What’s on Paul Weller’s Jukebox?

What my favourite musicians listen to has always fascinated me.  It’s a bit like researching a family tree; looking for connections, unearthing new information.  You might hear great new music or get a fresh angle on music you already knew. 

I love Paul Weller’s music to the point of writing a book about The Jam, so when I found out he had a jukebox in the control room of his recording studio I naturally wanted to know everything that was on there. 

Thanks to a couple of Instagram pictures by his wife Hannah, bassist Andy Crofts, and some squinting at a picture from the Weller World Facebook page, I’ve managed to find quite a few.

Being an obsessive vinyl collector and DJ (available for bookings by the way), I also wanted to know what issues they were.  Original or reissue?  UK or US pressing?  For the sheer joy of completism, I also looked up the UK chart position.

Here’s what I’ve got on what Weller’s got:

Ben E. King – Supernatural Thing (Parts 1&2) (Atlantic K-10565, 1975, didn’t chart)

Like a lot of ‘60s soul singers, King sprouted sideburns and big collars in the ‘70s.  This laid-back funk two-parter missed the UK charts but was a top ten hit in the US.

Stone Poneys feat. Linda Ronstadt – Different Drum / Linda Ronstadt:  Long Long Time (US reissue, Capitol 6185, 1970s, N/A)

‘Different Drum’ was written by Mike Nesmith from The Monkees and originally released in 1967.  Soul singer and Small Faces collaborator PP Arnold released a cover of it in 1998, backed by Ocean Colour Scene and Weller mainstay Steve Cradock.

This is an American reissue from the 1970s as part of the Capitol Starline series.

Rod Stewart – You Wear it Well / Los Paraguayos (Mercury, 6052 171, 1972, #1)

Weller’s love of the Small Faces is well-documented, but for Rod the Mod turn up on his jukebox is less expected.  This 1972 number one was the UK follow-up to 1971’s similarly chart-topping (and similar sounding) ‘Maggie May’.  Faces fan note Ronnie Wood and Ian MacLagan are present in the backing band.

Bill Withers – Use Me / Let Me in Your Life (A&M, AMS 7038, 1972, didn’t chart)

Weller has picked Withers’ 1971 album track ‘Harlem’ on a couple of radio shows, whist The Style Council’s ‘(When You) Call Me’ has definite shades of ‘Lean On Me’; but it’s the latter’s follow-up single, from 1972’s Still Bill that’s on his jukebox. 

The Zombies – Time of the Season / Friends of Mine (Unknown, 1968)

Over the past decade, Weller has constantly referred to The Zombies 1968 LP Odessey and Oracle as one of his favourite albums – if not his all-time favourite.  It contains one of their best known songs, ‘Time of the Season’, which missed the UK charts but became a surprise hit in America the following year.

This copy has a different B-side to the UK edition and could be a US or European issue.

The Action – Shadows and Reflections / Something Has Hit Me (Parlophone, R 5610, 1967, didn’t chart)

Potentially the rarest record on the jukebox is this George Martin-produced 45 from 1967.  Weller named it as his favourite Action song when he wrote the sleeve notes for a 1980 compilation of the band.

If he didn’t fancy pushing the middle out of an original copy (which is currently worth around £100) Weller may have used a 1982 reissue on the Edsel label.

Manfred Mann – Oh No, Not My Baby / What Am I Doing Wrong? (HMV, POP 1413, 1965, #11)

Manfred has popped up a couple of times in Weller’s discography; his soundtrack LP for the 1967 film Up the Junction can be seen on the counter of The Style Council’s Our Favourite Shop.  Weller also covered ‘Pretty Flamingo’ for a radio session. 

This 1965 single was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.  Like a number of UK beat group hits of the time (‘Go Now’, ‘I’m Into Something Good’ etc.) it was first recorded by an American R&B artist – in this case Maxine Brown.

