder being celebrated, there is often an implied violence against a woman - “Every Breath You Take”, “Run For Your Life (if you can little girl)”. So often, those Delilah themes of stalking, obsession, of being disappointed, or of being betrayed, by “my woman” (or often “little girl”). And yes, sometimes the songs are about how wrong, how tragic, but there is, nevertheless, an awful lot that are just guilty as charged. “Hey Joe… where you going with that gun in your hand…” Well, my woman (there you go) has been messin around. So I’ll shoot her down and bugger off to Mexico for a bit…

There is a fight back, not least from Taylor Swift, Queen of the Break Up Song, who celebrates ‘there’s nothing like a mad woman’, and reminds him ‘I’ll Bet You Think About Me’, and in the breakup song of breakup songs, “All Too Well”, has audiences singing out “Fuck The Patriarchy”.

So, GB News, I notice that your ‘think piece’ about wokies messing with a hit song, you didn’t pause to wonder why the song has endured, or if it gives a little message, perhaps. You didn’t mention Holly or Aliza, or a traumatised girl with a leg wound because she refused to give her telephone number.

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