What is "Soaraway Sun"?

Hi, could you please tell me what the term Soaraway Sun means? Does it refer to the British tabloid The Sun? I’ve come across this the term Soaraway Sun in the lyrics of the song Mass Destruction by Faithless. In the chorus line there is this part:

Whether long range weapon or suicide bomber
Wicked mind is a weapon of mass destruction
Whether you’re Soaraway Sun or BBC 1
Misinformation is a weapon of mass destruct

Any ideas? Thanks beforehand.

Soaraway Sun is referring to the UK’s leading (and utterly superficial) tabloid newspaper, The Sun.

This was from amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-rev … 37-6085645

Hi Sidle Jinks, thanks for your quick response. So are you suggesting that Faithless coined the term soaraway meaning that The Sun is soaring way (too far from reality?).

Hi Andreana!

Not exactly. Soaraway Sun, in my opinion, just means The Sun - the UK’s tabloid newspaper.

And the lines

mean that no matter who you are (leading newspaper or the oldest television station), misinformation is a horrible thing, as it can lead to unpredictable disasters

Just my opinion

If you google the phrase, you’ll find that many people refer to the newspaper as the Soaraway Sun. I couldn’t locate an original source, however.

Sidle Jinks hi again. Thanks for your thoughts which make sense, still my initial question remains unanswered: What is the origin of the term Soaraway?

I also used Google and, in addition, Wikipedia, answers.com, AskJeeves an Yahoo!, but no one gives the origin.


If you really want to know, read this:


By Torin Douglas
BBC media correspondent

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Sun hitting the newsstands. It’s a peculiarly British creation which has wielded tremendous power over the years, but is it finally showing its age?
It’s 40 years since the launch of the Sun - the most consistently influential British newspaper of modern times.

Yet the paper has been reluctant to celebrate the birthday - and with good reason.

Brief history of Page Three

For the Sun that was launched on 15 September 1964 was not the “super soaraway Sun” of the 70s, the Sun which rewrote the tabloid rulebook and “Wot Won It” for the Tories in the 1992 General Election.

In fact, the original Sun was launched partly to stop that sort of populist, right-wing paper and, ironically in hindsight, to protect the position of the established Labour tabloid, the Daily Mirror.

The 1964 Sun was a broadsheet with high aspirations and ideals, based on copious market research.

It billed itself as “the newspaper born of the age we live in”, and was designed to tap into the lifestyle changes of the 60s - the rise of the young and upwardly-mobile, including career-oriented women.

Unashamedly downmarket

The broadsheet Sun was launched by IPC to replace the Daily Herald, a trade union broadsheet making big losses.


1964 - launched as broadsheet based on Daily Herald
1969 - New owner Rupert Murdoch launches tabloid
1970 - After 12 months, Page Three girls remove tops
1978 - Sales of four million overtake the Mirror’s
1982 - ‘Gotcha’ headline marks sinking of Belgrano
1989 - Hillsborough disaster
1992 - It’s ‘The Sun Wot Won It’ for John Major
1997 - The Sun backs Blair

Because IPC also owned the left-of-centre Daily Mirror - then Britain’s most successful tabloid, with almost 5 million sales - it didn’t want to launch a head-on competitor.

But the losses continued and in 1969 the Sun was sold to Rupert Murdoch, who relaunched it as a brash, unashamedly downmarket tabloid.

Under its first editor, Larry Lamb, it followed a popular formula - sex, sport and sensation.

It wasn’t new, but the Sun went further than its rivals. When it ran a picture of a topless girl, later putting it on Page 3, a social institution was born.

Frivolous content

Fulfilling the adage that no one went broke underestimating the taste of the public, the Sun’s sales soared, while those of the Mirror - which had started to take itself rather seriously, with a pull-out analysis section called ‘Mirrorscope’ - fell away.

In 1978 the Sun overtook the Mirror to become Britain’s biggest-selling daily paper - and it also became the most influential, setting an irreverent tabloid agenda that was to rub off both on broadsheets and broadcasters in years to come.

