After former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was pilloried following her death last week with a campaign in England to vault the song “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead” to the top of the nation’s pop chart, an English satirist is using the occasion of Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday, April 17, to reissue a 1979 album skewering the woman also known as “The Iron Lady.”
British humorist, music and comedy producer Martin Lewis says he is bringing out the “Iron Lady” album he co-produced, featuring English impressionist Janet Brown as Thatcher, because Thatcher herself suggested he do so long ago.
Lewis met Thatcher in 1991 in Los Angeles after she’d left office and was on the lecture circuit in the U.S. He asked if she knew of the “Iron Lady” album, originally released four months after she took office, and informed her that he had produced it.
“She immediately asked me how it had sold,” Lewis told Pop & Hiss. “I told her truthfully that, because it had been released when she was in her ‘honeymoon’ period, it had not sold very well. Quick as a flash she responded by telling me: ‘You should reissue it! I think it’ll find a much bigger audience now ... .’ Though I was - and remain - ideologically opposed to her, I was impressed with her self-deprecating wit.”
Lewis, co-creator of the original Secret Policeman’s Ball benefit for Amnesty International and producer of the DVD edition of the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” film among numerous other projects, described the “Iron Lady” album as a sharply pointed critique of her policies. “It’s not a soft, warm-fuzzy album like Vaughan Meader’s ‘The First Family’ album,” he said, referring to the 1962 hit comedy LP that gently spoofed President John F. Kennedy, his family and Cabinet.
The album, written by John Wells, an original contributor to the U.K. satirical magazine Private Eye, includes “I’m There,” which also is being released as a single. Brown sings it in a provocative and explicit Donna Summer manner that Lewis says “equates political power with sexual power,” the Thatcher character proclaiming, “I’m high and I’m flying and it’s ecstasy/I’m there! I’m there! I’m there!” during her coronation in Westminster Abbey as she takes over in place of Queen Elizabeth II.
“After her passing, I thought carefully about all the contributions that Margaret Thatcher had made to Britain and the world during her decades in politics,” Lewis said. “And I thought that I should honor those contributions by following her advice to me. So I am reissuing the album. She asked for it - and I certainly think she deserves it.”
Lewis has created a website for the project, as well as a Facebook page and Twitter account, noting that a Twitter hashtag has already sprung up in reaction to the single, #ThatcherOrgasm. The album and single are officially to be released on Amazon on Wednesday. Both went up Tuesday at iTunes, and three related videos have been posted to YouTube.
Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2