Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Name That Tune - the results
Lots of proposals for the Liberal Democrats' campaign tune (following my posting last week requesting suggestions).
I haven't yet heard what the official song is - can anyone enlighten me? Whatever it is, any of the following ideas are bound to be better.
Lyn-Su Floodgate says "How about Morrissey's Irish Blood, English heart?". Much as I endorse the lyrical sentiments, we want to attract voters, not cause them to slash their wrists in a fit of rain-soaked Mancunian misery.
Gareth Epps suggests Know Your Rights by the Clash. Yes, but I'll only agree to this suggestion if Mark Oaten is forced to sing it at one of the party's morning press conferences. Gareth also suggests Julian Cope's Try, Try, Try - perhaps we can use this as a last resort if the party's poll ratings start to slip badly. His final suggestion is John Lennon's Power To The People - do we really want to remind everyone of the party's policy on drugs?
Several good ideas from Mark Smulian, including the Rolling Stones' Sitting On A Fence; Danny O'Keefe's Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues; Eddie Hodges's I'm Gonna Knock On Your Door; and The Beatles' You Know My Name (Look Up My Number).
Mark also suggests Stealers Wheel's Stuck In The Middle With You - he obviously hasn't seen Reservoir Dogs. Or maybe he has.
Some interesting ideas from Stephen Tall, including Phil Ochs's Love Me, I'm a Liberal (a brilliant satire but I doubt many of the party's members could take it); Sandy Andina's Vote Early (vote often) (more suitable for Birmingham Labour Party, surely?); and (for when there's a hung parliament) Rachel Stevens's Negotiate With Love. I don't know about you but, in my experience, one should negotiate not with love but with a nail-studded baseball bat.
Roger Hayes suggests Road to Nowhere by Talking Heads. He may be proved right, but it's a tad pessimistic at this stage in the proceedings. His other suggestions include Los Lobos's This Time and Van Morrison's Days Like This, but the problem with both these songs is that "this" could mean anything - try saying either song title in the voice of Leonard Rossiter's Mr Rigsby and you'll see what I mean.
Roger's idea of Dr John's Accentuate the Positive is more upbeat but I'm afraid that The Beatles' The Long and Winding Road evokes an eternity of futile campaigning. Personally, I can cope with "long" or "winding" but not both.
Catherine Furlong says "What about avoiding the problem of lyrics altogether and choose an instrumental piece?" That's all very well, but which tune? One of Mark Smulian's suggestions was the Theme From the Third Man, but my money would be on the William Tell Overture - no journalists would dare make jokes about the Lone Ranger for fear of showing their age.
(Before I reveal the winning nomination, an interesting piece of pop trivia - I was the very first person to purchase a copy of David Steel's single I Feel Liberal, Alright. OK, it's not that interesting, I admit, but as a souvenir of the Alliance years it takes a lot of beating.)
And the winner is... Nellie the Elephant. It's not an obvious choice, but consider the advantages:
- Everyone knows the tune.
- It comes in two versions, the original 1956 children's song by Mandy Miller and the 1984 punk version by the Toy Dolls.
- It has cross-generational appeal. Students will appreciate the postmodern irony; thirty- and forty-somethings will go for the punk version; middle-aged baby boomers will be taken back to their early childhood; and it won't rattle the elderly voters' dentures.
- It has apposite lyrics. Nellie "packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus" - this symbolises the Liberal Democrats' rejection of the old two-party system.