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Margaret Thatcher's death a topic of song since '80s

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Thatcher-evil-harpy.jpgMargaret Thatcher has died, and I can count on my hands and feet several times over the number of songwriters who aren't crying any tears over the news.

Peppered with strikes and social-program slashing, the British prime minister's brutish 11-year reign proved inspiring to many musicians. The 1980s did not play second fiddle to the '60s when it came to angry social songs, and in the eyes of many young up-and-coming rockers and pop stars Thatcher's government provided endless material for melodic rage.

Many of them, in fact, dreamed of this very day. Quite longingly.

Morrissey -- keep an ear out for his pithy comment, surely coming today (UPDATE: it's here!) -- hoped Thatcher would meet a more French end ("Margaret on the Guillotine," in which he moans over and over, "When will you die? When will you die?"). The narrator of Elvis Costello's "Tramp the Dirt Down" -- maybe it's him, maybe it's a miner -- hopes to dance upon her grave. Well after she'd left power, the band Hefner still infused "The Day That Thatcher Dies" with jubilant horns and a chorus of "Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead."

Here's a Spotify playlist of songs railing against Thatcher and offering a less-than-melancholy take on today's news (WARNING: some very adult language here, particularly in the trio of punk tracks), from Curtis Mayfield's guest turn with the Blow Monkeys for "Celebrate (The Day After You)" -- a song actually banned during a British election -- to the Specials' twist on Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" to, of course, a couple of Billy Bragg classics.

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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on April 8, 2013 10:38 AM.

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