Donovan & The Jeff Beck Group – Barabajagal (Love is Hot) / Trudi (Pye, 7N 17778, 1969, #12)

This is the second, slightly more common issue of Donovan’s 1969 groover; the first issue listed the titles as ‘Goo Goo Barabajagal’ and ‘Bed with Me’.

Simon Dupree & The Big Sound – Kites / Like the Sun Like the Fire (Parlophone, R 5646, 1967, #9)

A beautiful piece of Oriental-influenced psych-pop from late 1967.  Fun fact:  No one in the band was called Simon Dupree.

Badfinger – Come and Get It / Rock of All Ages (Apple, APPLE 20, 1969, #4)

Weller hero Paul McCartney wrote the A-side of Badfinger’s first hit single, which was released at the tail end of 1969 and charted in January 1970.

The Impressions – Check Out Your Mind / Can’t You See? (Buddah, 2011 030, 1970, didn’t chart)

The work of Curtis Mayfield has been a passion of Weller’s since the early ‘80s; his ‘Move On Up’ is the one song that Weller has played with The Jam, Style Council and solo.  His jukebox includes one of Mayfield’s final singles with The Impressions.

The Merseys – Sorrow / Some Other Day (Fontana, TF 694, 1966, #4)

Cited by Weller for its brass break, ‘Sorrow’ is a key piece of mid-‘60s pop and was a top ten hit in summer 1966.  The song was originally recorded with a more melancholy air by The McCoys in 1965 and was later covered by David Bowie for his Pinups album.

Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle / Jungle Love (US reissue, Collectables, COL 6354, date unknown, N/A)

A far less obvious choice: ‘Fly Like an Eagle’ is a slick piece of psych-funk from 1976, whilst ‘Jungle Love’ is equally slick ‘70s FM rock.  This is a made-for-jukebox reissue from the late ‘70s or early ‘80s. 

Cream – I Feel Free / N.S.U (Reaction, 591011, 1966, #4)

We return to the ‘60s with the second, highest-charting single from Cream.   

Donovan – Jennifer Juniper / Poor Cow (Pye, 7N 17457, 1968, #5)

Another Donovan 45.  ‘Poor Cow’ was the theme tune to the kitchen-sink film of the same name.

The Tams – Hey Girl, Don’t Bother Me / Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy (UK reissue, ABC, ABC 4020, 1970s)

‘Hey Girl, Don’t Bother Me’ was originally recorded in 1964, but became a UK number one during the summer of 1971, right around the time a young Suedehead Weller would have been dancing to it at Woking Football Club dances.

The copy on his jukebox has their other classic single ‘Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy’ on the flipside, meaning that it’s either an ABC label reissue from later in the 1970s or an Old Gold reissue from 1982.

Glen Campbell – Galveston / How Come Every Time I Itch I Wind Up Scratchin’ You? (Ember, EMB S 263, 1969, #14)

More surprises with a diversion into countrified pop.  ‘Galveston’ was written by legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb.  The follow-up to another Webb tune, ‘Wichita Lineman’, ‘Galveston’ made the UK top twenty in May 1969.

White Plains – When You Are a King / The World Gets Better with Love (Deram, DM 333, 1971, #13)

White Plains were one of a breed of late ‘60s/early ‘70s pop groups (see also Vanity Fare) who lacked something that certain something that preceding acts like Love Affair, Amen Corner and The Herd had.  Nevertheless, Weller is evidently a fan of this 1971 single.

Stealers Wheel – Stuck in the Middle / Jose (A&M, AMS 7036, 1973, #8)

A staple of pub cover bands everywhere and featured on the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack.

Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band – Garden Party / She Belongs to Me (MCA, MCA 329, 1972, #41)

This is a somewhat bizarre record.  A minor 1970s hit for former teen heartthrob Ricky Nelson, ‘Garden Party’ is a slow country-pop song with lyrics referencing ‘60s and early ‘70s pop culture icons.  The B-side, a 1967 cover of the Dylan classic, is far better.

