My song today is ‘Delilah’.This was is a song recorded by Welsh singer Tom Jones in December, 1967. It was originally recorded by P.J. Proby in late November, 1967. Proby hated the song and refused to include it on his album ‘Believe It or Not’, which was being compiled and recorded at the time. The lyrics were written by Barry Mason, and the music by Les Reed who also contributed the title and theme of the song. It earned Reed and Mason the 1968 ‘Ivor Novello Award’ for ‘Best Song Musically and Lyrically’.
The song reached the Number 1 spot in the charts of several countries, including Germany and Switzerland. It reached Number 2 in the British charts in March 1968 and was the sixth-best selling single of that year. The US ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart records its highest position as Number 15.
The singer narrates the song from the point of view of someone who perceives himself as a betrayed lover and who spies a woman in silhouette on a window blind as she makes love to another man. Although he realises that she is no good for him, he calls her 'his'. At the break of day, armed with a knife and waiting until her paramour leaves, he knocks on the door, which she opens only to laugh in his face. He stabs her to death, then waits for the police to come to break down the door and take him away.
I have known of so many ‘crimes of passion’ in my career as a Probation Officer serving in the West Yorkshire Probation Service between 1971-96. Feeling excessive jealousy, needing control and having a deep sense of betrayal is usually the terrible-triplet of human traits propelling such acts of violence against a former loved one.
I have known a number of women who were stabbed by their former lovers, one was shot in the arm and leg; one woman had a pan of boiling water thrown over her head, and one woman I worked with even had their house burnt down after having refused to open the door to an aggressive ex-lover who was determined to do her harm.
Perhaps the spookiest I ever personally knew of was the daughter of a neighbour. The young woman in question had never spoken to, dated or even knew of her attacker. The man who physically attacked her was a ‘stalker’. The young woman was a nurse at a local hospital. She was single in status and did not know the man who tried to severely hurt her. The stalker seemingly spotted the nurse in the hospital corridor one morning as he walked out from the A&E department and took a fancy to her. Through a weird sense of logic and a mental process I cannot truly understand, the man got it into his head that he and the young woman secretly loved each other madly and were waiting to declare their love to her parents before getting married and living happily ever after.
For many months, her stalker became detective and discovered the woman’s name, address, house phone number, friends, interests and a whole range of personal details about her. He started following her to work daily and would wait for her when she came out of work, whether her shifts were early or late. In the beginning, she sensed the man’s background presence but took no action. A week later, she walked into the hospital ward to start her shift and had a big bunch of red roses waiting for her at the reception desk with a note saying, ’To my sweetheart and only love of my life.’ xxx. The card was unsigned. The flowers from the anonymous man continued daily and after a week, the woman’s parents reported the matter to the local police in a hope to halt the harassment.
The young woman continued to receive her daily floral gifts (which were now left on the doorstep of her parent’s house where she lived). They would be placed on the step during the hours of darkness and were sometimes delivered to the young woman in person by ‘Interflora’. Her home would be regularly phoned by the stalker when she was in. When her parents answered, he hung up.Then, the young woman’s items of the more personal nature started to disappear from her washing line.
It was around two months after it had all first started when her stalker drummed up enough courage to approach the young woman direct and to reveal his face to her. He reportedly approached the young woman, smiling and expecting to be lovingly greeted by her with open arms. He carried a bunch of red roses that he placed in her hand, saying, “Won’t be long now, sweetheart! We’ll be married soon, sweetheart. I love you!” She instantly dropped the flowers to the ground, shouted at her stalker and called him a pervert (he was a man in his mid-40s). He ran off as she continued to scream after him.
The stalking went on for over six months, but the police were unable to prevent it, as no stalking law had yet been legislated for by Parliament in the early 90s. The eventual upshot was that the entire family up-sticks and moved to a new house in another part of the country. The young woman had been so badly psychologically traumatised by her stalking experiences, and probably still lives in fear of him ever discovering her present circumstances. No forwarding address was left by her parents for the neighbours and the young woman even changed the nature of her employment. I last spoke with her father 17 years ago.
I mention this latter case in greater detail than the women who were physically attacked, maimed and scarred because I know that while physical, emotional and psychological trauma severely affects one’s life and health in the most terrible of ways, it is the psychological traumatic effects that often last a lifetime; even beyond that of severe physical and sexual abuse.
I dedicate my song today to my Aunt Kathleen Fanning from Cleckheaton who has suffered ill-health for several years now. Happy birthday, Aunt Kathleen. I hope you have a pleasant day. Love Bill and Sheila x
Love and peace Bill xxx