Sue Medley, playing with Colin James on the Grierson Stage at the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Photo courtesy Kirk Friederich/JKirk Photography

30 years later, Sue Medley’s hit ‘Dangerous Times’ more relevant than ever

Vancouver Island singer/songwriter reflects on her ’90s national hit

Three decades after its release, Comox Valley resident Sue Medley’s smash hit Dangerous Times resonates with the current landscape, in more ways than one.

Medley originally wrote the song in response to the student protests in China that led to the Tiananmen Square Massacre in June of 1989, when Chinese government troops opened fire on pro-democracy residents in the city of Beijing.

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The song was on Medley’s 1990 self-titled debut solo album.

The album went gold, and the song reached No. 1 on MuchMusic, and spent 12 weeks atop the ‘Pop Adult’ charts.

“I can remember, as clear as a bell, the exact moment when I wrote that song,” said Medley. “I was watching the news and all of a sudden there were all these images – the tanks, the students – terrible images, and I just cried, because they were young people my age, and I just couldn’t fathom something like that happening.

“I literally picked up my guitar, and 10 minutes later, I had written Dangerous Times. It happened that fast. It just kind of wrote itself.”

Fast forward three decades and events unravelling in the United States have an eerie resemblance to the historic Beijing protests.

President Donald Trump has deployed federal troops into numerous American cities to confront protestors, resulting in dangerously violent showdowns.

The similarities are not lost on Medley.

“It really does make me [shiver],” she said. “It’s a dangerous and slippery slope, when you’ve got unidentified armed federal agents coming in, pulling demonstrators into unmarked cars for questioning… it’s spine-tingling, is what it is. It’s very scary. It’s almost like a dictatorship there. He [Trump] is a dangerous man.”

Medley said she has many friends in the U.S. and the concerns are fairly consistent.

“My one friend, an engineer that works in L.A., he’s just frustrated, and so angry at what is happening in the country, and afraid.”

She said the insurgence, as well as the growing opposition to safety precautions introduced for the containment of COVID-19, has created considerable unrest for many of her American friends.

“Friends in Nashville… and Austin – they’re really worried. They feel like it’s out of their [hands]. They can’t stop this train wreck. It is the perfect storm.”

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Medley said she could never have imagined her song being so prophetic.

“No, I certainly could not. I gotta say, it’s very disturbing.”

Medley lived in Los Angeles for a few years, before returning to Courtenay nearly 10 years ago. She has no regrets.

“I feel incredibly lucky… so grateful to live in this country, and especially here on Vancouver Island, where we help each other,” she said. “I am so grateful that I live here.”

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The following are the lyrics to Dangerous Times:

We are living in dangerous times

And all God’s children have learned how to fight

Shedding their young blood

Shedding their tears

They can’t go on living their lives in fear

They’ve watched their empires rise and fall

Ghostly reflections through crumbled walls

So many innocents tried to stand tall

Only to be knocked down, battered and scarred

Someone will conquer, and someone will die

And some of them will just turn their heads

And turn away, in these dangerous times.

A bustle in the kitchen to get supper on

The radio is playing some familiar song

There’s a lover’s quarrel, with the TV on

They’re all unaware of injustice and wrong

Someone will conquer, and someone will die

Some of them will just turn their heads

And turn away, oh…

Don’t you think it’s time to tell a nation

This can’t be right?

Or did someone kill the white dove

In the name of justice, or sacrifice?

All stands quiet in Tiananmen Square today

No sign of trouble, no flowers on the graves

No raging voices, no sign of change

No sign of anything

But their blood-stained message remains

We are living in dangerous times

And all God’s children have learned how to fight

Shedding their young blood

Shedding their tears

They can’t go on living their lives in fear.



terry.farrell@blackpress.ca

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