What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 12, 2013

Sometimes History Has Some Delicious Coincidences...

Tucked neatly into this coverage of the "mixed response from the British public"over the death of Margaret Thatcher:

We find this at about 1:17 in:
 So today a rush of UK downloads of the Wizard of Oz song, Judy Garland's "Ding Dong The Witch is Dead."
And this is from the AP:
The BBC is in a bind after opponents of Margaret Thatcher pushed the song "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" to the top of the British charts in a posthumous protest over her divisive policies.

The online campaign to drive the "Wizard of Oz" song to the No. 1 spot on the U.K. singles chart was launched by Thatcher critics shortly after the former prime minister died Monday of a stroke at age 87.

As of Friday, the song was No. 1 on British iTunes.
You can hear a snippet of what our British cousins are downloading here.  And here are the lyrics.  It's the part of the Munchkin "Operetta" that begins:
Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.
Wake up - sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead. She's gone where the goblins go,
Below - below - below.
And ends with the Coroner saying:
As Coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her.
And she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead.
That's what they're downloading over there in the UK to celebrate the death of the staunchly conservative, staunchly anti-communist Margaret Thatcher. (I guess the Iron Lady wasn't completely well-liked over there.)

But do you know who wrote those words?  It was a famous lyricist named E. Y. Harburg - and here's the delicious part:
In Hollywood, Yip Harburg wrote lyrics for numerous film musicals during the 1930's and 1940's. His most famous work was The Wizard of Oz (1939, with Arlen). In this classic, Yip conceived the integration of song and script, wrote the recitative for the Munchkin "operetta," and wrote the lyrics to all the songs, including the Academy Award-winning "Over the Rainbow." He was also the final script editor and made significant contributions to the dialogue. In 1962 he and Arlen scored the animated feature Gay Purr-ee (now a video classic featuring the voice of Judy Garland). From 1951 to 1961 during the House Un-American Activities Committee investigations and the McCarthy hearings Yip was “blacklisted” for his political views from film, television and radio. [Emphasis added.]
He also wrote the lyrics to this Depression-era anthem.  A fitting commentary, perhaps, on some of the economic damage inflicted by the union busting Thatcher:

Yip Harburg died in 1981.  And thirty years later, I guess he gets the last word on Lady Thatcher's demise.

1 comment:

Heir to the Throne said...

RICK: Neil! The bathrooms free! Unlike the country under the Thatcher-ite junta!

(I guess the Iron Lady wasn't completely well-liked over there.)
Unlike when the horrible bitter tasteless wingnuts who brought up the Mary Jo Kopechne/Chappaquiddick smear when the universally beloved progressive icon Ted Kennedy died and whined when any new story about the death or obituary failed to mention it.