Eric Bogle has criticised a Joss Stone version of one of his most famous songs, ‘No Man’s Land’ aka ‘Green Fields Of France’.
The Australian-based Scot issued a lengthy response to Stone’s “sentimentalised” version of his song, recorded as a fundraiser for the Poppy Appeal but omitting key verses from his original.
The anti-war anthem has been recorded by many acts since being written in 1976, including The Fureys, The Corries, Donovan, June Tabor, and the most well-known version to many by The Men They Couldn’t Hang.
The new Stone version, recorded with Jeff Beck, could be best described as a soft rock version with a gospel choir. It removes form the lyric the lines “Man’s blind indifference to his fellow man. And a whole generation who were butchered and damned” and “The suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame. The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain.” Stone performed the tune in front of the Queen on Remembrance Sunday.
Bogle, now 70, but still performing, claims that the omitting of these lines “diminished” the song’s intended anti-war message. The songwriter, who also wrote ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’, made famous by The Pogues, issued a lengthy statement where he also says of the arrangement: “I would have thought a strong, mostly acoustic version would have done a better job of getting the message across, but that’s just personal preference – I’m a bit of an old-fart folkie.”
A petition has been launched demanding an apology from the Royal British Legion for its misuse of the song.