Fenton Bailey writes:
Last week I met up with old pal and former Wham! manager Simon Napier Bell who normally lives in Thailand but was on a lightning whip round of the west to promote his new artist Brothermandude, “the brilliant rock group fronted by Sheik Hassan Al Khalifa.” Simon logically enough pointed out that it was only a matter of time before a Middle Eastern artist stormed the charts, capitalizing on the collective angst about all things Muslim. I wasn’t so sure. But then the very next day the headline IRAQ STREET BOYS leapt out at me from the Wall Street Journal.
The band formed five years ago. Under Saddam Hussein, in return for having a love song they wrote played on the air, the band had to write a birthday tune praising the Iraqi dictator (“Our love, you bring / All bells let them ring / As we all will sing / Long live dear Saddam”). The band says the birthday tune was played 48 times a day for a whole week (that should be in the list of justifications for going to war), and their love song just once.
Turns out both Brothermandude and the Iraq Street Boys are recording their albums in London. The race to the top of the charts is on.
– Fenton Bailey