When I was a kid I was forced to listen to a lot of Radio 2. As this was the nineteen seventies Radio 2 was not the hip, slightly edgy or progressive place it can be today. No, back then it still had Pete Murray, a man whose hair reached 1962 and decided to permanently stay there even when it went grey. It had Derek Jacobs, a DJ who insisted that musically his show was on a constant loop from 1925 through to 1959 and nothing existed outside of that. David “diddy” Hamilton tried to bring things up to date only to be smacked down again by John Dunn directly after his show and give the Beverley Sisters more air time then they generally deserved in the 1980’s. It did have Sir Terry though so every cloud I suppose. One of the songs that was played a lot intrigued my young mind and its only been since I came into adulthood that I’ve gotten to understand it. The song is Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the ole Oak tree by Tony Orlando and Dawn. It starts off with a man declaring that he has done his time and that the only way he will know if his wife/girlfriend wants him back is if she ceremonially ties a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree near there home. He instructs her to do this by a letter. It seems unclear as to why she can’t simply write back to the prison or tell him when she’s next in visiting him. As it appears she hasn’t visited in the last 3 years maybe she’s decided to chainsaw the tree down and turn it into an Oak porch, like the ones you can see at http://www.bespoaktimberframes.co.uk/portfolio_page/oak-porch/ .
We never find out what he’s done. “I’m coming home I’ve done my time” seems clear enough and he sings about how he’s been sent down for “3 long years”. That does rather narrow it down a bit to carjacking and burglary, so it would be fair to say that whatever he did do it can’t have been very pleasant. Whilst he’s paid his debt to society should the wife/girlfriend by ok with that? What drove him to it? He clearly has the love of a good and loyal person whose prepared to wait.
Not wanting to give the song away but the wife/girlfriend has gotten the message and blown the monthly clothing budget on yellow ribbons. She’s tied 100 of them to the Oak tree which isn’t going to do it any favours and also brings into question her mental stability. The Bus driver and the other passengers cheer wildly when they see this as the man has been telling them in no uncertain terms what he’s hoping for. A part of me thinks that those cheering passengers may well be doing it out of a sense of relief.