SKIDS -“WORKING FOR THE YANKEE DOLLAR”
From our Vinyl collection at Underground-“Working for the Yankee Dollar” is a song by the Skids, and part of the 1979 album “Days in Europa“.
Of course, ’79 is an important year for punk and new wave music: in this a very rich year in which there have been many important album releases, like “Unknown Pleasures” by Joy Division, “London Calling” by Clash, “Fear of Music” by Talking Heads, ” Lodger” by David Bowie and many others.
In this panorama of punk rebellion and political and social movements that rocked Europe and America, music was the voice. This line is also followed in “Working for the Yankee dollar“, a song with a very raw text about the war in Vietnam.
It tells about all the horror experienced by American (and Vietnamese) soldiers in that bloodbath that was Vietnam.
The point of view is of An American soldier who fought in Germany during the Second World War and who is now persecuted by the ghosts of the war is speaking.
The title, which is repeated several times in the refrain, is a clear reference to how all wars are fought for money. The last years of the conflict in Vietnam, begun in 1955, were the bloodiest, those in which the United States lost more soldiers, until the withdrawal of the troops in ’73.
It was also the war that triggered the greatest response from young people and many movements were born all over the world.
But although “Working for the Yankee Dollar” lyric is told specifically about Vietnam, it is obvious how it refers, in fact, to every war, and to how everything revolves around the Yankee dollars. But who pays the consequences are always soldiers and civilians, manoeuvred by more powerful forces? In fact, the entire album “Days in Europe” also speaks of the two world wars.
The first album cover, in fact, depicted a clearly Aryan athlete rewarded by a woman, also Aryan, at the Olympics of 1936, and the title was written in Gothic characters (those adopted by Nazism).
In “Working for the Yankee Dollar “music video there are the band members dressed as soldiers, moving in a chaotic trench, bombed by enemy fire.
The light-hearted sound and the singers in Nazi holding that repeat the refrain smiling make the atmosphere ironic and teasing.
But the text is anything but ironic.
Despite being written over 40 years ago, “Working for the Yankee Dollar” is still applicable to every war and in times like this, it is also sadly prophetic.