Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Greatest Liberal Rock Songs (Revised & Updated, with Readers' Picks)

Now that someone has put together the list of the Fifty Greatest Conservative Rock Songs, someone ought to do a list of the greatest liberal rock songs. Since I have an hour to kill, I think I'll give it a whirl.

Perhaps, as R.J. Eskow argued (see yesterday’s post), this is unnecessary, since all rock music is by definition liberal. It is liberal because, according to him, it “raises blood pressure, stimulates adrenaline, [and] creates sexual stimulation and physical aggression.”

Of course, I disagree with Eskow. Nevertheless, even if we were to stipulate that all rock music is liberal, still, some is obviously more liberal than the rest. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of rock music, at least until recently, was surprisingly apolitical -- or at least the politics was implicit and ambiguous, such as in Bob Dylan’s best work (very early on he saw through the left and stopped writing the kind of tedious and didactic songs they enjoy, such as Masters of War).

It’s true that when there is an explicit political message in rock music, it is virtually always from the left. In fact, this is what makes the songs so unartful, ham-handed, and generally lame. It is what makes them so wince-worthy. As we have discussed before, there is a vast difference between art and didacticism, the latter being a form of pornography.

In no particular order, I’m just going to rely upon my memory to call up some of the greatest liberal songs of all time. The list will obviously be incomplete, and readers are welcome to add to it with suggestions of their own.

The first song that comes to mind is War, by Edwin Starr. Although it is now over 35 years old, it still expresses the universal leftist sentiment about the military and about the need to defend ourselves from evil. In fact, the king of moonbat rockers, Bruce Springsteen, has taken to singing it in concert. Its boneheaded lyric asks the famous question,

What is it good for?

The answer, of course, being absolutely nothing! (say it again, y’all!).

For the left, the problem is never the existence of evil. They scoff at that unsophisticated notion. Rather, it is the existence of people who fight it. For war itself “is an enemy to all mankind.” It “can't give life, it can only take it away!,” as every Jew who survived the Holocaust or every Kurd who escaped Saddam’s torture chambers knows.

They say we must fight to keep our freedom,
But Lord knows there's got to be a better way.

Sure there’s a better way. As the girl who spoke at the New School commencement put it last week, “We have nothing to fear from anyone on this living planet.... We can change the universe by being who we are.... it really is just that simple.” It seems to me that this approach has a long way to go before it can even be considered simplistic, let alone simple.

Even before Neil Young, there were America-bashing Canuckleheads making an extravagant living by attacking the country that makes their frivolous lives possible. American Woman, by the Guess Who, expresses sentiments that are still widely shared by our leftist friends to the north, who, in a recent poll, ranked the United States as the most dangerous country on earth:

American woman, said get away...
Don’t come hangin’ around my door
Don’t wanna see your face no more
I don’t need your war machines
I don’t need your ghetto scenes
Colored lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else’s eyes
Now woman, get away from me
American woman, mama let me be.

Of course, not all Canadians share the sentiments of their their pinheaded elites. I am told that normal Canadians who live outside the major cities, especially in the western provinces, are much more appreciative of the security and prosperity made possible by the United States. They know that the American “war machine” actually shoulders their share of the world’s defense, so their government can waste money on other things.

But leftist elites have always had trouble relating to the middle class. Secretly they have contempt for the middle class, whom they regard as clueless boobs for not being default leftists. They just can’t figure out why a middle class American would ever vote Republican, since Democrat elites know what is best for them. The song Pleasant Valley Sunday, written by Carol King, mockingly expressed the contempt that leftist superbians feel for suburban Americans who are not bitter activists and who simply want to enjoy their lives:

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care

See Mrs. Gray she's proud today because her roses are in bloom
Mr. Green he's so serene, he's got a TV in every room

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land...

Creature comfort goals
They only numb my soul...

Carol King is a wonderful songwriter, one of the greatest ever. But give me a break with the "creature comforts." I think she owns a village in Idaho.

Of course, a major theme of contemporary liberalism is gender identity confusion. For this reason, I have chosen I’m a Boy, by the Who, which expresses the anger and confusion of a child whose mother is obviously a doctrinaire feminist who believes that sexual differences are simply cultural constructs:

I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But my ma won't admit it
I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But if I say I am, I get it!

Remember “The Eve of Destruction,” by Barry McGuire? Liberals like to make fun of fringe religious groups that predict the end of the world, and rightfully so. But hysterical mainstream liberals have been predicting the end of the world since I was a little kid, whether it's alar in apples or nuclear power plants or giving toy guns to boys. In the 1980s it was global cooling. Liberal scientists were unanimous that the world was catastrophically cooling as a result of manmade influences. It was even on the cover of Time and Newsweek. Now they unanimously agree (except for the ones who don’t) that the world is catastrophically warming.

For the hysterical left, it’s always the Eve of Destruction, like with Al Gore's new movie, which is the feel-bad hit of the summer:

Al Gore’s mind, it is implodin’
Penguins dyin’, cities floatin’
If cars are so bad, how come he isn't strollin’?
He don’t believe in oil, but what's that SUV he's rollin'?

What is it with the left’s perennial fascination with authoritarian regimes, whether Castro, or Arafat, or the Sandinistas? In “Washington Bullets,” the Clash sang,

For the very first time ever,
When they had a revolution in Nicaragua,
There was no interference from America
Human rights in America

Yup, for the first time, human rights in America. For the left, it’s a topsy-turvy world. Because of their anger at America, it causes them to ally themselves with anyone who opposes America. For example, the other day, leftist heavyweight intellectual Noam Chomsky, who was also a champion of the totalitarian Sandinistas, argued that the policies of Hamas were “more conducive to a peaceful settlement than those of the United States or Israel”.

It’s like the criminals are the good guys and the police are the bad guys. That’s what Eric Burdon sang in “San Franciscan Nights”:

Cop's face is filled with hate
Heavens above,
He's on a street called "Love"
When will they ever learn?

Cops. Selfish bastards. They’re nothing at all like the beautiful people of the left. As Joanie Mitchell put it in “Woodstock,”

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Yes, that would be the same reality-based garden where we have nothing to fear from a single person on this planet. Even if he wants to blow up the garden.

I’ll admit it, when I was in high school and had a devastating crush on Suzie Campbell, who sat next to me in biology class, I didn’t really get “Love the One You’re With.” Sure, it sounds good on paper, but unless you’re a rock star with groupies at your feet, or a President with interns under your desk, how do you get the opposite person of the complementary gender to cooperate?

If you're down and confused

Yes, that would be me.

Concentration slips away

Exactly! How did he know?

Don't be angry, don't be sad
Don't sit cryin' over good times you had
There's a girl, right next to you
And she's just waiting for something to do

Right on, dude!

Turn your heartache right into joy
She's a girl, and you're a boy
So get it together, make it nice
You ain't gonna need, any more advice

Wait! Don’t go away! I think I do need some more advice!

If you can't be with the one you love,
Love the one you're with
Love the one you're with
Love the one you’re with

Stop taunting me!

Like I said, there are surprisingly few explicitly political rock songs, but there are a number of repeat offenders such as John Lennon, David Crosby and Graham Nash. Nash is another guy who doesn’t see evil as the problem. Rather, it’s the military. In Military Madness, he sang,

In an upstairs room in Blackpool
By the side of a northern sea
The army had my father
And my mother was having me
Military Madness was killing my country

Not nazi madness, totalitarian madness, anti-Semitic madness, Islamo-fascist madness. Just “military madness.” And as we already know from Edwin Starr, war itself is evil. It can’t give life, it can only take it away. Presumably, Nash's father was insane for fighting the nazis:

And after the wars are over
And the body count is finally filed
I hope that The Man discovers
What’s driving the people wild
Military madness is killing your country

Similarly, Donovan, in The Universal Soldier (written by Buffy Saint Marie), blamed the individual GI:

He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.

Such a terminally adolescent view of the world. Perhaps the Doors, in their epic, The End, touched on the reasons for this pervasive developmental arrest:

Father, yes son, I want to kill you.
Mother... I want to... f*** you!!!!!!

I think I can sum up liberalism with just a few more anthems. First, as John Lennon observed, All You Need is Love. Just don’t ask for details of how this would work in practice. For if you read dailykos or huffingtonpost or listen to Air America, you immediately realize that the Who were correct: I Can’t Explain. Why? Because, as Morris Albert crooned, liberalism is based upon Feelings, nothing more than feelings...

Still, what does it hurt to live in a parallel reality-based world? The number one liberal anthem, as always, is Imagine:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing John's brownstone

I don’t know... I imagine other things...

Imagine no Islamists
It isn’t hard to do
No damn bin Laden
And no Zarqawi too
Imagine all the people
Living in the same century....


The readers speak:

"One Tin Soldier," from the movie Billy Jack
"Sky Pilot," by Eric Burdon
"Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag," by Country Joe and the Fish (Also, let's not forget the brilliant "Fish Cheer" at Woodstock)
"The Flower Children," by Marcia Strassman
"San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)," by Scott McKenzie
"At Seventeen," by Janis Ian
"I Got You Babe," by recovered liberal Sonny & terminal case Cher
"When the Music's Over" and "Five to One," by the Doors
"Street Fighting Man," by the Strolling Bones
"Get Together," by the Youngbloods
"God Save the Queen (The Fascist Regime)," by the Sex Pistols
Rage Against the Machine, Their Entire Angry Corpus
"Little Boxes," I believe written by Malvina Reynolds
"American Skin--41 Shots," Bruce Springsteen (try getting past his security & see what happens)
"Woman Is The N-Word Of The World," by John Lennon (who would be the first to admit that he had some major issues with abusing women)

There were some obvious ones I purposely left off the list, such as:
"Give Peace a Chance," by John Lennon (who was, not coincidentally, giving heroin a chance when he wrote it)
"Almost Cut My Hair," by crackhead felon David Crosby (with CSNY)
"Long Time Gone," by felonious crackhead David Crosby (with CSN)


mrp said...

If "Imagine" counts as Rock, then I'd like to submit for consideration "One Tin Soldier" from the movie Billy Jack .

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can think of a few songs off hand, but I don't remember the titles, or who recorded them. A few I do remember:
How can we leave out "Sky Pilot" by Eric Burdon. And who can forget "The Feel Like I'm Fixin To Die Rag" by Country Joe and the Fish? (pity, because I still like the rest of that album)
There was that maudlin anthem entitled "The Flower Children" The flower children/ are blooming everywhere/...Why can't we just love them?/ They just want to be free...
And of couse Scott McKenzie "If You're Going to San Francisco (be sure to wear some flowers in your hair)
So many crappy songs...
I expect Will is going to have a few for the list.. ;)


Anonymous said...

My nominations for Lefty rock classics (admittedly, I'm stretching the definition of "rock" a bit thin):

"At Seventeen," by Janis Ian (weepy self-pity and collective victimhood-mongering as admirable traits);

"I Got You Babe," by Sonny & Cher (screw our parents and the practical demands of real life -- we're in LURRRRVE!)

"When the Music's Over," by the Doors (for decades, a favorite band of angst-ridden adolescents. This song is famed for the line, "We want the world and we want it NOW!" Honorable mention: "Five to One.")

"Street Fighting Man," by the Rolling Stones (the anthem of the 68ers, so much so that Tariq Ali adapted part of the title for his agitprop memoir.)

"Get Together," by the Youngbloods (hippie utopianism pesonified. Pretty song, with vapid sentiments.)

"God Save the Queen," by the Sex Pistols (the first big anthem of what would soon be a torrent of mindless, sneering, nihilistic iconclasm in pop culture.)

There are no doubt many, many more examples out there; these ones just came off the top of my head.

Gagdad Bob said...


You were obviously a fellow Boss Radio listener, because "The Flower Children," by Marcia Strassman (how could you forget?) was only a regional hit in L.A. and San Francisco, but didn't even crack the top 100 in the rest of the country.

Cowritten by L.A. deejay "Lord" Tim Hudson.

Anonymous said...

And one more addition to yesterday's "Conservative Rock" list: the entire MASS IN F MINOR album by the Electric Prunes. It's the high points of the Latin Rite Tridentine Catholic Mass set to vintage-1967 psychedelic fuzz rock.

Lisa said...

Hilarious! I just came across this at LGF and thought I would share. Here's how Ted Nugent deals with dopey libs!

I confess to a grudging respect for the system by which he governs his land, though I’m not sure I’d like to see his reign extended to the state of Michigan.

“What do these deer think when they see you coming?” I ask him. “Here comes the nice guy who puts out our dinner? Or, there’s the man that shot my brother?”

“I don’t think they’re capable of either of those thoughts, you Limey assh*le. They’re only interested in three things: the best place to eat, having sex and how quickly they can run away. Much like the French.”

“You wrote a song called ‘Dog Eat Dog’. You see the world like that. But we’re not dogs - that’s the trouble.”

“Remember the movie Old Yeller? Everybody loved him. He brought us our slippers. We gave him cookies. But when Old Yeller gets rabies, you shoot him in the f*cking head. It’s that simple.”

Anonymous said...

To hell with all these liberal songs, I can name you the greatest liberal BAND of all time:

Rage Against The Machine. Never wrote a song that wasn't politically motivated. Guitarist is the single most outspoken Marxist in the entire entertainment industry. Second album is called "The Evil Empire", for reasons that should be obvious to any ex-lefty with a sense of irony. Had two music videos directed by Michael Moore. Broke up when their singer/lyricist left for Mexico to hang out with the Zapatistas for a while.

The Sex Pistols may have been the genesis of nihileftist twaddle in popular music, but Rage Against Etc. is its ABSOLUTE FREAKING EPITOME. Any attempt to catalogue the Left's crimes against art is de facto incomplete without them.

Anonymous said...

And in an ironic sense, Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta" may sum up the college-lefty mindset more succinctly than any other song.


I had visions, I was in them, I was looking into the mirror
To see a little bit clearer
The rottenness and evil in me
Fingertips have memories, I can't forget the curves of your body
And when I feel a bit naughty
I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes
(But no one ever does)

I'm not sick, but I'm not well
and I'm so hot 'cause I'm in hell

Been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding
The cretins cloning and feeding
And I don't even own a TV
Put me in the hospital for nerves and then they had to commit me
You told them all I was crazy
They cut off my legs now I'm an amputee, Goddamn you

I'm not sick, but I'm not well
And I'm so hot cause I'm in hell
I'm not sick, but I'm not well
And it's a sin to live so well

I wanna publish 'zines
And rage against machines
I wanna pierce my tongue
It doesn't hurt, it feels fine
The trivial sublime
I'd like to turn off time
And kill my mind
You kill my mind

Paranoia, paranoia, everybody's comin' to get me
Just say you never met me
I'm runnin' underground with the moles, digging holes
Hearing voices in my head, I swear to God it sounds like they're snoring
But if you're bored then you're boring
The agony and the irony, they're killing me - well

I'm not sick, but I'm not well
And I'm so hot cause I'm in hell
I'm not sick, but I'm not well
And it's a sin to live this well

Anonymous said...


Ha! The first song that came to my mind was "If You're Going To San Francisco". Meaning if your destination was the perennial slum Haight-Asbury district, wow, get ready to taste the paradise, man. Where new forms of
clamidia were being forged daily and where Charles Manson was living at the time. Anyway, the sheer sickening-sweet awfulness of the song's melody was instant diabetes. You have to wonder how many lemmings across the USA that song drew to the cliffs.

Though not a rock song, Little Boxes sung by Pete Seeger was another ditty that nearly compelled me to smash my transistor radio against a tree.
Another example of the left's contempt for the middle class. I suppose Seeger would rather have everyone living in Hoovervilles, all the better for communal sing-alongs.

So many . . . I'm having a nightmare flashback . . . I'm just glad Hunter Thompson didn't take up songwriting . . .

OK, Springstein's vile "American Skin - 41 Shots" - don't like cops, eh, Bruce? Next time you're in trouble, call a hippie.

Yeah, Lennon was, for a while, a one-man compendium of lefty-oriented dreck. "Woman Is The N-Word Of The World" . . . enough . .

Must stabilize . . . .

Anonymous said...


Actually, "Little Boxes" was written and performed by another CPUSA folkie: Malvina Reynolds. If she were still alive, I wonder how she'd feel knowing that said boxes (Daly City, CA's suburban tract homes) are now mostly occupied by upwardly-mobile Filipino and Latino families, and fetch an average of a million dollars each on the overheated SF Bay Area real-estate market?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Little Boxes was composed by M Reynolds but in my '62 salad days, during the Great American Folk Scare, the Seeger version was oozing out of radios everywhere. At times, it seemed it was coming up from the sidewalks. Good ole Stalinist Pete never had it so good.

Anonymous said...

What was that one by Joni Mitchell about paving Paradise and putting up a parking lot?

Anonymous said...


I believe that was "California."

"Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone
They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot."

And I don't know which version of the song annoys me more, the one by Joni Mitchell or the one by Counting Crows.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget Neil Young's immortal "Revolutions Blues," which includes:

Yes, that was me with the doves,
setting them free near the factory
Where you built your computer, love.
I hope you get the connection,
'cause I can't take the rejection
I won't deceive you,
I just don't believe you.

Well, I'm a barrel of laughs,
with my carbine on
I keep 'em hoppin',
till my ammunition's gone.
But I'm still not happy,
I feel like there's something wrong.
I got the revolution blues,
I see bloody fountains,
And ten million dune buggies
comin' down the mountains.
Well, I hear that Laurel Canyon
is full of famous stars,
But I hate them worse than lepers
and I'll kill them in their cars.

Anonymous said...

Head reeling and feeling nauseated from lefty song recall?

Now there is something you can do about it.

Take the cure. Trust in music again.

Anonymous said...

my favorite non pornographic song from the heartland. Superhit country music stars Big and Rich's

"save a horse ride a cowboy"

and that socialist country hit

"take this job and shove it"

get a life dude

mrp said...

John Lennon as a "repeat" offender is spot on. I did a quick google search and found the lyrics to "Working Class Hero".

The last stanza:

There's room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me

Anonymous said...

from whence comes all your venom

It couldn't possibly come from the meditative disciplines you describe, me thinks more time is spent listening to the diatribes of talk radio types like Michael Savage.

pray tell the last time you joined benefits for famers like John Mellencamp, travelled the world to fight poverty like Bono. Spent time donating the proceeds of your services for any charity, campaigned against apartheid ???

just some of the activities of those pornographers

ever think of seekig a therapist to channel your anger towards productive activities ?

Anonymous said...

Ah yes:

That america hating John Mellencamp performing benefits and organizing farm aid


Bono circling the world fighting poverty and disease

and countless fellow pornographers performing in benefits for the poor and sick and instrumental in the fight against apartheid

and your pro bono services ?

seems you must spend far more time listening to the venom of the lkes of Hannity and Michael Savage rather than spiritual contemplation.

ever consider seeking a therapist to work through the origins of your dysfunctional anger and find a way to channel it to help others ?

Anonymous said...

Hey, we got us a genuine Shakespearean troll!

From whence, and me thinks
I'm impressed!
Next time try some punctuation marks and capital letters. And if you really want to be scary, throw in a few complete sentences too. Then we'll be really impressed.


Gagdad Bob said...


Whether or not they are misguided is a separate issue, but Bono's or Mellencamp's charitable activities are obviously one of the great privileges, not burdens, of such wealth. Any "normal" soul would do the same. It's just that most celebrities are not normal.

