Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Most Dangerous Song in the World - A Rewrite

Interesting article in the latest issue of Industrial Worker, journal of the Industrial Workers of the World, on the workers anthem, 'The Internationale', and the various lyric changes down the years, depending on who the song was beng sung for and by.

The author of the article, Len Wallace was a member of the Socialist Party of Canada, a sister organisation of the SPGB, for over 25 years until political disagreements led him to resign from the SPC/WSM about 4 or 5 years ago. That was a shame 'cos, in my opinion, he is one of the best socialist writers that I have read in recent years. I understand that he was a founder member of the World in Common group, but I'm not sure if he is still active with them.

He mentions Billy Bragg's version in the article, and as much as I love Billy Bragg's work usually, I don't think it is one of his better musical decisions. I remember him singing his rewritten version in the Leftfield Tent at Glastonbury a few years ago, for him only to be confronted with a few hundred blank faces. No bugger knew the words to his version. Give me his reworking of the Red Flag that he recorded with Dick Gaughan any day. That tune kicks arse, and puts to bed once and for all the funeral dirge version that the Labour Party has been singing (reluctantly in recent years 'cos it's too old school) these last one hundred years.

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