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November 16, 2005

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They sentenced me to 20 years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I'm coming now, I'm coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin!

I'm guided by a signal from the heavens
I'm guided by this birthmark on my skin
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin!

Leonard Cohen.
Ahhhhhh...

It will only drive you insane
You can't shake it (or break it) with your Motown
You can't melt it down in the rain

By the way, hilzoy, I appreciate your having paged me on this but after the self-parodying of Toby Keith's smash hit "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" (which includes anthematic unforgetables like "We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way..."), I'm just not equal to the creative task.

I can't believe I forgot "The revolution will not be televised."

I love Dick Gaughan's performance of Companeros, but I realize that a song glorifying the Cuban Revolution may not be to everyone's taste.

"The fire lit on that Cuban beach by Fidel Castro
Shines all the way to Tierra del Fuego
Its sparks are blown upon the breeze
And men rise up from off their knees
When they see the night is burning
It blazes up in Venezuela, Bolivia and Guatemala
Lights the road that men must go in order to be free

On compañeros, Americanos!
For a peoples' free America
Fidel has shown the way with Che Guevara"

I'm not sure I'd try to defend that as a political sentiment but it's a glorious song.

Actually Ewan MacColl has written some wonderful political songs. "My Old Man," "Looking For a Job," "Nobody Knew She Was There."

More political music I'm surprised no one's mentioned yet:

Midnight Oil
KRS-One
Billy Bragg
Bad Religion
The Living End (okay, I'm not really surprised no one else has mentioned them)
Beastie Boys

"Music that's directly political is almost uniformly awful, except The Clash,"

You mean you're one of the few people who actually *like* Sandanista?

"and really, who could understand Joe Strummer's singing, anyway?"

Well, on the political front (apologies for UK-centric nature:

The Smiths.
Elvis Costello (thinking especially of his song to Margaret Thatcher: "Tramp the Dirt Down").
Billy Bragg (including the covers of Woody Guthrie he did with Wilco).
Screaming Blue Messiahs (such as "I can speak American")
Gang of Four (Inexplicably going through a popular revival now. For chrissakes, one of their most popular songs had a Joseph Conrad quote as its chorus. Not lowbrow stuff this.)
Black Flag.
Dead Kennedys.
Fugazi.

Seeing as we've got a few Hawkwind fans around, how about their "Reefer Madness" song as a parody of drug war hysteria?

Had a hard time thinking of right-leaning songs songs, but how about Lennon & McCartney's "Taxman". Any others?

"More political music I'm surprised no one's mentioned yet:

KRS-One
Beastie Boys"

Public Enemy?
Age of Chance?

Anyone who can sit and listen to Plastic Ono Band and Sometime In New York City and dismiss them as coming from the head and heart of a smitten "contented artist" . . . is not listening to the same albums I am. They're listening to them on 45rpm or something.

I would think that the entire Oi!/skinhead punk movement qualifies as "right-wing" rock, but that's a little extreme. To the extent that Country is The New Rock, Montgomery Gentry and Toby Keith are the best examples.

Small correction..."Taxman" was actually written and sung by George Harrison (you can check

oops- what happened to the tag?

I'm left with no choice nut to bleed from this thread to the Victory one . . .

Slarti: since this situation MUST be rectified, I have posted it here, along with another great political song which will either annoy or amuse Sebastian, and whose subject I defy anyone to guess until, well, the words start.

xanax: I have yet to meet the creative task to which your talents are unequal ;)

Yes, "Taxman" by Harrison, but McCartney came up with and played the guitar riff.

Harrison was a bit of a curmudgeon when it came to money, and besides, the Beatle tax rate was 99% then in Britain.

I notice though that didn't stop the four entrepreneurial lads from seeking and hitting the big time and making lots of dough. I mean, Paul didn't say to John "Hey,
let's not do Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever, because we are feeling disincentivized, aren't we now?"

Just in case Kudlow is going to show up and tell me he's not going to work until a flat tax of zero becomes reality.

Phil:

I knew someone would call me on Lennon during that time. In his case, I think his misery got in the way of good songs, though I like some of the raw stuff during that period. He substituted angst for politics with a soupcon of heroin. "Somewhere in New York" is inferior, in my opinion.

