The Legend of Wooley Swamp

What ever happened to nuance? Jabberwocky is being spewed up by the left and right as they try to drag us into their Wonderlands. This blog charts a path out of this swamp of simple truths and false certainties. And from time to time, it'll be a place for more light-hearted musings.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song': Viking Anthem or Security Threat?

Update: Now with added accuracy, i.e. who actually sang the Clash song (thanks CMS). Plus there's a great little video clip link at the end.

It is one of – if not THE – most ridiculous stories to emerge in this security-obsessed era of ours. As a Clash fan and a lifelong Led Zeppelin disciple – who you calling a Robert Plant wannabe? – I can only muster utter outrage. And a touch of envy: it should have been me in that taxi!

Basically, a paranoid taxi driver in London thought that an Indian-born Brit’s listening to the tunes of two classic BRITISH bands was suspect. This is whack on so many levels. As reported in USA Today:

A love of punk and hard rock anthems by The Clash and Led Zeppelin led to a British man being hauled off a plane bound for London by police on terrorism fears, newspapers reported on Wednesday.
Indian-born Harraj Mann, 23, played "London's Calling" by The Clash and Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" through the stereo of a taxi he caught to Durham and Tees Valley Airport in northern England.
The taxi driver, however, grew suspicious of his passenger after listening to the lyrics of his chosen songs and alerted the authorities after they reached the airport.”
Read the full story here

Mr. Mann himself had this to say:

"I was laughing about it, but all my mates are absolutely furious. It's just left me bemused. I can agree that there's a culture of fear. They acted on the information they had. I'm just frustrated that it happened to me. It's a mystery."

Enough said and for now I offer you some of the lyrics of the affronting songs.

Joe Strummer of the Clash sang in the punk anthem “London Calling”:

"London calling to the faraway towns
Now that war is declared-and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look at us
All that phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Meltdown Expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stopped running, but I have no fear
London is drowning-and I live by the river..."

Click here for complete lyrics

And as the aforementioned Plant of wild mane fame sang primally in “Immigrant Song”:

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaah- ah, Aaaaaaaaaaaah-ah
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods
Will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying:
Valhalla, I am coming!
On we sweep with threshing oar,
Our only goal will be the western shore."

Click here for complete lyrics

Man, I love the name of that song and understand why Mr. Mann digs it! The riffs plus there’s the connection to the Vikings as immigrants…Ja, ja, ja! Oh Odin, Oh Thor, Oh Gefjun, Oh Idunn...

If you have no access to these songs, you can listen to samples at
For "London Calling" click here.
For "Immigrant Song" click here.

Lastly, here's a must watch (an oldie but still brilliant). Vikings of a more feline and youthful nature, sailing to the beat of said "Immigrant Song".


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Blogger Give 'em enough rope said...

You – a fellow Clash fan? You never told me that! (I knew about Led Zeppelin, of course, and for some reason will always think of you whenever anyone mentions them.)

Anyway, you’re right, it’s got to be one of the silliest stories so far this year, and I’m not sure whether it’s most appropriate to laugh or cry. Perhaps it would have been better if he’d been listening to Safe European Home?

8:12 PM  

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