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article imageOp-Ed: BBC radio show on politically incorrect songs

By Alexander Baron     Jul 2, 2011 in Entertainment
BBC Radio 4 is sometimes thought of as a somewhat boring station, and it would be if it didn’t produce such interesting listening, like this two part documentary on politically incorrect songs.
Taboo Be Doo is a two part documentary about politically incorrect songs presented by Terence Blacker. For those who are able to download it, the second programme can still be found on BBC iplayer here.
This offering from the highbrow station is part education, part social commentary and part humour as well as quite a bit of music. The first part covered inter alia the songs of American satirist Tom Lehrer; the second part covers among other things Nobody Loves A Fat Girl...which was recorded by the far from anorexic Sophie Tucker, but if that is a fairly obvious example of self-deprecating humour, some of the songs featured herein have darker origins. For example, rock guitarist Pat Travers recorded an uptempo fun track called Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights), which was actually written by harmonica player Stan Lewis, who it is to be hoped did not actually punch out his wife’s lights, which is where the boom, boom comes from.
Taboo Be Doo also covers a fair amount of what might be called racially sensitive material, including Shine, which was written by two black songwriters in 1910, and “cleaned up” over the decades to such a degree that it would be virtually unrecognisable by its composers.
For those who want to learn more about the history and development of contemporary and not so contemporary songs – politically correct and otherwise – probably the best place to start on-line is the SongFacts database, which also contains pointers to further research.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Music, Political correctness, Satire, Tom Lehrer, Boom Boom
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