May 3, 1983 – Pink Floyd: “Not Now John” (Obscured Version) b/w “The Hero’s Return, Parts I and II” 45 single is released.
“Not Now John” is a song from Pink Floyd’s 1983 album, The Final Cut. The track is the only song from the album featuring the vocals of David Gilmour, found in the verses, with Roger Waters singing the refrains and interludes, and was the only single released from the album, though the word “f***” was obscured in the single release.
The lyrics, written by Roger Waters, deal with war (particularly the Falklands War) and criticism of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, as well as general criticisms of the greed and corruption that Waters saw as dangers to society. It also shows the corruptible and fruitless labor of post-war America, Europe and Japan. The wording is such that it mainly tells of the changing of global trade and that a new leader is emerging in the consumer goods industry, Japan.
Despite the political content of the album and the specific references in other songs to public figures of the time, the “John” of the title is not intended to refer to any particular person named John. It is being used in the British colloquial sense, where “John” can be employed in the same way as “mate”, “pal”, “Jack”, or “Guv” to refer to anyone to whom one is speaking, particularly if the speaker does not know their name. At the time, this usage of “John” as a general means of address to others would have been particularly associated with blue-collar workers, who were the people being most strongly affected by the changes to manufacturing and trade referred to in the song.