Live It Up 3: Shipbuilding

The most poignant protest song from the 1980s was written by Elvis Costello – about the Falklands War – or the War of Thatcher’s Face as I like to call it.

Shipbuilding was a minor hit for former Soft Machine member Robert Wyatt – wheelchair and all. Wyatt had been paralysed after a fall from a window. When he had a 1970s hit with I’m A Believer (more famously a hit for The Monkees) the producer of Top of the Pops is supposed to have said the wheelchair was, “not suitable for family viewing.” Wyatt “lost his rag but not the wheelchair.”

Like Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart’s Last Train to Clarksville – also recorded by The Monkees – the lyric of Shipbuilding is subtle, not overtly stating its theme.

Robert Wyatt: Shipbuilding

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