Ribbons And Gold (a letter to Jimmy Savile)

Oddly, you may rightly think, but my childhood memory song is a letter to a paedophile, which one would hope, makes me unique for this month’s song challenge.
My very first entertainment industry rejection letter was signed by Jimmy Savile. I was about 12 years old when I wrote to “Jim’ll Fix” It (more on my dream wishes on request, but that would be a sideshow to the message in my song).
I remember the excitement when the reply letter emblazoned with the BBC halo landed. And I can still recall the weight of disappointment when I opened it. However, turns out I was one of the lucky ones to NOT have been selected.
His story disturbs me on a deeper personal level too, because when as an 18 year old working as a labourer on a building site, a new guy my age started. He was a troubled soul from outset and grew up in a care home somewhere in the North West. He was adamant his uncle was Jimmy Savile and that he would visit him in the home and that they were ‘close’. Needless to say and ashamedly so, we didn’t believe him for a minute and as you can imagine he became the butt of all our jokes. With JS impressions galore and ‘xx will fix it’ gags at every opportunity. This was 1983 and the sickening truth about Savile was not yet public info.
To this day I doubt I will ever know if my labouring buddy was indeed a poor victim, but this song is for him and countless others. I’ve decided not to tart it up with backing vocals and camera edits as I just wanted the song to resonate in it’s most naked form. I hope you like it.


  1. That is a hard story to hold in your heart. I wonder if you could find him and share the song with him. I’m sure he would appreciate your concern about him. You have a really beautiful singing voice, by the way.

  2. Powerful song, Steve. Well done in tackling this tough subject. Almost as bad as JS himself were the people, and there were many, who knew what he was doing but didn’t want to be a whistleblower. Cleverly constructed lyric, and your usual excellent vocal delivery.

  3. I am genuinely pleased for you that you were one of the ones that got turned down. A lucky break. Now I see your reason for the facebook ‘F bomb’ post. 100% correct USAGE in this context. As usual that 12 string sounds really lush and great vocal

  4. Powerful stuff Steve. Your song is one of several in this Challenge is generating material that make my range of experience seem very narrow,. Immaculately written and performed as usual with you.

  5. I doubt anyone but you could take a subject like this and write something that works as well as this song does, Steve. I’m glad you chose to forgo all the bells & whistles of production. This needed to be more personal. Skilful lyrics and a song I won’t forget.

  6. Yep. You capture a sense of disgust really well, and made the right choice keeping the arrangement simple. It’s a really well crafted song and a compelling performance. Incidentally, I met Rolf Harris when I was in my early teens. I thought he was amazing.. I was soooo disappointed when his inappropriate behaviour hit the news. Similar feelings!

  7. What a powerful song. Fascinating story behind it too. Well done. Well expressed and I liked its raw form and the way you were able to reframe your childhood disappointment into a blessing in disguise.

  8. Perfectly captured Steve. On a technical note I particularly liked the monsters hall of fame reference and the emphasis on “down” and I really like the chord sequence and tune. On a more emotional level I don’t think any of us will ever be able recall those childhood memories of a beloved show without feeling sick and you’ve captured that for us all in this song.

  9. You dodged a bullet there Steve. Well done on sharing the story, and yes, absolutely the right song to drop the F-bomb in. As always your playing is beautiful and the 12 -string sounds so warm and wide. Another Strawhead classic!

  10. I listened on FB and really liked this. Listening again I’m struck even more forcefully by the power of the lyrics which cleverly convey the horror story of your subject. I think the sweet sound of the melody provides an effective counterpoint to the message.

  11. Well done mate, I don’t often say this but, absolutely correct drop of the F-bomb. My sister-in-law was, potentially, a victim (although she will never talk about it), collected at Stoke Mandeville, where she volunteered as a teenager, and “invited” to Top of the Pops on JS’s shows. Again, well done!

  12. This brought so many memories back to mind. A school friend of mine had an unpleasant encounter with him when we were about 14. You definitely dodged a bullet. Another great Strawhead song! Gets my vote

  13. What a brilliant song. A great subject to write a song about, it deserves a very wide audience. I am glad you swore at the end – your anger is palpable and justified. Well done, mate.