Rolling Stone reports that The Nighwatchman himself, Tom Morello, has endorsed his UK fans' attempt to make Rage Against the Machine's “Killing in the Name” (their incendiary 1992 single) the number one song in the country for Christmas week.
A little background: in case you haven't figured this out, the Brits are mad for music charts! They are and always have been, and here at WCS we don't fully understand why. Hasn't anyone read Fredric Dannen's Hit Men over there? Don't they understand it's all kind of rigged and pointless? Apparently they don't and news from the UK are always full of rivalries and beef concerning “singles” and “chart action” as if this was 1962 and people were still giving a hoot about the relative positions of 7″ pieces of black plastic drawn by cigar-chomping guys operating from shady storefronts on Denmark St.
And of all the Brits' inexplicable chart obsessions perhaps the most baffling is their fretting over who will hold the number 1 spot during Xmas week. (Memo to WCS readers of the British persuasion: if you can explain any of this to us, please do in the comments below.) We've been in British pubs in mid December and have seen grown men full of lager have heated debates about the relative merits of idiotic pop songs and who “deserves” to have the Xmas number one. Maybe this (like casual buggery and Marmite) is another of their very strange ways to mourn the loss of their empire. It's unclear.
Anyway, Simon Cowell's TV show The X Factor (their bizarro world American Idol) has apparently purveyed the Xmas number one for a number of years now, but this year Rage Against the Machine fans with nothing better to do have a different idea.
According to Rolling Stone:
a Facebook campaign has been launched to help Rage Against the Machine's 1992 hit “Killing in the Name” defeat the latest X Factor winner Joe McElderry's “The Climb.” As we inch toward December 25th and sales continues to be tight between the two competitors, Rage guitarist Tom Morello has lent his support to grassroots campaign, writing on his Twitter, “Rage's Killing in the Name & the X-Factor's goofy Christmas single are neck and neck for num one spot on UK chart. England! Now is your time.”
The X Factor has been responsible for the last four Christmas Number Ones, thanks to winners Shayne Ward, Leona Lewis, Leon Jackson and Alexandre Burke. The movement by RATM fans to end the Simon Cowell-produced juggernaut's streak has already gained 767,500 fans on Facebook, which provides links to download “Killing in the Name” so its digital sales count toward the Christmas Number One. “Are you getting fed up about the possibility of ANOTHER X-Factor Christmas No.1? …us too…so we're going to do something about it,” the Rage Against the X-Factor group writes on their Facebook page.
So of course
smelling the free publicity defending his show's honor, Simon Cowell went to venerable Brit music rag the NME and denounced the campaign as “stupid” and “cynical.”
Here's Simon acting like a little punk bitch about this absurd challenge:
From the NME:
Cowell went on to suggest that the campaign was unfairly being detrimental to the contestants in the show rather than harming him. “Me having a Number One record at Christmas is not going to change my life particularly,” he said. “It does however change these guys' lives and we put this opportunity there so that the winner of The X Factor gets the chance of having a big hit record.
“I think it's quite a cynical campaign geared at me which is actually going to spoil the party for these three [contestants]. I also think it's incredibly dismissive of the people who watch and enjoy the show… to treat our audiences as if they're stupid and I don't like that.”
Finally, here are the two songs in question, in case you want to get involved:
(We tried to obtain Zach de la Rocha's opinion about all this, but he was busy sitting at an Atwater vegan diner reading Trotsky for Dummies.)