In any event, let us not minimize the spiritual benefit they derive from trying, however blindly, to do something to make their souls worthy of such undeserved riches. I imagine that my charitable giving, as a percentage of income, probably exceeds Bono, but that doesn't make me better than him. He does what he can.

Steve Burri said...

I was kinda thinkin', thinkin', thinkin' about that description of the depth of Leftist ideology... 'Yummy, yummy, yummy, I've got love in my tummy' by Ohio Express.

Anonymous said...


Don't you hate it when some guy that's a lot smarter than you are really pisses you off, and then you fantasize that he's as angry a guy as you are, just because he makes you angry? And then you get so angry that you just sputter inarticulate nonsense that's entirely beside the point, because you're so wrapped up in your emotions?

Lisa said...

That is so funny you should mention the song Yummy, Steve. I still have that on a 45 record by Buddha Records! It was my favorite as a kid!

Anon- I went to Farm Aid in 89, and yeah, big deal, so do I get some kind of metal or something? I happen to give to a lot of charities when I can, but I don't count on it to boost my career! I'm a bit more impressed when famous people donate things anonymously! What you are witnessing on this thread is comedy not anger! Get over yourself! We have!

Anonymous said...

“We have nothing to fear from anyone on this living planet.... We can change the universe by being who we are.... it really is just that simple.”

It is that simple. She and everyone who beleives the same way need to go to Iraq and negotiate a truce with the "insurgents". That will eliminate a large group of useful idiots and change my universe for the better.

Someone asked me one time about hunting and how I could shoot a poor, innocent deer. I told them I don't. I only shoot the rich, guilty ones.


I don't play big band music to relive the past. I'm not that old. I play it because I enjoy it. Most big bands I have played in were mostly college kids. Of course the "society bands" in the city might be old guys. But that's because they are union guys.

Gagdad Bob said...


By no means did I intend to disparage big band jazz! Duke Ellington is still ahead of the times and always will be. Monk is still "from the future," even though bebop, as a genre, is a thing of the past.

The point I was making was simply that genres usually have a beginning, middle and end.

Anonymous said...


I wasn't really offended. Just tongue in cheek like. Genres of music do take on a life cycle. It's interesting to me how they develop and sometimes branch off into other styles like country swing and early rock and roll from swing music. Modern Country music sounds like rock from about 30 years ago. I think some of the genres are recycled and added to. Sorry, didn't mean to get too far off topic.

"If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flour in your hair". I always have that mental image when I hear that song.

Anonymous said...

>>"If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flour in your hair". <<

Ah, a Mondegreen!

Like . . "scuse me while I kiss this guy" . . . or my personal favorite:

"The ants are my friends, they're blowin' in the wind . . ."

Anonymous said...

No, maybe my favorite mondegreen is from the Beatles' Ticket To Ride . .

The line "She's got a ticket to ride" is misheard as:

"She's got a tic in her eye".

Another good one from J Fogarty's Bad Moon Rising:

The line "There's a bad moon on the rise" is misheard as:

"There's a bathroom on the right".

Anonymous said...


You reminded me of a drummer friend of mine who used to think "Eleanor Rigby" was "Ilinois Pigsfeet".

"So many drummers, so little time."

Anonymous said...

>>"and your pro 'bono' services ?"<<

Does going to a U2 concert to add to his millions count?

Anonymous said...

Where does the term 'mondegreen' come from? My worst was from Christmas carol Silent Night. I always thought the lyric went "Holy imbecile tender and mild."


Lisa said...

How bout "Blinded by the light, wrapped up like a douche onto the runner in the night" ?

Anonymous said...


It's from some old English ballad or something . .

The line "Lord So and So died, and they laid him on the green" was misheard as "Lord So and So died and the Lady Mondegreen".

Also, there's a park in Chicago named Humbolt Park. When I was a kid, I misheard the hymn "Jesus Is Seeking A Humble Heart" as "Jesus Is Creeping In Humbolt Park".

Debass - you mean it ISN'T Illinois Pigsfeet?

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing so much it hurts. I looked up Mondegreen at Wikipedia. It's too funny.

Anonymous said...

Whatsa matter Bob? Didn' your mama hold you enough when you were a baby?

Anonymous said...

Don't you hate when someone scours the internet and talk radio, finds some outrageous statements calls them representative of all liberals and then rants.

Of course actually challenging folk like Frances Fukuyama, Peter Beinart, Bruce Bartlett, Robert Reich,Douglas Brinkley and Lawrence Tribe to name a few articulate critics of his accepted wisdom might take some effort. So better to pass on that. You might have to read books and substantive articles rather than listen to talk radio and read blogs.

Easier to match wits with air america. Which of course is equivalent to matching wits with coulter,hannity,oreilly, savage and co. Which does so ably.

And easy to attack a 21 yr old college kid for naive thoughts when he has told us that at that age he was stacking cans on grocery shelves concentrating on where the next joint was coming from.

damn i hate when that happens

Das said...

That was a damn good essay.

Anonymous said...

What a tour de force. Well done Sir, Well Done!

Damian P. said...

Two words, pal: "Bruce" and "Cockburn".

Gagdad Bob said...

Anonymous Digdug--

I hereby challenge Frances Fukuyama, Peter Beinart, Bruce Bartlett, Robert Reich, Douglas Brinkley and Lawrence Tribe to debate me. My only condition would be that we do not limit ourselves to the greatest liberal rock anthems, but touch upon all of the areas and disciplines discussed in my book. Of course, they have an advantage, since they were presumably held enough by their mothers.

Anonymous said...

When I was young, naive, gullible and heard John Lennon's 'Imagine' I got a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Now that I have lived long enough to witness the world John Lennon imagined, I'm left with an image of 100 million individuals slaughtered all for the cause of serving the Collectivist's greater good.

Snippet said...

I love the part about all the houses being the same (Pleasant Valley).

Where exactly the hell (sorry Mom) does the average person's house NOT rather strongly resemble his (or her) neighbor's?


I've been around the world and the only neighborhoods were houses differed appreciably from each other were the ones that you had to be as rich as Carol King or Bruce Springsteen, or Michael Moore to live in.

Also, isn't there something to be said for the FACT that "cookie cutter" houses are less expensive to build than custom-designed masterpieces and are therefore more affordable (i.e., accessible to those who don't make rock-star salaries)?

Why does The Left hate precisely those things that increase the standard of living for poor people?

Just wondering,

Anonymous said...

Good starting list Mr. Bob. But I must say, you've barely scratched the surface; 'tis only the tip of the iceberg good sir.

Please allow me to add to this ever growing list. Please excuse any double entries.

Here we go:

** R.E.M. - The fuggin' worst band in America...some liberal favorites include "Cuyahoga," Fall On Me," and "Welcome to the Occupation." Worst liberal utterance: appearing at a rally for Clinton in 1992, REM frontman Michael Stipe said that a Clinton government would be "Automatic for the People" while the Bush '41 government was "Out of Time." for those who don't know, "Out of Time" and "Automatic for the People" are the titles to two REM albums.

** U2 - Infamous for lending their talents to the "cause"...even as superstars, U2 "still takes personal risks to defend what they believe in", including, amongst other ridiculous things, landing on a contaminated beach with Greenpeace in 1993 to protest against environmental destruction. Lead singer Bono also visited Sarejevo to lend his "support", and promised to stop there again on the 1997 world tour. Didn't ever make it back. Wonder why?

** (Michael A's favorite) Rage Against The Machine Has a song defending Indian activist Leonard Peltier. Rage is one of thee most liberal bands on the planet! As Michael A noted, they have certainly been making more liberal music than just "People of the Sun". In fact, one of their worst songs ever (which is on their second album) is called "Vietnow". So if you ever get your hands on one of their CD's, snap that sucker in half! (Zak sometimes gets so into his message that he becomes completely unintelligable).

** Sting - In addition to his well-know defense of the South American rain forests, Sting also has spoken out musically against right-wing torturers in South America and the cold war. Utter rubish.

