Stop the Cavalry
“Stop the Cavalry” is a song written and performed by the English musician Jona Lewie, released in 1980 and now heard as a Christmas song. The song peaked at number three in the UK Singles Chart in December 1980, at one point only being kept from number one by two re-issued songs by John Lennon, who had been murdered on 8 December.
In an interview for Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Christmas Moments, Lewie said that the song was never intended as a Christmas hit, and that it was a protest song. The line ‘Wish I was at home for Christmas’ as well as the brass band arrangements made it an appropriately styled song to play around Christmas time. Lewis had said that royalties received from the song account for 50% of his income stream.
The song’s promotional video is set in the trenches of the First World War. The lyrics of the song mention cavalry and Churchill (who served as the First Lord of the Admiralty in the first year of the war, prior to serving in the trenches himself), but it breaks with the First World War theme with references to nuclear fallout and the line “I have had to fight, almost every night, down throughout these centuries”. Lewie described the song’s soldier as being “a bit like the eternal soldier at the Arc de Triomphe”.
At the time of the song’s release there was an increase in tension between the West and the Soviet Union, with American-controlled nuclear cruise missiles being stationed in the UK and a renewed fear of nuclear war, which explains the reference to the fallout shelter.
“Stop the Cavalry” reached #2 in Australia behind Slim Dusty’s “Duncan”.
- Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics