Kenney Jones on Good Boys... When They're Asleep

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Rock stars make a song and dance about taxes
Daily Telegraph 20 Nov 2003

A GROUP of British rock veterans are to release a song protesting about the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, in the wake of an attack on Gerhard Schroder topping the German charts.

The as-yet-unnamed group, led by the former Small Faces and Who drummer Kenney Jones, have recorded Mr Brown, a modern equivalent of the Beatles's Taxman.

Whereas the Beatles song attacked high income tax in lyrics such as Let me tell you how it will be/ There's one for you, nineteen for me, Jones said he had to address the complexity of stealth taxation.

The lyrics attack Mr Brown for Taking with one hand and giving with the other, and the anguished refrain to his new tune goes: Mr Brown, you're robbing me. The angry anthem is sung by Robert Hart, a former member of the stadium rockers Bad Company.

Jones, 53, who owns and runs a polo club in Surrey, contacted The Daily Telegraph after reading an editorial on the anti-Schroder song last Friday which said: "A similar theme would go down well over here."

The drummer, a Conservative voter, said: "Taxman has always been one of my favourite songs and I decided it was time for a 21st century equivalent of it.

"Recently, I've been amazed at the negativity of this Government. They only seemed interested in themselves and not the people they govern. It seemed time to speak out in song."

The German charts are currently topped by Der Steuersong (The Tax Song) by Elmar Brandt, a comedian who imitates the German Chancellor.

A lecturer in popular music said that a new genre could be dawning - the Right-wing protest song.

Dr Jason Toynbee, of the Institute of Popular Music at Liverpool University, said: "Protest songs have generally been Left wing and about liberalising the consensus.

"Taxman was by Left-wingers, but was also a sulky self- interested song by new millionaires."

But Mr Brown could fall foul of BBC censors. A spokesman said the corporation allowed "scope for artistic expression" but that guidelines warned against playing records with "definite political overtones" and at election times banned records critical of any party.

Attacks on named British politicians in the charts have been very rare. The Beat had a hit in 1980 with the plea Stand Down, Margaret.

Jones's other band members, currently finishing an album, are the former Foreigner bassist Rick Wills and the guitarist Gary Grainger whose writing credits include Hot Legs for Rod Stewart.

A Treasury source said: "If they want to get their new band off to a good start, Dear Prudence from the White Album might be a better and more appropriate Beatles song to imitate."




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