I liked it better when he was ticked off at the girl and her parents in "No Reply" then when he thought John Sinclair needed a break, even if he might have needed the break.

But, you got me.

Thumbs up to the Mr. T Experience. I had a nice chat with Dr. Frank before a show in Berkeley (I had no idea who he was for about the first half hour) and then again in Dayton Ohio before a show a few months later, and he thanked me during the show for going all the way to Berkeley to see them the first time. Also, their cover of "Up and Down" was my theme song for a while during my college DJ years.

Political but good: Randy Newman, _Good Old Boys_ and _Sail Away_.

Ted

I mostly agree with you, John -- the politics of . . . New York City are lazy politics, although I think that of his songs of that period, "John Sinclair" approaches some of his playful White Album-era stuff, and I admire the provocativeness of "Woman is the Nigger of the World" while being disappointed in its clumsiness.

But when solo-era Lennon didhit, he hit it out of the freakin' park. So did Paul. And George.

Me, I'm interested in hearing more about this band you're in. My band is in the throes of dissolution, as all the members save me have recently become parents.

Damn it, I *love* "Sandinista"! OK, it's self-indulgent and sloppy (and so am I) but it's *fun*. And making it a triple-lp fulfilled contractual obligations ;-) Combat Rock OTOH is more like Poseur Guerrilla Rock.

Hey Gary, if you haven't heard Patti Smith's Trampin', it really is very very good. I passed by her 80's/90's. And to be topical, there are songs called Gandhi and Radio Baghdad on it...

Magneto and Titanium Man. Damn, I have to get that CD. I suppose I'm the only person in the world to like "Wild Life", though.

Bob Marley. I may disagree about the cosmic significance of H. Selassie (listen to "War" though) or herbal sacraments, but Bob can make you get up stand up in righteousness and smite thine enemies in the name of humanity.

"Revolution"? Don't you know you can count me in/out?

Change is Gonna Come. One of the best political songs ever. Listen to Neville Bros version over Katrina videos.

Talking Heads were prescient: go listen to Life During Wartime and Listening Wind.

That "nyah nyah nyah nya nyaah nyaah" guitar lick after they sing "Bush was right!" is pretty funny.

Best sociopolitical critique record: Entertainment! by Gang of Four.

And Minutemen, Minutemen, Minutemen ...

Maybe that thread cross should've been "you're so vain . . ."

OK, on topic: late December 1989 Nena singing Wunder Gescheh'n at the Brandenburg Gate. Peter Rowan celebrating the 500th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage with Awake Me in the New World.

CharleyCarp: the personage to whom I imagine you refer prompts many rather uncharitable impulses in me that let me practice strength of will, and the impulse to add that very song to my recent .mac page was one of them...

btw, I think you might like 'Our Side Won', which I put up.

Listening Wind

prescient. yes.

also see The The's Armageddon days are here again:

    They’re 5 miles high as the crow flies
    Leavin’ vapour trails against a blood red sky
    Movin’ in from the east toward the west
    With balaclava helmets over their heads, yes!

    But if you think that jesus christ is coming
    Honey you’ve got another thing coming
    If he ever finds out who’s hi-jacked his name
    He’ll cut out his heart and turn in his grave

    Islam is rising
    The christians mobilising
    The world is on it’s elbows and knees
    It’s forgotten the message and worships the creeds

    It’s war, she cried, it’s war, she cried, this is war
    Drop your possessions, all you simple folk
    You will fight them on the beaches in your underclothes
    You will thank the good lord for raising the union jack
    You’ll watch the ships out of harbour
    And the bodies come floating back

    If the real jesus christ were to stand up today
    He’d be gunned down by the c.i.a.
    Oh, the lights that now burn brightest behind stained glass
    Will cast the darkest shadows upon the human heart
    But God didn’t build himself that throne
    God doesn’t live in israel or rome
    God belong to the yankee dollar
    God doesn’t plant the bombs for hezbollah
    God doesn’t even go to church
    And God won’t send us down to allah to burn
    No, God will remind us what we already know
    That the human race is about to reap what it’s sown

    The world is on it’s elbows and knees
    It’s forgotten the message and worships the creeds
    Armageddon days are here again

(1989 ?)

