Friday, 13 March 2015
Johnny Don't Point That Gun At Me
Johnny also showed his face in New Order's epic 1987 song 1963. Having recorded one of their highest high points in True Faith, a song destined to put them into the charts, New Order put 1963 on the b-side in what must be one of the strongest singles of the 1980s. And so 1963 got a bit overlooked. It was released in its own right in 1995 and got a video too (with Jane Horrocks in it). As a purist I don't quite count that release as a 'proper' New Order single. Although I like Jane Horrocks and the video.
In the song Bernard's lyrics start out 'It was January, 1963,when Johnny came home, with a gift for me'. Events take a turn for the worse. Soon enough Johnny changes from being 'so very kind, so very nice'. He comes home with another wife and eventually Bernard sings'Johnny, don't point that gun at me' and a shooting occurs. Producer Stephen Hague has called the song 'the only song about domestic violence you can dance too'. Bernard has suggested that the song is, like yesterday's post, about John F Kennedy. Accordingly, in the song JFK arranges for a hitman to kill Jackie so that he can 'do one with M. Monroe'. Lee Harvey Oswald shoots JFK by mistake, leading to Jack Ruby bumping off Oswald for doing such a bad job and causing Marilyn to commit suicide. Barney has his chronology askew here- Marilyn actually died a year earlier and JFK was shot in November '63 not January. But then I've never been sure Bernard was being entirely reliable in this explanation of the song.
The 1995 version of 1963 was re-worked by Arthur Baker (and isn't nearly as good as the magnificent 1987 version but I don't have the original on the hard drive at the moment so you'll have to put up with it).