Tom Jones – It’s Not Unusual / What’s New, Pussycat? (US reissue, Collectables, COL 04296, date unknown)

Not particularly Mod, but very ‘60s.  This is another made-for-jukebox single with two of Tom’s biggest hits back-to-back.

Free – Wishing Well / Let Me Show You (Island, WIP-6146, 1972, #7)

Weller (re)discovered Free in the early ‘90s.  When he DJ’d on Kiss FM in 1992, this 1972 single was included in amongst funk, jazz and hip-hop cuts. 

Dusty Springfield – I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself / My Colouring Book (Philips, BF 1348, 1964, #3)

Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man / The Windmills of Your Mind (US reissue, Atlantic OS 13046, date unknown, N/A)

There are two classic Dusty singles next to each other on the jukebox.  The first is (for me) the definitive version of the Bacharach-David song.  The second is an American reissue of one of her best known songs and a 1968 UK top ten hit. 

Little Richard – Good Golly Miss Molly / All Around the World (Specialty, SON 5000, date unknown, didn’t chart)

Another reissue of another classic top ten hit (this time from 1958). 

Twisted Wheel – Lucy the Castle / Bang of the Beat / Snakes & Ladders (Columbia, 88697387037, 2008, didn’t chart)

A former Weller support act.  This appears on one photo, but in more recent photos it has been replaced with…

Syd Arthur – Ode to the Summer / Black Wave (Dawn Chorus Recording Company, DCRC 003, 2011, didn’t chart)

A current Weller favourite areSyd Arthur (a Pink Floyd-referencing pun on Herman Hesse’s classic spiritual novel Siddartha), a psychedelic band from Canterbury.

Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band – Michael (The Lover) / (I Gotta) Hold on to My Love (Piccadilly, 7N 35359, 1966, #39)

A minor UK hit but a Northern Soul classic.  The song and artist inspired Dexys Midnight Runners’ 1980 single.  If you listen carefully at the end of The Jam Live at the Brighton Centre gig on the super deluxe edition of Setting Sons, you can hear this song come on over the PA after the band have left the stage.   

Badfinger – No Matter What / Better Days (Apple, APPLE 31, 1970, #5)

The second Badfinger 45 on the jukebox is perhaps their definitive number, which hit the charts in January 1971. 

Culture – Two Sevens Clash / I’m Not Ashamed (Lightning, LIG 1978, 1978, didn’t chart)

Weller is a big reggae fan so it’s no surprise there are two classic roots singles here.  Both sides of this are from Culture’s Two Sevens Clash album, all of which is worth checking out if you’ve never heard it.

Big Youth – Hit the Road Jack / Version (Trojan, TR 7977, 1976, didn’t chart)

This heavy-duty rockers take on the Ray Charles standard is a Weller constant, as it often appears on any playlists and compilations he curates.  “A record I remember from the late ‘70s,” he wrote in the sleeve notes for his Under the Influence compilation in 2003.  “I got into [it] through hearing it around the punk clubs around ’77.  It did (still does!) have that rebel / revolutionary sound about it.”

The Ovations – It’s Wonderful to Be in Love / Dance Party (US issue, Goldwax, GW-113, 1965)

A more obscure choice, as this single only seems to have been issued in the US, and was only a relatively minor hit there (#61 in the pop charts, #22 in the R&B).  The A-side has a doo-wop ballad feel, whilst the B-side sounds like the kind of hip R&B joint you hear over the PA at Weller gigs.

The Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane (Parlophone, R 5570, 1967, #2)

From the depths of the Soulsville to one of the greatest singles ever made.  It’s certainly the greatest number 2 of all time, Engelbert Humperdinck’s ‘Release Me’ keeping it from the top spot. 

Weller has always spoken of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ as being a pivotal record for him from the first time he heard it, particularly for the line ‘no one I think is in my tree’.

The Miracles – Love Machine (Parts 1&2) (Tamla Motown, TMG 1015, 1975, #3)

From experimental psychedelia to frenetic funk:  Smokey Robinson is one of Weller’s favourite songwriters, but here’s The Miracles most famous post-Smokey number (he’d left the group in 1972).  Weller’s sometime friends Wham! covered the song on their debut LP.

