Clash, THIN LIZZY and [/a] are providing the soundtrack for allied troops heading into war.
Tracks by these, and more contemporary artists like Eminem, Coldplay and Robbie Williams are on heavy rotation on BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) Radio, the station serving the British military in the Gulf.
A Middle Eastern arm of BFBS Radio 1 was launched in Kuwait three weeks ago as a dedicated service for soldiers gearing up for war with Iraq. As the war escalates, the station is playing more and more “‘you can’t mess with us'” type of records,” Head Of Music Joanne Bell told NME.
“The track that was used to open the service was Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’,” she said. “That was overwhelmingly requested. It’s a very good military ‘we’re back’ sort of record. Some of [the soldiers] will remember it from first time round so it is quite resonant for a lot of them from 1991.”
Over 42,000 British troops are currently stationed in the Gulf. There is a 50/50 split on the station between playlist material and dedications from the soldiers and their families.
“The one thing you do notice about the forces is a gallows humour,” she added. “On the one hand you have wives and families and loved ones at home who will go for ballads, whereas for the soldiers it tends to be tracks like [a] ‘We’ve Got To Get Out Of This Place’. It’s a big one at the moment, a big forces operational track. When there is some sort of skirmish, you can guarantee that track will be requested.
The radio service will remain operational in the Gulf for as long as the conflict lasts.