Oh, The Right Brothers just get funnier and funnier. Don't miss the others like "Trickle Down"

If the rich man didn't spend his cash on cars and boats and planes
There'd be a lot of average Joe's out of work today
His dollar helps America's economy to thrive
The rich man keeps the working man working and alive

Somehow the NIN song 'Head Like a Hole' comes to mind

John Thullen: Harrison was a bit of a curmudgeon when it came to money, and besides, the Beatle tax rate was 99% then in Britain.

I notice though that didn't stop the four entrepreneurial lads from seeking and hitting the big time and making lots of dough. I mean, Paul didn't say to John "Hey,
let's not do Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever, because we are feeling disincentivized, aren't we now?"

Though, isn't this why the created Apple Corps?

For you youngsters, this is originally topical, but easily applies well beyond Altamont.


Please don't dominate the rap Jack
if you got nothing new to say
If you please don't back up the track
This train got to run today

Spent a little time on the mountain
Spent a little time on the hill
Heard some say better run away
Others say you better stand still

Now I don't know but I been told
it's hard to run with the weight of gold
Other hand I heard it said
it's just as hard with the weight of lead

Who can deny? Who can deny?
it's not just a change in style
One step done and another begun
in I wonder how many miles?

Spent a little time on the mountain
Spent a little time on the hill
Things went down we don't understand
but I think in time we will

Now I don't know but I been told
in the heat of the sun a man died of cold
Do we keep on coming or stand and wait
with the sun so dark and the hour so late?

You can't overlook the lack Jack
of any other highway to ride
It's got no signs or dividing lines
and very few rules to guide

Spent a little time on the mountain
Spent a little time on the hill
I saw things getting out of hand
I guess they always will

I don't know but I been told
if the horse don't pull you got to carry the load
I don't know whose back's that strong
Maybe find out before too long

One way or another
One way or another
One way or another
this darkness got to give
One way or another
One way or another
One way or another
this darkness got to give


The Smiths.

Oh, good grief. The Smiths were good except for Morrissey, whose whining lyrics were only abated by Johnny Marr's guitar in How Soon Is Now; his solo stuff is crap. Well, maybe not crap, but unappealing to the unselfpitying crowd.

Cleek, looks as if you and I have nearly the same music collection. Odd as it seems.

The The. Good stuff. All right fellas...let's gooooo!

Gromit:

I suspect the Beatles' "people" advised creating Apple Corps for the tax benefits, but I don't know.

However, according to John Lennon at the press conference in New York with Paul after kicking Apple off, he said the reason they created the company was, to paraphrase, to give artists of all types a place to have their work at least considered without crawling on their hands and knees and groveling for attention in someone's office..... (this last directed to the assembled press): "Probably yours."

Of course, John Lennon was also the guy who, with Yoko, would show up in a stretch limo for a hunger strike in support of the starving wretches of the world.

Of course, the whole thing was a mess.
Much was simply stolen, including the office equipment.

The rest is history.

Phil: I'll reveal more about the band when the CD is done, but thanks for asking. I will say that we did a cover of "You Know My Name, Look Up The Number", which in my obviously not very humble opinion is one of the best Beatle covers ever. Played locally on the radio. It was a Lennon novelty song; the B-side of Let It Be; we arranged it with three-part harmony into, I guess, a love song.

Identical lyrics which are: "You Know My Name, Look Up The Number", repeated throughout.

Music that's directly political is almost uniformly awful, except The Clash,

Wow. The Clash is great. Their first (US) LP is the first record (by which I mean record) I ever bought. But you know, to dismiss a huge mass of punk, rap, reggae, and folk music as "uniformly awful"...that's sad. You missed out on a lot of good music, apparently.

and really, who could understand Joe Strummer's singing, anyway?

If you spent the extra bucks on the promo of their first one, it came with a lyrics sheet. As did London Calling. It was, of course, fun to make up your own lyrics as you went along. But "I'm so bored with the USA" was pretty easy to decipher. As was "White riot, I wanna riot, white riot, a riot of my own".

