Elvis Costello’s ‘Shipbuilding’ and the Falklands War.
Above Photo: Modern Naval Warfare – a torpedo takes out a warship.
The Falklands War features in my in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, because it was an important – if barely believable – international conflict in the early 1980s.
In 1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, claiming sovereignty. Disputing this, the UK, then run by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, sent a naval task force to reclaim the islands, which led to the Falklands War.
There were over 900 casualties in total, the majority of them being Argentine soldiers, although there were also 255 British servicemen killed.
During the war, Elvis Costello wrote the lyrics for Shipbuilding, a great song pointing out the irony that working-class communities in deprived former shipbuilding areas across the UK were sending their sons to be killed in the army and navy during the conflict, but would soon be receiving orders to build ships lost during the war.
Clive Langer, formerly of Liverpool bands Deaf School and Big in Japan wrote the music to Shipbuilding, and Elvis Costello (also a former member of Eric’s Club) wrote the lyrics, which meant that two Eric’s alumni had combined to produce one of the most poignant anti-war songs ever written.
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
This is a You Tube link to the song: