Rolf Harris apology for racist song

Rolf Harris has apologised for the racist language used in his 1960 hit song ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’. Speaking in an interview to be aired on Radio Scotland on 10 Dec, Harris talked of his regret at having used the term “abo” to refer to Australian Aborigines in the track.

The words of the song, as you may not be aware, if you’ve never really examined the lyrics in great detail, depict the demise of an Australian stockman, who, on his deathbed, is telling friends to take care of his affairs – exhorting them to “keep me cockatoo cool”, “take me koala back”, and “mind me platypus duck”. The offending line is “let me abos go loose”.

The song was written in 1957 when aboriginal rights in Australia were virtually non existent. At that point they weren’t even guaranteed a vote. After the song became popular, a re-recorded version replaced the references to “abos” with “emus”. Harris said in the interview: “At the time, I was 27 or something when I wrote that. But since 1960, I have never sung that verse.”

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