T. Rex – Hot Love / Woodland Rock / The King of the Mountain Cometh (Fly, BUG 6, 1971, #1)

Throughout The Jam and Style Council, Weller gave the impression that he was never arsed about early-mid ‘70s, claiming at various times to not listen to music made after 1968 or by people with long hair and beards.  “Bowie and Bolan were okay, but I lost interest in them” was as much as he’d admit.

Since the ‘90s he’s been more openly into T. Rex.  He’s guested on live covers of ‘Life’s a Gas’ and ‘Get it On’ and picked Electric Warrior when appearing on the What’s In My Bag? series on YouTube. 

Paul McCartney – Another Day / Oh Woman, Oh Why (Apple, R 5889, 1971, #2)

Some of Weller’s more recent solo work (such as 2015’s ‘Going My Way’) has a hint of McCartney’s early solo work (McCartney and Ram).  So it makes sense that McCartney’s first solo 45 is on his jukebox. 

Interestingly, ‘Another Day’ was at number 2 when ‘Hot Love’ was number 1 (March 1971).  Coincidence?

David Bowie – Be My Wife / Speed of Life (RCA, PB 1017, 1977, didn’t chart)

One of the musical benefits of Weller meeting his now-wife Hannah was a new appreciation for her favourite artist, David Bowie.  Although he’d expressed admiration for the likes of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ and ‘Ashes to Ashes’ at the time, in 2006 he famously described most of his work as “pish”.

Despite that, Low has always been one of his favourite albums.  Its lead single ‘Sound and Vision’ is his favourite Bowie song, but it’s the follow-up single (which flopped in the UK) that appears here.  

Mr. Acker Bilk – Stranger on the Shore / Take My Lips (Columbia, 45-DB 4750, 1961, #2)

An easy listening standard, ‘Stranger on the Shore’ was theme tune to a BBC TV series of the same name.  Despite only reaching number 2 on the charts, it stayed in the top 50 for over a year.  It sold over a million copies, most of which can be found in charity shops all over the UK.  As he has a soft spot for romantic easy listening music (Percy Faith’s ‘Theme from ‘A Summer Place’’ is also a favourite), a copy is also on Paul Weller’s jukebox.

The Monkees – Daydream Believer / Goin’ Down (RCA Victor, RCA 1645, 1967, #5)

A different kind of ‘60s classic.  The amount of times I’ve heard it sung by football fans makes it hard for me to imagine what it would’ve sounded like to pop audiences in 1967. 

When The Monkees made a new album in 2016, Weller contributed a song co-written with Noel Gallagher called ‘Birth of an Accidental Hipster’. 

Donald Byrd – Cristo Redentor / Elijah (US issue, Blue Note, 45-1907, 1963)

Eagle-eyed obsessives will have noticed a copy of Donald Byrd’s 1963 Blue Note album A New Perspective on the wall in The Style Council’s Our Favourite Shop.  Like another Weller jazz favourite, The MJQ & Swingle Singers 1967 LP Place Vendome, the album fuses jazz with scat-like singing.  This 45 was only issued in America and features two tracks from A New Perspective

In the 1970s, Byrd moved into jazz-funk.  Weller covered his 1975 single ‘(Fallin’ Like) Dominoes’ (see 1994’s Live Wood).

Toots & The Maytals – 54-46 Was My Number / The Man (US issue, Shelter, 7311, 1972)

First issued in the UK on Trojan in 1970, this skinhead reggae staple somehow missed the charts.  The copy on Weller’s jukebox is an American issue with a different B-side.

The Beach Boys – Cottonfields / The Nearest Faraway Place (Capitol, CL 15640, 1970, #5)

Weller adores The Beach Boys.  He once claimed the first record he ever had was an MFP reissue of their Do You Wanna Dance album bought for him by his Dad when they used to go to the airport on Sunday nights to watch planes take off (you can see it next-but-one to A New Perspective on the Our Favourite Shop sleeve).

