October 3, 2018

The Right Side Won was What Fun’s one hit in the 1980s

Filed under: Music by Branko Collin @ 8:51 pm

This catchy reggae tune ponders how history is written by the winners, which is ironic considering that this would be Haarlem-based What Fun’s only hit, condemning them to relative obscurity.

The song was released in 1983 and reached the number 3 spot of the Dutch Top 40 in the spring of 1984. The single was also released in other countries, but did not do much there. The band did not seem to have much time for promotion since the members all had day jobs.

Singer Martin Richardson told social-democratic newspaper Het Vrije Volk (‘The Free People’) in January 1984: “At least South Africa understood what the song is about because they banned the record. In the Netherlands, 90 percent of the listeners do not get that the lyrics are based on the Falklands war between England and Argentina and the pumped up atmosphere surrounding the conflict. In other words, there are two parties, a pacifist and a war mongering one, and everybody gets to decide for themselves which is which, and history is written by the winner. That is what we mean by ‘the right side won’.”

What Fun tried to break the charts with another highly topical song, this time about the micro computer revolution, Let’s Get Digital, but without much success. The record sleeve for that song was created using a computer program that itself was included on the single. Computers of the day could translate the assorted beeps included at the end of the song into working program code.

(Video: YouTube / What Fun!; illustration: crop of a still from the video)

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