Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Oxymoron: Conservative Rock-and-Roll

John J. Miller over at the National Review has a list of the top 50 conservative rock songs (the only 50 conservative rock songs). Here are the 5 he gets right and the 5 he gets wrong.


1. Taxman by the Beatles--"Let me tell you how it will be; There's one for you, nineteen for me. ... Should five per cent appear too small, Be thankful I don't take it all." I'd say the confiscatorily progressive British income tax of the mid-60s hit the Liverpool lads pretty hard. The late George Harrison wrote this gem early on.

2. 20th Century Man by the Kinks--from the too often overlooked Muswell Hillbillies album (Skin and Bone is another favorite song thereon), Ray Davies is dead on with his complaints about socialist tending Britain. "I was born in a welfare state Ruled by bureaucracy Controlled by civil servants And people dressed in grey Got no privacy, got no liberty. 'Caus the twentieth century people Took it all away from me."

3. Neighborhood Bully by Bob Dylan--is pro Israel. Need I say more? "Well, he's surrounded by pacifists who all want peace, They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease. Now, they wouldn't hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep. They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep. He's the neighborhood bully."

4. Get Over It by the Eagles--might actually be just anti-southern California but it's good anti-southern California. "You drag it around like a ball and chain You wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown Got your mind in the gutter, bringin' everybody down Complain about the present and blame it on the past I'd like to find your inner child and kick its little ass. Get over it Get over it. All this bitchin' and moanin' and pitchin' a fit Get over it, get over it."

5. Don't Tread on Me by Metallica--"to secure peace is to prepare for war." Straight and to the point American mainstream martial thinking. And the title has a long, noble pedigree, too.


1. The Battle of Evermore by Led Zeppelin--don't get me wrong, this is a great song, with supporting vocals by the late Sandy Denny, but it has the political content of an apple. "The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath, The drums will shake the castle wall, the ringwraiths ride in black, Ride on. Sing as you raise your bow, shoot straighter than before. No comfort has the fire at night that lights the face so cold. Oh dance in the dark of night, Sing to the morning light. The magic runes are writ in gold to bring the balance back. Bring it back. At last the sun is shining, The clouds of blue roll by, With flames from the dragon of darkness, the sunlight blinds his eyes." This is just warmed over Lord of the Rings.

2. Der Kommissar by Falco-- is as apolitical a song ever sung in German (and English) about a black whore in Berlin. Pass auf: "Ja, sie war jung, Das Herz so rein und weiß Und jede Nacht hat ihren Preis, Sie sagt: “Sugar Sweet, Ya got me rappin' to the heat!” Ich verstehe, sie ist heiß. Sie sagt: “Baby, you know, I miss my funky friends,” Sie meint Jack und Joe und Jill. Mein Funkverständnis" (trans.) Yes, she was young, the heart so clean and white and ever night had your price. She said, "Sugar Sweet, Ya got me rappin' to the heat!” I understand, she is hot, she said, "Baby, you know, I miss my funky friends," She meant Jack and Joe and Jill. My funk understanding.

3. Won't Get Fooled Again by the Who--again a great song, but I'm seriously doubting it has any conservative political content, despite its attempt to be a political song. "I'll move myself and my family aside If we happen to be left half alive I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky For I know that the hypnotized never lie Do ya? Yeah! There's nothing in the street Looks any different to me And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye And the party on the left Is now the party on the right And the beards have all grown longer overnight."

4. Cult of Personality by In Living Colour--I love this song, and I play it very loud often, but I can't find any conservative values in it: "Neon lights, A Nobel Prize The mirror speaks, the reflection lies You don't have to follow me Only you can set me free I sell the things you need to be I'm the smiling face on your T.V. I'm the Cult of Personality I exploit you still you love me." At best this is pseudointellectual dissatisfaction with fame.

5. Keep Your Hands to Yourself by the Georgia Satellites--do you really think that the singer is celebrating the fact that his girl won't have sex with him before marriage? That's when she told me a story 'bout free milk and a cow" and "you see I wanted her real bad and I was about to give in that's when she started talkin' true love started talkin' about sin" Any mention of a wedding happening in the song?


great assesments.......

Mark Dunn
Indeed, for the most part, being a conservative and rock 'n roll are mutually exclusive. There are exceptions and so, me, of all people, will take a few minutes to pay tribute to Harvey Leroy "Lee" Atwater. February 2, 1951 -March 29, 1991.

Known to his Democratic adversaries as "the Darth Vader of the Republican party," Lee Atwater was a trusted advisor of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Lee Atwater was a close friend and political mentor of Karl Rove. He is notorious for bringing attack politics to new theretofore unprecedented nadirs.

He died of a brain tumor. Shortly b/f his death he converted to Catholicism and wrote a number of apologies to his targets including Michael Dukakis and Tom Turnipseed. He also wote a piece that appeared in Life magazine which stated, inter alia: "My illness helped me to see that was was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood."

Lee Atwater enjoyed close ties to the R&B community. He released an album on Curb Records called "Red, Hot, and Blue" featuring himself with Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes, Sam Moore, Chuck Jackson, and B.B. King.

Many of us remember Percy Sledge's 1966 release "When a Man Loves a Woman," which was part of the soundtrack of the 1983 movie, "The Big Chill." Lee Atwater was playing guitar on that track.

If there is an afterlife, I am certain that Mr. Atwater is spending eternity playing music rather than practicing politics.

That is an interesting set of fcats....Thanks !

Mark Dunn
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