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Chumbawamba – “I Get Knocked Down”

Seems to me this song is about labor, strikes, politicians, human rights and perseverance (even though the lyrics suggest a mere drinking song).   It held the top position on charts in Australia, Canada, Italy,  New Zealand and the US in 1997, but has been bashed by Rolling Stone as one of the top 20 most annoying songs. If wondering about the provenance of their name, the band said “Chumbawamba doesn’t mean anything. At the time we formed (early ’80s) there was a rush of bands with obvious names. It was the time of ‘peace punk’ and you couldn’t get across a youth club dance floor without bumping into a Disorder, a Subhumans, a Decadent Youth or an Anthrax t-shirt. We liked the sound of Chumbawamba because it wasn’t nailing ourselves down. Thatcher On Acid were a good band but it’s lucky for them that Thatcher stayed in power for 11 years. If her influence had only lasted 18 months Thatcher On Acid‘s sell-by date would have come and gone a lot sooner. We wanted a name which wouldn’t date.”

This British alternative music band played anarcho-punk, pop-influenced music, world music, and folk music. The band’s anarchist politics exhibit an irreverent attitude toward authority, and was forthright in its stances on issues including animal rights, pacifism (early in their career) and later regarding class struggle, feminism, gay liberation, pop culture and anti-fascism. (For example: General Motors paid Chumbawamba $100,000 to use the song “Pass It Along” from the WYSIWYG album, for a Pontiac Vibe television advertisement in 2002. Chumbawamba gave the money to the anti-corporate activist groups Indymedia and CorpWatch who used the money to launch an information and environmental campaign against GM. )

They seem to have  been fairly prolific, recording 13 albums bewteen 1986 and 2012, when they declared they were done, saying “That’s it then, it’s the end. With neither a whimper, a bang, or a reunion.”

Lyrics here.

Chumbawamba website here.

More info here.

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