Manic Street Preachers have drawn police criticism for a track on their upcoming album ‘This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours’, which deals with the 1989 Hillsborough football tragedy in which 96 people died.
The song, ‘South Yorkshire Mass Murderer’, has been slammed as “offensive” and in “bad taste” by a top-ranking South Yorkshire police official. The track, which is featured on the Manics’ new album, ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’ released by Epic on September 14, is an attack on officers in charge of crowd control at the 1989 Nottingham Forest Vs Liverpool football match where 96 Liverpool fans died in a crush. The policing of events is currently the subject of a private prosecution by bereaved families through the Hillsborough Families Support Group. The first case came to court last week.
The families’ plight was also highlighted by the award-winning Jimmy McGovern documentary, Hillsborough. In a phone call to NME last week, McGovern said he thought the sentiment of the Manics song was “brilliant”, adding, “I wish the British media had the balls of our singers. I’m impressed.” The song’s chorus features the refrain: “South Yorkshire mass murderer/How can you sleep at night/Sleep at night”. It then goes on to namecheck McGovern: “The reason for this song/Well it may be a pointless one/But thank you Jimmy McGovern/For reminding me of what lives on”.
South Yorkshire’s Assistant Chief Constable Ian Daines, who was not involved in policing on the day, admitted he hadn’t heard the song but said: “Judging solely from the title it would appear to be in bad taste and is likely to cause offence to many people.” The Manics had originally planned to incorporate a speech about Hillsborough from a character in a McGovern-penned Cracker episode who, traumatised by events at Hillsborough, returned to South Yorkshire to murder its police officers. McGovern said: “Alby (the character) had that thing about how Hillsborough in 1989 was the end result of a full-scale assault on working-class culture and values starting with the miners’ strike in 1984.”
McGovern said he was taken back by the “power” of the Manics’ lyrics but was concerned about a possible libel action against the band. He added: “I’ve heard those sentiments (how do you sleep at night, etc) expressed by many of the Hillsborough families. it’s just that when you see it in black and white and realise it’