The papers’ political leanings have wielded great influence

Despite its predominantly frivolous content, the Sun also acquired significant political influence, thanks to its penetration of the all-important C2 voters (the skilled working class).

It took political reporting and comment seriously, and at the General Election of 1979, it helped Margaret Thatcher sweep the Conservatives to power.

The Sun hadn’t always been Conservative. It proclaimed no allegiance, preferring to describe itself simply as ‘radical’.

In the 1970 election it had supported the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

When he lost unexpectedly, it switched its support to his Tory successor Ted Heath, later losing faith with both sides.

But in Mrs Thatcher it found a true radical, backing her to the hilt as she vowed to take on the trade unions.

It was Larry Lamb who came up with the headline ‘Winter of Discontent’ to sum up the strikes that dogged the Labour Government and on polling day in 1979 the Sun came out firmly for the Tories.

Lamb was rewarded with a knighthood in the New Year Honours List.

Belligerent note

Another, very different editor embodied the Sun in its heyday - the legendary Kelvin McKenzie.

In the Thatcherite 80s, the paper struck a harsher, more belligerent note. McKenzie dominated the paper with his energy and flair for a story and a headline, constantly administering “bollockings” to those staff who failed to meet his demanding standards.

During the Falklands War, the Sun became a cheerleader for Mrs Thatcher with headlines such as “Stick it up your Junta” and, after the sinking of the General Belgrano, “GOTCHA”.

Even McKenzie acknowledged that this headline went too far, removing it in later editions.

But his biggest misjudgement - for which the Sun was still apologising earlier this year - was over the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989 in which 96 football fans died.

The paper claimed Liverpool fans had picked the pockets of victims and beaten up a policeman. There was an immediate boycott and sales in the city have still not fully recovered.

Commercial sales

In the 1992 election campaign, the Sun ruthlessly ridiculed the Labour leader Neil Kinnock and McKenzie later claimed it was the “the Sun wot won it” for John Major.

During the Falklands War the paper backed Thatcher

Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell decided that if Labour were ever to win, they must at least neutralise the paper. They succeeded beyond their hopes, winning its backing both in 1997 and 2001.

Yet in recent years the Sun has lost much of its confidence and its instinctive ability to make a splash, unlike its sister paper the News of the World.

The Mirror’s Piers Morgan - until his recent departure - was the editor grabbing the exclusives, even though that didn’t translate into sales and commercial success.

Rebekah Wade, the current Sun editor, has yet to make a similar mark.

The Sun comfortably outsells the Mirror and remains hugely profitable.

But its sales are down more than 5% year-on-year, and since it found itself in the new Labour camp, its heart has not really seemed in it.

It backed Blair on Iraq but remains fervently anti-Europe, and can’t bring itself to love the new Tory leadership.

Forty years on, the brash young upstart is showing its age.

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Hi Alan,

Thanks for posting that interesting article, now it’s clear where the term soaraway Sun stems from. And this also gives us an idea of how the British opinion moulding machine works.


Just added a ‘u’ in moulding


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Alan, thank you very much for your post!

Hi Alan,
Thanks for putting it right. Molding and moulding can be easily confused. Actually, my dictionary says that moulding is British. Is molding the American version of moulding?

Hi Andreana,

You’re absolutely right - it’s the American spelling. With apologies to you and my American cousins.


Hi Alan, no need to apologize. Now the difference between molding and moulding has become clear to me too which is good. Incidentally, how popular is the term opinion moulding machine in the UK? I’ve googled the phrase there were no results. Then I tried opinion molding machine and this produced only very few results too.

Hi Andreana,

I can’t say I’d heard of that expression before but it struck me as an interesting construction. To be honest I think the word shape is more common. This is used in the phrase: shaping public opinion. But whatever - I like new constructions as that’s the beauty of a living language, don’t you think.

as ever