Songs of the Troubles, redivivus

Earlier I got some stick for suggesting that Zombie by The Cranberries might have been included in any top ten of the best songs to come out of Northern Ireland’s Troubles. To attempt a slight apologia, what I actually said was there was a line in the (otherwise very sparse) lyric that made it worth considering. In retrospect, the lines that actually caught my ear were: When the violence causes silence, We must be mistaken. But there were lots of others which may have a prior claim:In no particular order:

The town I loved so well – The Dubliners

Invisible Sun – The Police

Belfast – Boney M

– Give Ireland Back to the Irish – Wings (can’t find a passable performance on video)

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello (also David Vance‘s favourite of all time)

Through the Barricades – Spandau Ballet

Forgotten Sons – Marillion

The Island – Paul Brady

– Whatever you say, say nothing – Colm Sands (can’t find a video)

– Belfast Befast – Clubsound (can’t find video)

– Ether – The Gang of Four (can’t find video)

– Give my head peace – Saw Doctors (can’t find a video)

The Saints are coming – U2 and Greenday (see earlier thread for link)

: There were Roses – Cara Dillon

  • Some Guy

    Note to Mick Fealty,
    Your blogspot site is gone. You linked to an article on it on another blog. Where’s the article (on the census in NI)?

  • Mick Fealty

    Not sure what happened. We lost the first blogspot site, after using it for back up to the main Slugger for the ‘third’ time.

  • nick Pugachev

    Cara Dillon’s “Roses”

  • freedom focker

    There can be only one:

  • GurnyGub

    “Suspect Device” by Stiff Little Fingers

  • Londoner

    Northern Industrial Town by Billy Bragg

    Lyrics here:

  • gerry

    Did you see yer mans shoes in boney M? I used to have a pair like that.

  • dympna

    I really am showing my age here but “Olde tyme future” by NI prog rockers “Fruupp” is worthy of a mention.

  • Rory

    I really like:

    “All Kinds of Really, really nice things remind me to support Alliance (or else the SDLP ’cause they’re really nice as well and Hugo is very kind I’m sure)”,

    which, as I remember, was a huge mega-mega international hit for Dana Galway (or was it Sir Cliff Morrison?). or, if it wasn’t, most certainly soon will be. (1)

    The lyrics are really crap and my Uncle Elton insists that some of it is even worse than the shit he churns out. Aren’t dead famous people really nice? Just like the Alliance party and really, really dead famous people like Sir James Brown, the future prime minister, who’s only recently become dead famous by becoming recently dead and is therefore a bit retiring at the moment but will soon make a comeback (at least according to that nice Mr JN Darby).

    Do you have it on your i-pod? If so, it is likely to be infected with a deadly virus. This is your own fault. You are lazy and a cheapo! For only $799.99 per month, Rorykleen, will help remove all embarrassing tunes and help maintain your overdraft/ credit card at dangerously worrying limits thus maintaining your street cred. ( All applicants must supply full character references).

    (1) p.s. I remember! It was Sir Jams O’Donnell, Orange flautist, rebel rapper and a man who embraced all cultures and indeed all sexes and expressions thereof, including arachnaphilia – man/spider love – much misunderstood but becoming more widely accepted not least due to the influence of Sir Jams and his close and fellow fiddly fingered friend, Sir Bonus O’Blare.


    The Shankill road’s very own Rufrex and heir song The Wild Colonial Boy

    Apart from that, the above mentioned Northern Industrial town from Billy Bragg

  • CincinnatiDave

    Gary Moore & Phil Lynott: “Out in the Fields”
    Dodgy hair but classic guitar-driven rock from the mid-80’s

    Also worth a mention- Martyn Joseph: “Ballad for the Children of Ireland”.
    Sorry couldn’t find any sort of link but saw him perform it live many moons ago in Belfast & Derry. Very powerful performance.

    Merry Christmas folks & a Happy New Year to all in Northern Ireland.

