Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Use of Music

The Dropkick Murphy's are incensed that Scott Walker is using their "Shipping Up To Boston" as an entrance song.  They hate him because, well, they're from Quincy, and they're Irish, and being a pro-union Democrat is simply in their blood.

I have written many songs, none memorable, and have a few other creative endeavors over the years, and I absolutely get how unfair it would feel for any of that were used in support of a cause I disagreed with.  Unfortunately for them, unions are just about the one group in the country that would be hypocrites to object to that.  It was a specific strategy in the 20th C for union organisers, taught to them by the CPUSA, to repurpose hymns, popular songs, and folk songs with new lyrics. You will find a couple on just about every Pete Seeger album.

I don't want to therefore call it a communist strategy - I think the CPUSA got it from 19th C nationalist and revolutionary groups, which in turn may have gotten it from Protestant revival groups going back to Luther, at least.  It is used because it is effective.


james said...

Though it is kind of sad to hear people using hymns of devotion to God as hymns of devotion to their cause (e.g. Recall Walker) as though their political machinery were the source of all life and light now and forever.

Christopher B said...

Same song, second verse in the battle over who gets to determine Meaning, the artist or the observer.

I remember a lot of whining when Reagan used "Born in the USA" at his rallies, along with a lot of sniggering that he didn't understand the song. I prefer to think that the lyrics are a bit more ambiguous than The Bruce would like to admit.

The Mad Soprano said...

Dropkick Murphys needs a sense of proportion for Christmas.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Mad S - you should see their Christmas video


Anonymous said...

Songs are effective propaganda, period. It only looks more useful than others, because people have forgotten the power of song and lore in reshaping and maintaining social fabrics.