Zero to 180’s tribute to labor continues with The Strawbs’ unabashed and unequivocal anthem to The Working Man – everybody sing along now:
“Part of the Union” came within a hair of hitting the number 1 spot on the UK Singles Chart in 1973. The song would see release as a single in South Africa, Australia, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK – but apparently (and unsurprisingly) not in the US.
“Part of the Union”: Pro-Union or Anti-Union?
As this BBC piece points out, “Although the lyrics could be read as satirical of the trade union movement, the band has frequently stated that that’s not the case at all. In fact the song was picked up by the trade unions and became something of an unofficial anthem for them.” A number of other web sources state that “Rick Wakeman, who was in the band from March 1970 to July 1971, and a strong supporter of the UK’s Conservative Party, has since claimed that the lyrics were meant to be sarcastic.” More intriguing is the Free Online Library’s claim that the Conservative Party even “assembled Parliament to vote for banning the song.”