Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Riffs: Fatwa Lifted

Although this clip is inferior in terms of both son et lumière, I offer it up as the best I that I could find in the time I wanted to devote to the search. I love both the singer and the song. The 10,000 Maniacs cover of Cat Stevens’ great tune, “Peace Train” first appeared on the 1987 album, In My Tribe. But when Stevens disclosed that he had become a Muslim and later, in a fit of the kind of excess zeal that often afflicts converts, endorsed the fatwa issued against author Salman Rushdie over the content of his novel The Satanic Verses, the tune was removed. By the time I purchased the CD (in great part because of my love for the band’s treatment of that song) it was—to my disappointment—gone.

I have always felt that this censorship, although well-meant, was a mistake. The song has a vital and valid message. Moreover, the truth from the lips of Satan himself remains the truth. It’s not where it comes from, but how you use it:

If anyone can supply a link to a better clip, please send it along and I'll gratefully replace this one with that one.

(The 10,000 Maniacs' cover of "Peace Train" is again available, btw, on the retrospective compilation, Campfire Songs.)