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Boosting Morale In The East
Posted on February 12, 2008The conflict in the Middle East is foremost in many minds lately. The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) radio station has set up several dedicated shows, taking music requests from families back here in Britain, and from troops over there. In what is no doubt very difficult times, music is helping to sustain morale. Below we're sharing an article from the Times newspaper, printed yesterday, March 27.
Soldiers feel the homesick blues
By Adam Sherwin, Media Reporter
Bravado and homesickness are reflected in the most popular songs requested for broadcast by British troops in the Gulf.
Soldiers are asking for laddish anthems such as The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy to mark their return from a sortie, but ballads such as Take Me Home by Sophie Ellis Bextor and Don't Know Why by Norah Jones are also being chosen as a message to families back home.
BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) Radio launched a Kuwait service three weeks ago and is receiving more than 2,000 requests a day. The 24-hour station is vital for keeping morale high. The Animals' We've Got To Get Out Of This Place is a hot request, although BFBS put that down to "gallows humour". Rock The Casbah by the Clash is also a favourite.
Joanne Bell, BFBS head of music, said: "The boys want upbeat, patriotic music, which helps to reduce feelings of homesickness. We don't get many requests for the Smiths, but Robbie Williams, rap and heavy rock are very popular."
Servicewomen are choosing softer, more melodic music, such as Dido, often to the chagrin of male soldiers.
Virgin Radio and Radio 2 broadcast BFBS in Britain and let loved ones send messages and special requests back to the troops. All You Need Is Love is one of the most heavily requested tracks by families.
BFBS is hoping that Robbie Williams, the Stereophonics and other requested artists will make personal radio appearances, but some artists may calculate the consequences of supporting the war. Combined Services Entertainment will stage a concert with leading stars in the Gulf when the fighting has finished.
Messages can be left on Virgin Radio (0800-032 1215), the BFBS hotline, 0870-120 2121, or via www.virginradio.co.uk.
Top Ten Requests
1. The Boys Are Back in Town - Thin Lizzy
2. We've Got To Get Out Of This Place - The Animals
3. Take Me Home - Sophie Ellis Bextor
4. Don't Know Why - Norah Jones
5. Without Me - Eminem
6. Half The World Away Oasis
7. Writing To Reach You Travis
8. Rock DJ - Robbie Williams
9. Rock The Casbah - The Clash
10. Hero - Chad Kroeger
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