Content Warning: this article deals with domestic violence.
As news broke regarding the decision to ban the hit Tom Jones’ song Delilah after its lyrics were deemed “problematic and upsetting”, fierce debate broke out online with some labelling the move “absolute nonsense” while others voiced their support for the ban.
The matter came to the fore after Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) announced that Jones’ hit will no longer be performed by choirs at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
The lyrics of the song have long attracted controversy, with one line referencing a woman being murdered by her partner.
“I crossed the street to her house and she opened the door; she stood there laughing, I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more,” the line reads.
The decision by the WRU follows allegations of sexism and misogyny that have been levelled against the club recently.
“The WRU condemns domestic violence of any kind,” a stadium spokesperson said.
“We have previously sought advice from subject matter experts on the issue of censoring the song, and we are respectfully aware that it is problematic and upsetting to some supporters because of its subject matter.”
In addition to the global discourse that followed news of the ban, our very own Starts at 60 readers also had their own opinions on the matter with many offering their two cents regarding the cancellation of Jones’ hit.
Denise* suggested that those who took issue with the lyrics should shift their focus to more pressing matters.
“Oh for heaven’s sake, the lyrics of a song from 50 odd plus years ago is not the problem. The problem is with people who sit twiddling their thumbs all day, thinking what can I pick on next,” Denise said.
“Why don’t you pick on things that are happening TODAY, things like violent video games that are desensitising our youth!!!!”
Gay* asked what was next to fall victim to cancel culture’s swift blade.
“Good grief!! What next!!! There has to be a small minded set of people who’s life’s purpose is to examine every book, every nursery rhyme, every song lyric to find some innuendo or word they don’t like, then complain about it,” Gay expressed.
Sue* surmised that “some people obviously have nothing better to do with their time”.
“What a sick bloody world we live in these days,” Sue said.
Valerie* implored those who took issue with the song to simply “leave it alone”.
“Oh for goodness sake. There are many things I find objectionable on TV. In the media and ideas I find objectionable, but no one gives a darn,” Valerie explained.
“Tom Jones wrote the song a longtime ago. It is done, leave it alone.”
As yet another classic song came under attack, Lance* reflected on simpler time “when people enjoyed their lot and got on with their lives”.
“I feel so sad for those born more recently who seem to have a problem with themselves. Give up being precious and start enjoying your life,” Lance said.
Helen* questioned what will come under attack next.
“Get a life people. Breathing will be bad for the planet next,” Helen mused.
Whereas Janine* simply advised that if you find something offensive then “don’t listen”.
“Isn’t it so awesome how we live in a world where we can make choices for ourselves!!! Like the choice to listen to, or not listen to, any song that is playing,” Janine said.
“Ffs get over it. There are far bigger issues in this world than the lyrics of a song. Don’t like it, don’t listen. Like it, listen to it.
“Offence is taken not given. If you’re offended its your problem, deal with it. Don’t make it anyone else’s problem.”
The song has previously drawn the ire of critics before with many previously calling for the song to be banned due to its lyrics, which Jones has dismissed.
“I don’t think [singers] are really thinking about it,” Jones told the BBC in 2014.
“If it’s going to be taken literally, I think it takes the fun out of it.”
FAMILY VIOLENCE DISCLAIMER: If you are concerned about domestic and family violence in your family, friends or workplace, contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732, Mensline Australia on 1300 789 978, Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 or Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 for confidential support, advice and referral that will help you explore your options.
*Last names removed for privacy reasons.