Pick of the Political Pops: The Pogues “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”

‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ is a song written by Scottish-born Australian singer-songwriter Eric Bogle in 1971 which has since become a standard in Australian folk circles (William Crighton did an amazing version of it at this year’s Black Deer). The song follows the account of a young Australian serviceman who is maimed during the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War. The protagonist, who had travelled across rural Australia before the war, is emotionally devastated by the loss of his legs in battle. As the years pass he notes the death of other veterans, while the younger generation becomes apathetic to the veterans and their cause. The Pogues’ version of this anti-war classic still is among the best.