‘Cottonfields’ (taken, along with its B-side from their 1969 LP 20/20) was their first UK single of the 1970s, but also their last on Capitol Records, and their last top 10 hit until 1979’s ‘Lady Lynda’.

Chuck Berry – Let it Rock / Memphis Tennessee (Pye International, 7N.25218, 1963, #6)

Some more classic rock’n’roll, this time a double A-sided top ten hit from 1963.  Malcolm McLaren’s Kings Road shop which helped give birth to the Sex Pistols was named after the first song.

Glen Campbell – Rhinestone Cowboy / Lovelight (Capitol, CL 15824, 1975, #4)

Another Jim Webb-penned Glen Campbell song but a far less expected one.  Campbell hadn’t had UK hit for four years before ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ charted in late 1975. 

The Beatles – Real Love / Baby’s in Black (Live) (Apple, R6425, 1996, #4)

Talking of unexpected, if there was a Beatles single you’d least expect to find on this jukebox, this is probably second only to ‘The Beatles Movie Medley’.  That’s not because ‘Real Love’ is a bad song, in fact it’s rather lovely, but it generally gets forgotten. 

Like the single that preceded it, ‘Free as a Bird’; ‘Real Love’ was a 1970s solo John Lennon demo that the remaining three Beatles worked their magic with for the Anthology series.

The B-side is a live version of a track from Beatles for Sale, and one of their most underrated beat ballads.

Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five / Blue Rondo a la Turk (Fontana, 271168, 1961, #6)

‘Take Five’ is a cool jazz classic in the notoriously difficult time signature of 5/4.  You can usually find a scratched copy in a record shop bargain bin.

Beach Boys – God Only Knows / Wouldn’t It Be Nice? (Capitol, 15459, 1966, #2)

Another Beach Boys single, this time a classic from the heart of the ‘60s.  These two tracks are from Pet Sounds, still the definitive Beach Boys/Brian Wilson album.

Eddie Floyd – Things Get Better / Good Love, Bad Love (Stax, 601016, 1967, #31)

Strangely, there hasn’t been much ‘60s soul in this list so far.  This Stax single – the last of Eddie Floyd’s three UK chart hits – starts to make up for that.

The Jam played an amazing live version of Floyd’s next-but-one single ‘Big Bird’, as can be heard on Dig the New Breed

Roy Orbison – It’s Over / Indian Wedding (London, HLU 9882, 1964, #1)

A ‘60s tearjerker from the Big O – and his first UK number one since 1960’s ‘Only the Lonely’. 

Robert Wyatt – Free Will and Testament / The Sight of the Wind (Trade 2 Singles Club, trdsc 10, 1997, didn’t chart)

Weller met Robert Wyatt when he played guitar on this tune from Wyatt’s 1997 album Shleep (which also has a brief jazz cover of The Style Council’s ‘The Whole Point of No Return’).  This has since become one song that Weller never fails to plug when he gets the chance. 

For those unfamiliar, Wyatt has made a lot of great, very interesting records and this is up there with the best of them.  The lyrics are something else.

Albert King – Crosscut Saw / Down Don’t Bother Me (Atlantic, 584099, 1967, didn’t chart)

‘This is the kind of music I want to make’, Weller declared in 1998 when talking about this tough, gutsy blues side which, Swiss Tony style, implies that sawing wood is very much like making love to a beautiful woman.

John Mayall – I’m Your Witchdoctor / Telephone Blues (Immediate, IM 012, 1965, didn’t chart)

Some UK blues is next up with this stone Mod classic.  This is a 1965 or 1967 issue – either way it’s worth a shedload of money.

Sandie Shaw – Puppet on a String / (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me / Long Live Love / Girl Don’t Come (UK reissue, PRT, FBEP 109, 1980, didn’t chart)

A 1980 EP from the PRT Flashbacks series which packages four of the barefooted one’s UK hits together. 

