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Global Comment Advent Calendar 13: “Stop the Cavalry” by Jona Lewie

Jona Lewie’s protest song Stop The Cavalry has become a Christmas staple and takes us back to a less chirpy Christmas theme, but is nonetheless a Christmas classic of its own with an important message which is no less relevant today than at any of the times he sings about in the song.

Originally inspired by the Crimean War and the Charge of the Light Brigade, it also references World War I and the trenches, Winston Churchill and nuclear war, as well as a sweetheart called Mary who waits at home for our eternal soldier to return.

Lewie’s song was originally intended as just a protest song, and the line about Christmas was apparently a throwaway, until his record label’s marketing department picked up on it.

Released in 1980, the single was kept off the number one spot by two John Lennon singles which were selling highly in the weeks immediately after his murder (he had been shot and killed by Mark David Chapman on the 8th December).

Sadly, Lewie’s song is just as relevant now as it was in 1980 – the line where he sings “Bang that’s another bomb on another town” could still apply to so many places. Hopefully one day we will be able to look back at this song and wonder how it stayed relevant for so long.

In the meantime, it really isn’t as depressing as I’ve made it sound, I promise! In fact I would even go so far as to describe it as jaunty. Find it here:

Photo by Captain Roger Fenton.