The song is "no more likely to cause domestic violence than listening to Mack The Knife would cause you to stab a prostitute", Sylvan Whittingham says
British songwriter Sylvan Whittingham has dismissed a call from Dafydd Iwan, one of the country's politicians and a career musician in his own right, to ban her song Delilah — co-written with Les Reed and ex-husband Barry Mason, and famously performed by Tom Jones in the late 1960s — after he claimed that the tune's lyrics "tend to trivialise the idea of murdering a woman".
"It is a song about murder and he believes it incites men to violence," Whittingham told Wales Online. "What would I say to Dafydd Iwan? I would say I am afraid I disagree with you."
"Delilah is no more likely to cause domestic violence than listening to Mack The Knife would cause you to stab a prostitute."
The push to ban Delilah — and Whittingham's public defiance thereof — has received renewed attention with the arrival of the Rugby World Cup, given Welsh audiences' predilection for the track to the point that "the original song has now become a bit of a Welsh national anthem", the songwriter says.
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
However, Iwan — who made his call late last year to get the song banned at Welsh rugby games in particular — said of Delilah at the time, "It is a song about murder and it does tend to trivialise the idea of murdering a woman and it's a pity these words now have been elevated to the status of a secondary national anthem … I think we should rummage around for another song instead."
It's worth noting that it's not the first time Delilah and sport have experienced tumult together — last year, Jones faced criticism from Eddie McGuire for choosing to perform the song during the AFL Grand Final, with the Millionaire man describing it as "an inappropriate song in 2014".
In keeping with her opposition to banning the song, Whittingham has, with Reed, penned an updated, defiant set of lyrics that replaces the well-known chorus refrains with "They can't stop Delilah" and "We won't drop Delilah", among several other changes.
A demo version has been recorded with session musician Glen Leon ("the best Tom Jones tribute act", in Whittingham's words), though there's no word as to whether there will be an official release — her "dream would be to have a Welsh choir sing this" — or what Sir Jones himself thinks of the new cut.
"I'm not in touch with him any more, and he is quite difficult to get hold of," Whittingham told Wales Online.
"I hope he would find it humorous."
See the revised lyrics below.