Interestingly Weller recorded a demo of ‘Always Something There to Remind Me’ whilst in The Jam.  They also covered ‘Long Live Love’ live in 1981.  Frustratingly no audio of either has ever come to light.

Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band – The Equestrian Statue / The Intro and the Outro (Liberty, LBF 15040, 1967, didn’t chart)

A very bizarre choice is this 1967 music hall-esque single from the band best known for their one hit, 1968s ‘I’m the Urban Spaceman’ and their appearance in The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film.

The B-side, which introduces an increasingly bizarre cast of players, is worth looking up (‘and looking very relaxed, Adolf Hitler on vibes…nice!’)

Lee Dorsey – Holy Cow / Operation Heartache (Stateside, SS 552, 1966, #6)

We finish off this little selection with some New Orleans R&B from Weller favourite Lee Dorsey.  Not as well-known now as the likes of ‘Give it Up’ and ‘Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky’, ‘Holy Cow’ was Dorsey’s highest-charting UK single.

That’s all I’ve got.  If anyone knows anymore, let me know and I’ll happily edit them in!

In the meantime, here’s a Spotify playlist to keep you going:

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On My Turntable No.1: The Style Council – Walls Come Tumbling Down!

THE STYLE COUNCIL – WALLS COME TUMBLING DOWN!

FORMAT:  12” SINGLE
BOUGHT FROM:  STAY LOOSE, FARMERS FOLD, WOLVERHAMPTON
COST: £4

The Jam?
“Class.” 
Paul Weller? 
“The Modfather, mate.”
The Style Council?
“All that 80s jazz nonsense?  Naah!

Well I love The Style Council.  I love The Jam to the point of having written a book about them (Pop Art Poems – £5.99 on eBay if you need another copy), but I equally adore The Style Council and their blend of clothes, politics and French sleeve-notes… oh, and music.  To a pretentious pubescent poet with delusions of hipness TSC were, as those of us with a French GCSE say, tres cool

People not digging The Style Council as much as me means you can find their 7” singles for a couple of quid each and explore this rewarding corner of Weller’s discography for yourself.  The 12”s are harder to find so a little dearer – maybe £5 – but worth seeking out for the great B-sides and different sleeves.

This 1985 12” was a rare gap in my collection and I was chuffed to find it cheap (although you’ll pay more if it’s got the free poster).  One of TSC’s last big hits, it has all their classic traits:  Besides the socialist call-to-arms of the A-side (the closest TSC came to sounding like The Jam?) there are three equally strong B-sides that encapsulate the eclectic nature of Weller’s songwriting:  ‘Spin Drifting’ is breezy, spring-like pop; ‘The Whole Point II’ – a reworking of a track from their debut LP – matches introspective lyrics with jazzy guitar and vibes.  Finally, the acoustic ‘Bloodsports’ is an impassioned attack on fox-hunting.

But it’s more than just the music with TSC and the sleeve is worth the money alone, featuring the humorously pretentious touches that graced their work:  Keyboardist Mick Talbot pays homage to Noel Coward on the front cover and there are sleeve-notes by the mysterious ‘Cappuccino Kid’.  More pointedly, there’s a message of support and contact details for the Hunt Saboteurs Association.

PS.  Say what you like, Weller’s wedge haircut and pink cardigan in the video are les chien’s

D-Day Viewed from 2019

D-DAY IN 2019

Last week was the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings.  In the UK and on the beaches at Normandy, there were memorial services happening to remember the 156,000 Allied troops involved and the 10,000 of those who died.

It’s right that the Allied fight against Hitler should be remembered and the dead should be honoured.  It’s also right that it shouldn’t be romanticised, trivialised or used as propaganda – unless it’s anti-fascist propaganda (and I mean real political fascism, not the current trend among the right for calling the left fascist).

That’s why it’s frustrating to hear conversations and see posts on social media using such events as a way to criticise young people today.  This especially true as the overwhelming majority of it comes from people who never fought in a war themselves.

