In a two-part series on BBC Radio 2, we are looking specifically at the music of the time and the way it was fuelled by the politics. It is fascinating stuff.

My song-writing hero, Elvis Costello, had started out with bitter broken-hearted songs like Lipstick Vogue – “You want to throw me away, well I’m not broken” – but Thatcher’s first win in 1979 seemed to throw him into a lather of indignation which went on for at least 20 years.

Costello even sang, in Tramp the Dirt Down, a fantasy about dancing on her grave. I interviewed him recently and asked him if he meant it.

“You bet. She is a war criminal,” he replied unflinchingly.

Oh yes, the Falklands War. There was that, too. For folk rockers like Billy Bragg, the list of things to complain about was as long as the Beijing telephone directory.

Every gig I went to – even butter-wouldn’t-melt Lloyd Cole is included in this – had a stand outside where they sold T-shirts showing a diagonal red stripe superimposed over Mrs Thatcher’s face and the words Thatcherbusters emblazoned underneath. I never found out exactly what a Thatcherbuster was, but it did not sound pretty.

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Publication: BBC

Publication date: 15/06/09