Song Lyric Sunday: Ghost Town

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is
Songs that feature wind or brass instruments
.
The song must contain a reference to the prompt in the title or the lyrics.
If the song does not meet these criteria, please explain why you chose it.


Today’s song contains a flugelhorn, flute, and a trombone. And is a haunting masterpiece dealing with urban decay, unemployment and violence in the inner cities. Ghost Town is by the British two-tone and ska revival band The Specials. Released in 1981, it spent three weeks at number one in the UK. And helped me get through the horror of school sports day that year.

The morning was devoted to field events and only the competitors, school prefects and games staff were allowed out. I guess they didn’t want the rest of us milling about with javelins being hurled in all directions.

The track event participants spent the morning hanging about in the gym, drinking Lucozade and posing in their house colours. The rest of us no-hopers trawled from class to class, with bugger all to do. Bored teachers would mumble things like “read the next chapter” before disappearing into their staffrooms.

My chemistry class that day should have held twenty-nine kids. There were ten of us. We whiled away the time shrinking empty crisp (potato chip) packets over the Bunsen burners. Messy, but fun! Until Gary Atkins whipped out a cassette player the size of a breeze block, and insisted we listen to a song he’d taped off the radio the night before.

From the age before Spotify

Right from the Hammer Horror opening, I was hooked. Especially sitting in a nearly deserted classroom excluded from the dubious joys of sports day: I was too short for the high jump and too uncoordinated to let fly with a discus. (Think that’s funny, you should have seen my attempts at hurdling!).

But Ghost Town is an odd and eerie song that perfectly fitted the unusual quietness of school that day. And the general mood in society that year. England was deep in recession, with riots breaking out across its urban areas as the unemployed, and the disaffected fought running battles with the police.

Happy Halloween!

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
All the clubs have been closed down
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
Bands won’t play no more
Too much fighting on the dance floor

Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?
We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
Why must the youth fight against themselves?
Government leaving the youth on the shelf
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
No job to be found in this country
Can’t go on no more
The people getting angry

This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town

Songwriter(s): Jerry Dammers
© BMG Rights Management

14 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: Ghost Town

  1. I really enjoyed how you introduced your song with a story from your past. I’ll need to show my son the photo of the tape recorder. He still can’t believe we had to use a Walkman. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about what came before.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant – as always, Ella. I had just started work after 6th form. We thought we were lucky to have a job – no uni nor gap years for us! I saw a fair few ska bands in that era but never UB40. Shame on me!!! 😂 (PS – perfect halloween theme)

    Liked by 1 person

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