Here’s an excerpt from the post which set me off on this train of thought:

They gave their lives fighting Hitler and the Nazis, so today’s kids can call everyone they don’t like Hitler and Nazis.

Think about that.

#FirstWorldProblems

Let’s look at this.  It implies that nothing today is as bad as Hitler and the Nazis and anyone who says they are is being childish (whilst shoving a petty hashtag on the end of what had been a sombre speech).

To a degree its implication is true; in 2019 there is no one as successfully evil as Hitler or as organised as the Nazis.  However, it doesn’t follow that there aren’t people comparable in intentions or beliefs to them, be they white supremacists or ISIS.  The struggle against such people will continue as long as the human race stumbles on.

To deny this doesn’t somehow honour WW2 soldiers (or WW1 soldiers for that matter), rather it ignores both the lessons that should be learned from their deaths, and also of history.  Even a cursory look at the interwar period of 1918-1939 shows how economic and political conditions led to WW2.  We can see how Hitler exploited a humiliated German people by giving them a Jewish scapegoat and promising to liberate liebensraum for them to build a new empire.  The rest is a very bloody history that, if you read anything written in the immediate aftermath, those who experienced agreed should “never happen again”. 

Surely anyone with the vaguest idea of what war actually entails (I have a Great Uncle who served in the Navy during WW2 and was so affected by what he saw in Burma that he refuses to talk about it) believes it should never happen again, but there are two problems:

1 – As those who fought in WW2 leave us, it becomes a history that can only be told second-hand – and second-hand history can only be subjective.  It can also easily be interpreted to suit different agendas.

2 – As it becomes ever more remote in the past, war becomes easily glorified and romanticised.  Look for instance at how the mindless slaughter of WW1 has become soft-edged and commodified by ever-more elaborate poppies and remembrances.  It’s increasingly common to find people wearing poppy badges all year round (a badge of honour rather than remembrance?)

Therefore, when similar conditions that bred WW2 start occurring, it’s easy for people to either not notice them or to dismiss those trying to draw comparisons as hysterical because, not only is that all in the distant past, it’s an insult to the fallen to suggest that the victory they died for wasn’t final.

Those the same age today as the soldiers involved in D-Day were face different dangers.  That they’re not in an army in a military war against fascists gives their struggles some context, but it doesn’t automatically discount them.  I can well imagine that if the Battle of Cable Street happened today, then social media would be awash with conservative/right-wing commentators berating the SJWs for rioting just because they don’t agree with Oswald Mosley. 

(Note:  If you want to see how fascistic attitudes persist, take a scroll through the comments under this video of Mosley.)

The ‘kids of today’ targeted by the post I quoted above are engaged in fighting climate change, all manner of prejudices, xenophobic nationalism etc.  All these issues are related in some degree to a refusal to listen to history’s reality.  People instead are choosing to believe romantic visions of empires and glorious war dead, informed by the nostalgic belief that the past was objectively better rather than subjectively (if you need an example of this just look at those who were children in the 1990s and believe they had a proper childhood, unlike those of today).  These same people are then exploited by the jingoistic likes of Nigel Farage, Donald Trump et al.  This in turn links to the rise of the post-factual society, confirmation bias etc. 

These are all worrying trends that don’t turn the clock back, but instead repeat the worst of history with the civilisation-destroying potential of modern technology.  

To quote Tony Benn, “every generation must fight the same battles again and again.  There’s no final victory and there’s no final defeat.”  The kids of today (I’ve grown to really dislike that phrase over the last 900 words) aren’t landing on beaches, laying their young lives on the line.  However, the politically-active left-wing young at whom people sneer in comparing them to D-Day soldiers are up against the same root problems of that caused the rise of the Nazis.  I don’t doubt that likening someone to a Nazi or something to 1930s Germany has become a cliché.  But it’s only a cliché because…?

One can only hope that they can arrest the rise of far-right attitudes so that the following generation won’t be giving their lives in another world war.