“I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down.” – Tubthumping by Chumbawamba. This song ironically enough is one of the least politically motivated tracks ever recorded by the British band Chumbawamba, and in fact it became their most successful hit and one of the most remembered one-hit wonders of the 1990s. If we can get beyond the fact that “pissed” means something completely different in Great Britain vs. the United States, then I think we are able to examine this song a little closer. It’s the ultimate song for rebellion and tenacity.
Getting knocked down and getting back up again speaks to the tenacity of the person or entity that is going through the struggle. Chumbawamba was that entity or that band. They made no money for over a decade, because they weren’t selling out their art, they were a political band and playing benefit concerts, strikes, picket lines, etc.. Boff Whalley, guitarist for the band, recalls the time when the song blew up and he had an American car company throwing money at them to use the song in an advertisement while the American car company was in a dispute with its workforce. What did the band do? They called up the workers representatives and offered them the cash instead. The ultimate punk rock response – I love it.
Boff is quoted as saying “To 99% of people we just had that one song, but there is always the 1% who listen to the rest of the album (Tubthumper) and like it enough to listen to more. I still really like Tubthumping. I don’t feel embarrassed by it at all. I know some bands who hate their songs being popular, but I just think, “Get off your high horse!” The whole point of art is to have an audience.”
Read that again. The whole point of art is to have an audience. To be able to express your thoughts, feelings and emotions through art and connect on a deeper level to move another human being to a point of expression in themselves. While some may feel the lesson is getting knocked down and getting back up again (and that’s great), I implore you to go beyond the lyrics and find out the other meanings from the artists to truly give you #LyricsToLiveLifeBy. 🙂