Cleek, looks as if you and I have nearly the same music collection. Odd as it seems

just a wild guess... you're 35, give or take?

just a wild guess... you're 35, give or take?

Give. Give about nine years.

"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll."

"Ok, scratch that: now I can see it, but still never hoid a it."

In the ranks of Dylan's second-most-famous songs. Also famous as a civil rights song, to those familiar with the civil rights struggle in the U.S.

This article was much discussed in February. (I thought I'd blogged it, but apparently didn't.) I highly commend it to all, and perhaps you may remember Hattie Carroll in the future.

Harrison was a bit of a curmudgeon when it came to money, and besides, the Beatle tax rate was 99% then in Britain.

I notice though that didn't stop the four entrepreneurial lads from seeking and hitting the big time and making lots of dough.

True, but as a "liberal," I think rates that high are crazy, and certainly do disincentivize too many people from doing too many things (hell, those rates are why Churchill didn't write his WWII memoirs until he could figure out a dodge around it).

I'd start to get uncomfortable with rates going higher than 40-something percent, and very doubtful about there ever going over 50 percent. Over 80 percent, even for the highest level of top income seems almost impossible to justify to me unless the existence of the country is at stake somehow. Admittedly this is pretty much a matter of gut feeling more than something I can easily factually support.

"Wow. The Clash is great."

Absolutely. And it's not their fault that most people don't seem to know who wrote, or first performed, "I Fought The Law." (Sonny Curtis is still kicking, even if Buddy Holly is sadly underappreciated these days.)

Give about nine years

heh. so much for that theory.

Beatle tax rate was 99% then in Britain.

I thought 95% ("One for you, nineteen for me..."). But whichever, it does seem awfully high.


I rather like Iris Dement's "Wasteland of the Free"; the cringeworthy moments are particularly outweighed by the slam on (I believe) Pat Robertson referring to his sketchy Africa dealings.

Plus, Iris usually sounds like a little old-timey country singer, and it's neat to hear her trying to rock out and be tough.

"I thought 95% ("One for you, nineteen for me..."). But whichever, it does seem awfully high.

So, naturally, they gave the next 4.5% to the Maharishi so he could accumulate more Rolls Royces.

99%..95%...39.7%...35%...20%,....1%...

By every Republican candidate's current standards, they all seem awfully high, not to mention highly awful.

You may be right.

Maybe the Kinks paid only 95% (marginal).

Freddie and the Dreamers never made it that high.

Incidentally, but related: I've always found it fascinating that the Beatles (particularly John Lennon) are the one Sixties pop icon who are pretty much immune to the cultural demonization of that entire catastrophic (to the moralists on the Right)turn in the culture.

This, despite plenty of criticism at the time (Lennon's misunderstood comments regarding Christ) and their perceived position as the Pied Pipers leading the youth of the time to the land of sexdrugsandrockandroll.

Instead, years ago I heard "Taxman" on the Limbaugh show. It would have taken George Harrison five minutes max with Rush on his show to tie Limbaugh into ideological knots with the rapier Beatle humor.

Limbaugh got a little closer to the truth when his housekeeper sang "I'd love to turn you on" into his tin ear.

"Limbaugh got a little closer to the truth when his housekeeper sang 'I'd love to turn you on' into his tin ear."

I doubt Limbaugh has much respect for foreigners. He's an American!

I'm sure he's much fonder of getting "Eight Miles High."

Slartibartfast: Give. Give about nine years.

Infant.

Now, now, little children!

Slartibartfast: Give. Give about nine years.

Infant.

Um...what I meant was, you're off by about nine years on the low side. Typical Slartibartfastian lack of clarity is still in effect.

IOW, in case the above was even less unconfusing, I'm 44.

hey....does anyone remember WE DIDN'T START THE FIRE parody about seattle? in the early 90's?

Mohamed is fucking a pig.Jesus is watching masturbating Jesus is cumming agh, agh, agh, euerrgh!
Oh yeah, oh yeah yeyeyeyeye yeah babe
You know you want to like it, are you afraid ??

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