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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Morris-ey No man's land protest (276* d) RE: No man's land protest 06 Nov 14

What Eric bogle wrote in its entirety via fRoots:

Apparently Joss Stone's version of my song "No Man's Land" has polarised opinions. I usually don't comment publicly on other people's versions of my songs, but many of you have e-mailed me about this matter and seem genuinely upset about it, so I am sending you the following in reply to some of the questions I have been asked………please note that I will be entering into no further correspondence regarding this matter, I don't want to spend the rest of my life e-mailing on my computer, so you will have to accept (or reject ) what I have said below and leave it there…….! ! The copyright for "No Man's Land/The Green Fields of France" is held by my UK Publisher,! Domino Publishing, who are ultimately responsible for approving applications to record this song. When an artist wishes to record "No Man's Land" they must apply for a mechanical license to do so from the relevant UK agency, and pay a licensing fee. Permission to record is more or less automatic, especially if, as is the case with this song, it has been recorded before. At no stage in this process am I, the composer, involved. Generally speaking, the first I know of any new recording is when I see any subsequent royalties from the recording appearing on my royalty statements. ! !
When the artist(s) in question records the cover version of the song, they can, and often do, rework ! the song as to be almost unrecognisable from the original version. This is especially true in Jazz music, and is generally regarded as an acceptable creative exercise by the artist(s). Although! the publisher and/or composer could take legal action if they feel that the original essence of the song has been irrevocably altered and very much to the song's detriment, this very rarely happens. The bottom line is that so long as royalties are paid, any wounded artistic feelings are usually put aside.! !
So then, to the most asked questions about this affair:! !!
Was my permission sought when they decided to record this song? - No! !!
Did I know what they proposed to do with the song when they decided to record it? - No! !!
Do I approve of what they have done to the song ? (missing verses, rock'n'roll arrangement, etc) !
No, believe it or not I wrote the song intending for the four verses of the original song to gradually build up to what I hoped would be a climactic and strong anti-war statement. Missing out two and a half verses from the original four verses very much negates that intention. As to the musical arrangement, it's really about whatever floats your musical boat. I would have thought a strong mostly acoustic version would have done a better job of getting the message across, but that's just my personal preference, and I'm a bit of an old fart folkie. But then to do an acoustic version and include all four verses and choruses would have made the song nearly 7 minutes long, making it of doubtful commercial appeal in today's modern music market, given that the average attention span of that market's consumers is rarely more than three minutes or so. There's not much doubt that the shortened, up-tempo, bluesy version that Joss does will probably appeal to a much broader cross-section of the listening public, certainly to those who did not know the song existed until they heard Joss's version. ! !
Is the strong anti-war message in the original song diminished in this recording? Yes, missing some crucial verses does not help. But then this diminishment is only in the eyes (or ears) of people who have heard the original version of the song. Those who have not heard the original cannot make the same comparisons or judgements. They must take Joss's version on it's own merits and make their own interpretation. ! !
Does it follow then that this version glorifies war instead of condemning it? - No, in my opinion it certainly doesn't glorify it, but doesn't condemn it either, it just sort of starts off promisingly enough and then turns into a sing- along chorus type of song. Sentimentalising perhaps, but not glorifying.! !!
Will me or my publisher be suing Joss Stone, Jeff Beck or the British Legion? — No, you have to be joking. I would have wished for a version of my song that could have been more true to my original intention in writing the song, but if Joss's version touches heart or two here and there and makes some people reflect, perhaps for the first time, on the true price of war, then her version is as valid as anyone else's."

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