Song Lyric Sunday – War: What is it Good For?

The theme from Jim Adams is songs that mention Army, Soldier, War.
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, I’ve chosen what I consider to be the best protest song ever written. Below are the video and lyrics for War by Edwin Starr.

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, uhh
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, y’all
War, huh (good God)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me, oh

War, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mother’s eyes
When their sons go off to fight
And lose their lives

I said, war, huh (good God, y’all)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, just say it again
War (whoa), huh (oh Lord)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

It ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) Friend only to The Undertaker
Oh, war it’s an enemy to all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die? Oh

War, huh (good God y’all)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it, say it, say it
War (uh-huh), huh (yeah, huh)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

It ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) It’s got one friend that’s The Undertaker
Oh, war, has shattered many a young man’s dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much too short and precious
To spend fighting wars each day
War can’t give life
It can only take it away, oh

War, huh (good God y’all)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again

War (whoa), huh (oh Lord)
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
(War) Friend only to The Undertaker, woo
Peace, love and understanding, tell me
Is there no place for them today?
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way, oh

War, huh (God y’all)
What is it good for? You tell me (nothing)
Say it, say it, say it, say it

War (good God), huh (now, huh)
What is it good for?
Stand up and shout it (nothing)

Songwriters: Barrett Strong / Norman Whitfield
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

And here’s the original version by The Temptations…

Song Lyric Sunday: Flower Power

The prompt for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is Blossoms/Cherry/Flowers.
The song must contain one of these words in either the title or the lyrics.

Hippy Chick by Soho first reached No.67 in the UK in 1990, and a re-release in 1991 stormed up to No.8. But this track was huge on the dance floor. I must have trashed numerous pairs of shoes grooving to this.

As soon as it came on the floor filled with people, doing what I can only describe as the aeroplane dance. Easy, but dangerous, just jig about on the spot with arms outstretched and bob and weave to the music. I can’t tell you the number of times I got smacked in the face. This was vogueing on steroids.

The song samples the driving guitar from The Smiths track How Soon Is Now? And is about a woman arrested by her boyfriend at a protest demonstration. As you can imagine, this put a bit of a damper on their relationship.

It’s hard to tell you how I feel without hurting you
So try to think about yourself the way that I see you
You’re life revolves around the force of oppression
And I won’t deal with the true blue devils of correction

Got no flowers for your gun
No hippychick
Won’t make love to change your mind
No hippychick
No hippychick
No, hip hip hip hip hip

Today, we’ll sit here drinking coffee in your incident room
Tonight, you’ll close the door and lock me in that bare bulb gloom
Love, it ain’t something riding on a motorbike
And love, I stopped loving you since the miners’ strike

Got no flowers for your gun
No hippychick
Won’t make love to change your mind
No hippychick
No hippychick
No, hip hip hip hip hip hop

It’s hard
It’s hard
It’s hard
It’s hard

No hippychick
No hip hip hip hip hip
No hippychick
No hip hip hip hip hip
No hippychick
No hip hip hip hip hip
No hippychick

Songwriters: Johnny Marr / Dennis Brinkhurst Timothy
© Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

Song Lyric Sunday: General Length or Size of Things

The prompt for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is Long/Short/Small/Tall. The song must contain one of these words in either the title or the lyrics.

Welcome to Bless ‘Em All aka The Long and the Short and the Tall. No small I’m afraid – the sizes mentioned are in reference to members of the armed forces.

This ditty apparently started life as a protest song and became popular among British airmen serving on India’s North-West Frontier during the 1920s. Only they didn’t sing bless, they used a four-letter word that rhymes with pluck.

An early version written in 1917 is credited to Fred Godfrey (lyrics) and Robert Kewley (music), but the credits for a later cleaned up one, go to Al Stillman, Jimmy Hughes and Frank Lake. Confusing, isn’t it? Especially when you look at the dates.

The first known recording of the song is by George Formby in 1940. George was a ukulele playing, comedic actor, hailing from Lancashire in England. He was a massive star in the 1930s and 1940s.

I often wonder if he ever sang the original incarnation of Bless ‘Em All because he wasn’t shy of belting out double entendres. In 1936, the BBC banned his song When I’m Cleaning Windows because of its lewdness. And believe me, it is quite racy.

But here’s George on his best behaviour…

Bless ‘Em All

They say there’s a troopship just leaving Bombay, bound for old Blighty shore
Heavily laden with time expired men, bound for the land they adore.
There’s many an airman just finishing his time, there’s many a twerp signing on.
You’ll get no promotion this side of the ocean, so cheer up my lads, bless ’em all.

Bless ‘em all, bless ‘em all, the long and the short and the tall
Bless all the sergeants and W. O. ones,
Bless all the corp’rals and their blinkin’ sons,
‘Cos we’re saying goodbye to them all, as back to their billets they crawl
You’ll get no promotion this side of the ocean, so cheer up my lads, bless ’em all

They say if you work hard you’ll get better pay
We’ve heard all that before
Clean up your buttons and polish your boots
Scrub out the barrack room floor
There’s many a rookie has taken it in, hook line and sinker an ‘all
You’ll get no promotion this side of the ocean
So cheer up my lads bless ’em all.

Bless ’em all, bless ’em all, the long and the short and the tall,
Bless all the sergeants and W. O. ones,
Bless all the corp’rals and their blinkin’ sons,
‘Cos we’re saying goodbye to them all, as back to their billets they crawl
You’ll get no promotion this side of the ocean, so cheer up my lads, bless’em All

Now they say that the Sergeant’s a very nice chap, oh what a tale to tell.
Ask him for leave on a Saturday night and he’ll pay your fare home as well.
There’s many an airman has blighted his life through writing rude words on the wall
You’ll get no promotion this side of the ocean
So cheer up my lads bless ’em all

Bless ’em all, bless ’em all, the long and the short and the tall,
Bless all the sergeants and W. O. ones,
Bless all the corp’rals and their blinkin’ sons,
‘Cos we’re saying goodbye to them all, as back to their billets they crawl
You’ll get no promotion this side of the ocean, so cheer up my lads, bless’em all

Nobody knows what a twerp you have been, so cheer up my lads, bless ’em all.

Songwriters: Any number of people – take your pick
© Warner Chappell Music, Inc.