Which Smiths song was inspired by the Chernobyl disaster? - RadioX

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Anonymous, Jun 14, 2019.

By Anonymous on Jun 14, 2019 at 1:30 PM
  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest


    Which Smiths song was inspired by the Chernobyl disaster?
    13 June 2019, 16:07 | Updated: 13 June 2019, 16:11


    The nuclear power station’s accident in 1986 has been the subject of an acclaimed TV drama… but the real events prompted Morrissey and Johnny Marr to write one of their most famous songs.

    One of the most talked about TV series of 2019 is HBO/Sky’s Chernobyl, about the nuclear disaster that befell the Soviet power station in April 1986. The hard-hitting mini-series, written by Craig Mazin, and directed by Johan Renck, has prompted a lot of conversation about the incident - but did you know it inspired one of The Smiths’ most enduring hits?

    One of the most rabble-rousing of The Smiths' songs, Panic was one of the Manchester band’s biggest hits, making Number 11 in the UK charts in the summer of 1986. The song - a stomping, guitar led tune that owes a lot to Metal Guru by Marc Bolan - talks of civil unrest around the country and bemoans the fact that “the disco” and “the DJ” play music that “says nothing to me about my life”.

    The music press at the time took this to mean that The Smiths - and Morrissey in particular - were attacking hip hop culture and black music in general. Paolo Hewitt in the NME wrote: “When he starts using words like disco and DJ, with all the attendant imagery that brings up for what is a predominantly white audience, he is being imprecise and offensive." Even as recently as 2012, Buzzfeed called the song a “condemnation of dance music”.

    Morrissey may have courted controversy before and after this furore, but the genesis of Panic was down to an exasperation at 1980s pop culture in general.


    An angry Johnny Marr put the record straight in the NME in February. He explained that the song was inspired by the news reports about Chernobyl, and the terrible accident at a nuclear power plant in the then-Soviet Union.

    In the early hours of 26 April 1986, a safety test at the nuclear facility went catastrophically wrong, causing the core to explode and radioactive material was released into the air. An inxperienced team and inadequate designs at the plant were later found to be the cause - the quest to find whose fault it was is a key part of the Chernobyl TV series.


    Hundreds of people were affected by the accident, including deaths from acute radiation sickness and the effects were felt as far away as the UK, where radioactive traces were found in parts of Northern Ireland, Wales, Northern England and Scotland. It remains, with the Fukushima accident in 2011, the worst nuclear disaster in history.


    Marr recalled that he and Morrissey were listening to Radio 1’s Newsbeat programme giving the latest updates on the disaster - and at the time, people in the UK were worried about clouds of radioactive material heading their way.

    He remembered: “The story about this shocking disaster comes to an end and then, immediately, we're off into Wham!'s I'm Your Man. I remember actually saying 'what the fuck has this got to do with peoples' lives?'

    “We hear about Chernobyl, then, seconds later, we're expected to be jumping around to I'm Your Man... And so: 'Hang the blessed DJ'."

    Marr went on: “I think it was a great lyric, important and applicable to anyone who lives in England. I mean, even the most ardent disco fan wouldn't want to be subjected to that stuff, would they?"

    Morrissey and Marr were sufficiently outraged to put pen to paper and call out the inanity of daytime radio and pop music in general in the UK.

    It must have been odd to hear Panic on the radio then - among the songs that Morrissey and Marr were criticised. Thankfully, despite hitting the Top 20, The Smiths didn’t perform Panic on Top Of The Pops, sparing them no end of embarrassment.

    Panic went on to become a live favourite, thanks to the addition of second Smiths guitarist Craig Gannon, and Morrissey rammed the point home by cavorting around the stage with a noose to emphasise the chorus of "Hang the DJ, hang the DJ..."

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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Anonymous, Jun 14, 2019.

    1. NickTheSwede
      Fun fact! The director of 'Chernobyl', Johan Renck, was a hit artist in Sweden back in the early 90's with songs like this one:
    2. Stephen Hofmann
      Stephen Hofmann
      Paolo Hewitt has spent his entire life up Paul Weller's jacksie.
      • Insightful Insightful x 1
    3. Anonymous
      Yep, this is EXACTLY as I recall Johnny Marr explaining Panic's inspiration at the time way back in the 80's.

      A couple of years later, he and Bernard Sumner bumped into George Michael on a night out and apparently GM expressed his love of the first Electronic album to them both. When they told him they were currently putting the finishing touches on the follow-up album, he apparently asked very enthusiastically if he could hear it. They all decamped back to the studio, with GM apparently respectfully sitting in complete silence and afterwards asking to hear it multiple times. Johnny said that the Wham! slight regarding Panic was never mentioned and that he found GM to be a really lovely guy.
      • Interesting Interesting x 1
    4. Anonymous
      One mans guess is not facts, fake news.
    5. celibate
      every person in the Western World was shocked and after that indeed in panic what would happen to the earth, and in which direction the wind blew radio active dirt.

      it was the 9/11 of the 80's
      • Insightful Insightful x 1
    6. jason lee charles hurst
      jason lee charles hurst
      okay lets hope this clears it all up. Yes, as i said earlier it was because of the crap Steve wright played on the radio in response to the shite he played aft the announcement. ive just spent 30 minutes on the copy stand photographing the history of the song from one of my books. here are those pictures bear in mind its 6am' ish UK time so im a bit bleary eyed and tongue tied so here they are, this should clear it up!

      Attached Files:

      • Informative Informative x 3
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    7. Illness As Art
      Illness As Art
      This version certainly relates to the story I remember reading at the time and the DJ playing the song was possibly Steve Wright, who at least liked to pretend the song was about him.

      This may be because when I saw The Smiths (1986, Cornwall Colosseum) , I remember Morrissey carrying the noose and had also changed into a t-shirt that had a picture of Steve Wright and Hang The DJ emblazoned on it.
    8. Anonymous
      Fooking genius and old news and if he ever tried to play football he would be Ronaldo and Messi rolled into one.

      Renck and Åkerlund are the two best directors in the world right now and they are both swedish.
    9. Anonymous
      Coming soon to Solo, pictures of Urbanus at Forsmark nuclear plant in early 1987. Chernobyl incident made the swedish newspapers go mad at the fact that swedish teens were stationed up there so we did nothing but talk to journos for a week or two.

      "Here are the young men the weight on their shoulders"
      Here are the young men well where have they been
      we knocked on the doors of hells darkers chambers
      pushed to the limit we dragged ourselves in"
    10. Anonymous
      The swedish jewish actor David Dencik who plays Gorby in Chernobyl shot to fame for his amazing portrayal of swedish serial killer John Ausonius more known as the laser man who killed and injured immigrants to Sweden.


      It was his ticket into the big time but none of the roles even in Hollywood will ever come close to the way he personified that killer.


      The 3 part series is not online but I wish I could post a link.

      Only found a clip from it that doesn't say much.

      He was the happiest guy on the planet when he heard the news of Palme's death when he himself was in prison cause no one hated Palme more than him (well I did).


      I sometimes eat Gorby's:


      Swedes love it and 10 pack is the best and just add some pickles.
    11. jason lee charles hurst
      jason lee charles hurst
      YUK that looks like an end product of a nuclear attack!

    12. Pablo Honey
      Pablo Honey
      I remember when Olof Palme was shot. The whole school had a memorial assembly but I didn't care what it the fuss was all about. I must've been in grade 9.
    13. Anonymous
      Good on ya and that day we realised we lived under communist rule disguised as socialism. You must be about 2 years younger than me then cause I was close to my graduation then cause I went to a 2 year programme and then moved onto college which made me end up at that nuclear plant which was part of the studies which included a summer job.
    14. Pablo Honey
      Pablo Honey
      Back home there was just primary school which is a grade 1-8, starting at age 6-14, then high school grade 9-12. So that would make me 15 when it happened. I wasn’t sure why we had the assembly as I never heard of Socialist Czechoslovakia mourning a death of a Western politician. It was all about Brezhnev and Gorbachev, Honecker and the other commies.
    15. Anonymous
      They tried to brainwash us too and my reason for my views on the holocaust came from me and my two best friends exposing the lie cause of clumsy teachers too eager to sell a myth they forgot to do it the right way.

      What we were told were fabrications and I believe the real victims have been mistreated by claiming more people than them died. I wonder how that would make people feel?

      Propaganda lies are terrible actions that goes against humanity and should be treated much more serious and the guilty should serve time or worse for it but they never will.
    16. Anonymous
      I was 17 about to turn 18!
    17. Anonymous
      If you eat with your eyes only the brain will stop working.
      • Like Like x 1
    18. jason lee charles hurst
      jason lee charles hurst
      Jack wrong with my eyes, if I ate shite like that id end up with arteries harder than torpedo release tubes!
      Also if I wanted to eat swill like that I would have stayed with the ex-wife!!!
      As for my brain? what brain?

    19. Anonymous
      Yeah if you had it every day instead of a few times a year that would be true but that goes for most things we eat. If you worry about them exploding make sure to take the garlic tablets they make in California where they not only store dead bodies in cryo tanks but make garlic too that lowers blood pressure.

      Arteries will go hard from lack of magnesium so take that and don't worry. It's not swill but maybe you was swill to her.
      We both lack one then so high five.
      • Troll Troll x 1
    20. jason lee charles hurst
      jason lee charles hurst
      Do yourself a favour, don't make judgements on my ex-wife, you know fuck all about it! That said, why don't you reveal yourself 'O' spineless one! don't be so ordinary, hey boy?


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