Stop the Cavalry Jona Lewie
Song Title: Stop the Cavalry
Artist: Jona Lewie
Date of release: November 1980
Description: ” Stop the Cavalry ” is by Jona Lewie ( John Lewis ), the English singer and songwriter. The song was written by Jona Lewie. The production for the single was by Bob Andrews and Jona Lewie.
The song was released on the 8th of December 1980 by record label Stiff Records and taken from the Album, Heart Skips Beat.
” Stop the Cavalry ” was not originally written as a Christmas single, it was first intended as an anti-war protest song. Now part of just about every radio playlist at that time of year, the song has become a must-have on every Christmas CD compilation.
Jona said in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian that he never intended it to be a Christmas single, he said ” It started life as an anti-war song. I had this line in my head – ‘ Can you stop the gallantry? ‘ – and found a melody for it. Then I changed ‘gallantry ‘ to ‘cavalry’, and everything just fell into place “.
Jona had only just signed to Stiff Records, he came with some fifty demos and in amongst them was the song that was to become his most famous.
The demo was played by Stiff’s founder, Dave Robinson, who thought it was just another protest song. Jona had just got himself a Poly Moog ( electronic keyboard ) so went back and reworked the demo. Dave Robinson loved the re-worked version.
The lyrics include many different war scenarios, the primary focus of the song was a soldier at the front in the first World war. The soldier would be standing cold and hungry in the trenches while the men who started the war would be back home eating good food in the warmth of their houses.
The lyrics refer to Churchill, he was the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1914 and later served in the trenches.
Jona has said that the lyrics ” Hey, Mr Churchill comes over here. To say we’re doing splendidly ” was not a dig at Churchill himself but of the way, he’d be forever trying to raise the spirits of the soldiers, who would be shot by their officers if they deserted or failed to go over the top.
Jona’s imaginary solder also had to fight in other conflicts; he describes his soldier as ” a bit like the eternal soldier at the Arc de Triomphe “.
Lyrically the song also refers to nuclear war. At that time it was the height of the cold war and the increasing tension between the Soviet Union and the western countries.
There was a real threat of nuclear war at that time with America stationing nuclear cruise missiles at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire, England. In September 1981 a group of Welsh women called Women for Life on Earth set up camp to protest against the missiles being allowed to be based at there. After nineteen years the camp was disbanded in 2000.
The melody for ” Stop the Cavalry ” is based on Hugo Alfvén’s Swedish Rhapsody No 1. Hugo was born in Stockholm, Sweden and studied at Stockholm’s The Royal College of Music from 1887 to 1891; he died aged 88 on the 8th of May 1960.
The song has become a Christmas hit due to the line ” I wish I was at home for Christmas ” and the addition of a Salvation Army brass band along with tubular bells.
The accompanying video was filmed on Hampstead Heath in London, England in November 1980. Jona said of the filming experience ” It was snowing, and I was freezing cold and bloody uncomfortable. So you could say I was method acting “.
” Stop the Cavalry ” entered the UK Singles Chart on the 29th of November 1980 and peaked at number three. The song spent six weeks in the Top Ten and a total of fifteen weeks on the UK chart.
Jona Lewie was kept from reaching Number One or number two in the UK because of the shooting of John Lennon; he had gained both of the top spots in the country.
BillBoard Highest Chart Position: N/A
UK Highest Chart Position: 3
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Switzerland 4, Germany 2, Austria 1, Netherlands 6, Belgium 5, Sweden 13, Ireland 5, New Zealand 3, Australia 2
Official Website: Jonalewie.com
FaceBook Page: Facebook.com/JonaLewieMusicPage
Wikipedia Page: Wikipedia.org/JonaLewie