  • Tokyoite

    Ether – The Gang of Four…
    No video but the has a full-track stream:

    Whatever you say, say nothing – Colm Sands…
    I googled and found a video (RealPlayer required) at:
    Here, Colm Sands sings with Sharon Aviv, an Isreali storyteller, after speaking with the host.

  • pugachev

    what about That Petrol Emotion ?
    Can’t think which of their tracks would be the best for this category.

  • Nestor Makhno

    pugache: what about That Petrol Emotion?

    That would be ‘Big Decision’ – ‘Bells won’t ring when scum break down your door’

    Their stuff has actually improved with age. Twenty years on and their album Psychobabble sounds like it was recorded last week,

  • Nestor Makhno

    ‘unpleasant’ replacing the word ‘skum’ there! Filtered not very artistically!!!

  • sniffy

    My cabbage-eating GF nominates Johnny Was and Barbed Wire Love by the SLF.

  • Dalek

    I was going to post something nearly identical to nestor makhno last night but didnt get around to it…”Big Decision” was the one that sprang to my mind also.Babble was a great album.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    There’s a very important omission from this list, so far.

    “The Fun Boy Three – The More I See (The Less I Believe)”

    It’s the only song in the UK singles chart that mentioned Ian Paisley and Sinn fein – none of your Spandau Ballet Billy and Mary love across the barricades nonsense. It was released way back in 1983

    It’s best listened to on the “Waiting” album due to the superb “Murder She Said” segue. I can’t find the lyrics online but, here’s a taste

    The Government is confused
    The armys becoming bemused
    Another bomb becomes defused
    And the terrorists aren’t amused
    Paisley is getting his shirt off
    Sinn Fein are going insane
    Another attack leaves a widow in black
    Grieving for her bereaved
    Another kid with a brick gets shot in the back
    And gets left on the pavement to bleed
    It’s not my concern

    Belfast Oh Belfast
    Belfast’s only half an hour away
    Close your eyes, but it won’t go away
    Belfast’s only half an hour away
    Does anybody know any jokes?

  • pith

    I used to think The Cranberries’ “Zombie” was the worst song on anything but I was wrong. They did one on Yeats that is even worse.

    And where did they get that name?

  • susan

    Again with The Cranberries, pith? Mick’s already apologised. Did you have to, did you have to, did you have to let it linger?

  • dalek

    You know I’m such a fool for you.
    You got me wrapped around your finger, ah, ha, ha.
    Do you have to let it linger? Do you have to, do you have to,
    Do you have to let it linger?

    bokes violently………

  • pith

    Thanks susan. I’ll try to keep up with the pace in future.

    Gloria Hunniford did a “troubles” song.

  • tiddels

    How about one that was banned, The British Solider by Andrew Harvey after all it happened and was one of the few no one took credit for.

  • If you’re going for an SLF song – there version of Johnny Was (written by Rita Marley) or Wasted Life. The latter is here:

    Shocked that no-one has nominated the most obvious – – ‘is this the UDA, is this the IRA, I thought it was the UK…’. Very profound.

    I am stubbornly resisting asking for In the Ghetto to be given a wild card on the sole grounds that it is Elvis.

  • Rory Carr

    Is this the one you mean, Tiddels?

    This extraction from the comments section of The Mudcat Café website might help to explain why you seem to recall it being banned.

    Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Soldier (Harvey Andrews)
    From: GUEST
    Date: 21 May 05 – 07:07 PM

    Does anyone know the name of the band who did a cover version of this song? It was on side B of a song(s) by the Angelic upstarts called “The thin red line” and “The Brighton bomb” The cover (from memory) of the LP was banned in the UK because it pictured Magartet Thatcher sat on a stick of TNT with her arms and legs blown off.

    Post – Top – Forum Home – Printer Friendly – Translate
    Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Soldier (Harvey Andrews)
    From: GUEST
    Date: 22 May 05 – 05:26 AM

    it was the Angelic Upstarts

  • Declan

    “Reconciliation” by Ron Kavana