Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Joe Jackson's "Battleground."

In the context of the Michael Richards-inspired* N-word discussion, I thought of these lyrics by Joe Jackson. The song is called "Battleground," and it's from the long-out-of-print 1980 album Beat Crazy. It's interesting to see how relevant a white Englishman's perspective on race relations is to Americans 26 years later. Warning: some readers may be offended, blah blah blah.

*Perhaps "Michael Richards-inspired" is not the best phrase to use, like, ever again.

Written by Joe Jackson
(c)1980 Albion Music, Ltd.

Black nigger white nigger standing in the dark
Listen to the rhythm of the bass boom
Black nigger takes a hit sending up a spark
In the dark heat
Swaying a little to the bass beat
White nigger takes a hit takes money out
Says this is what it's all about
Rots your brain - who cares
Black nigger stares
White nigger sighs
I like your music
I like your style
I crack a joke so why don't you smile

White nigger dancing out on the floor tonight
The band's not good but the beat seems right
The band's all black and the floor's all white
Clenching fists unite and fight
Rock agianst racism rules tonight
But in the real world
No-one rules
But fists are clenched all right
Down in the underground
Out in the playground
The common ground
Is a battleground

Now you don't have to be black to be a nigger no more
The writing's on the wall
Say - black is power
White is flower
Diveded we fall
And behind the wall
Behind the door
In the dark heat
In the rhythm of the bass beat
Something is wrong
And no-one is taking the blame

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  • At 11/28/2006 5:10 PM , Blogger Joey Fanelli said...

    Do you think black hecklers ever got mad at a Joe Jackson concert when he sung this song?

  • At 11/29/2006 7:59 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    Musicians can get away with a lot more than othern kinds of artists. And Jackson's English, so he gets a bit of a pass on this one. (Not that the British have such a great history of race relations...)

  • At 11/29/2006 5:00 PM , Blogger Joey Fanelli said...

    Pink Floyd got a lot of heat for "In the Flesh" though, but i guess it's a matter of circumstance.

  • At 11/29/2006 5:00 PM , Blogger Joey Fanelli said...

    And no, i don't mention thats as a Floyd Fanatic, I mention that as a casual example.

  • At 11/30/2006 8:37 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    It's an excellent example.

    Though you are, of course, a Floyd fanatic.

  • At 11/30/2006 5:17 PM , Blogger Joey Fanelli said...

    I am, but i don't bring it up beacuse my mind is full of Floyd, i bring it up beacuse it is a good example, as you said.

  • At 11/30/2006 5:49 PM , Blogger Joey Fanelli said...

    "Are there any queers in the theatre tonight?
    Get 'em up against the wall. -- 'Gainst the wall!
    And that one in the spotlight, he don't look right to me.
    Get him up against the wall. -- 'Gainst the wall!
    And that one looks Jewish, and that one's a coon.
    Who let all this riffraff into the room?
    There's one smoking a joint, and another with spots!
    If I had my way I'd have all of ya shot. "

  • At 11/30/2006 6:55 PM , Blogger Joey Fanelli said...


  • At 11/30/2006 6:56 PM , Blogger Joey Fanelli said...

    I have the remastered version of The Wall on DVD, and on the diffrent menu screens there are slow motion shots of diffrent parts of the movie, and one of them is the one where Facist Pink just sung In The Flesh and the siginals for the explosion, and you can see one of the skinheads in the back with his eyes clenched closed and nose scrunched up beacuse he knows there is about to be a huge firely explosion, but it just looks so funny in slow-mo.


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