** Jackson Browne - "Lives in the Balance" and "World in Motion" both have several songs with very deep liberal lyrics. Jackson was also the main voice of MUSE (musicians united for Solar Energy) and helped organize the NO NUKES concert in the 70's. He's been involved in many other fundraisers too.

** Tracy Chapman: For the fringe liberal/lefty, her album "New Beginning" is simply wonderful, with strong, meaningful lyrics. Ha! Listen to this: "If we have faith in humankind, and respect for what is earthly and an unfaltering belief in peace and love and understanding, this could be heaven here on Earth" Does it get any worse? Unfortunatly, yes.

** Peter, Paule and Mary - Can you get any more liberal? They've been going "strong" since the '60's with "quality music about issues that matter". Their album, "Lifelines" (1995) deals with such issues as homosexuality, Illegal imigrant farm workers in California and a good old fashion dose of war protesting. In addition, the album includes songs that "exude life and touch at the inner struggles of human existence" the author gushes. Peter, Paul and Mary's music, to quote their song "For the love of it all", is about "walking the thin line, between fear and the call..." Gag me already.

I've taken enough space and time but here are a quick few more:

-Paul Simon
-Gratful Dead
-Dave Matthews - Ugh!
-Frank Zappa
-Public Enemy

And finally, you have already mentioned Pete "If I had a hammer" Seeger but what list of liberal rock songs would be complete without including Paul Ochs.

"Call it peace or call it treason
Call it love or call it reason
But I ain't a-marching anymore"

Guess not. RIP 1974

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Frank Zappa. Also known as Mister "I'm All In Favor Of Smaller Government But I Know I'll Never Get It So I Might As Well Vote Democrat Just To Piss Off All The Legislators I Don't Like."

Conveniently ignoring that a number of the congresspersons who supported his nemesis, the PMRC, were NOT Republican. If he'd lived to 2000, he'd have voted for Nader - Gore supported the PMRC, and Bush was just Bush, no further reasons needed.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Tracy Chapman first became a star with "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution" back in 1988. It seemed so anachronistic what may have been one of the low points of leftist influence since the 60's. "Poor people gonna rise up and take what's theirs." Ugh!

Michael A, the Joni Mitchell song is called Big Yellow Taxi.

The Grateful Dead despite their rep mostly stayed away from politics in their huge repertoire. Throwin' Stones is their only well-known overtly political song, lyrics written by Republican libertarian and EFF founder John Perry Barlow (who recently has had a bad case of BDS).

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm going to have to point out that I wrote 'American Woman' about a year after I started dating. That's about when I hung up my game and told grandma to arrange my marriage. Nothing to do with politics.

Anonymous said...


True enough about Grateful Dead. I added them as an honorable mention due mostly not to their music but their support for many, many liberal causes i.e. enviromentalism, pro-choice etc. And when mentioning Barlow one must never forget to include uber-activist Robert Hunter.

And hey, whoa how did we all forget about Todd Rundgren? A couple of examples: the song "Family Values" from "The Individualist" has sound bites from various conservative christian politicians, culminating in a chorus of "Shut up!" "Fascist Christ" (groan) from TR-1 is a total slam against the religious right. "F**k You, Jesse" performed live, aimed at vilifying Jesse Helms, Tipper Gore (remember when the libs simply loathed her?) and Pope John Paul II. "The Rape of the Young" from "Oops, Wrong Planet" snidely asks about big business and how much they care about us. The answer? As you might have already imagined, not one single bit. I think I'm gonna cry now.

Little know band Austin Lounge Lizards: They did for country and bluegrass what The Foremen did for folk -- that is, grab the wheel and crank it hard to the left, laughing all the way. A sample:

What kind of Newt wears a suit and a tie?
And frightens small children as he rushes by?
But we admit that the suit suits him good
Much more discreet than a sheet and a hood...

Really, that is clever no?

Even ol' Garth Brooks got in on the action. A few years back, there was an article in Newsweek about Garth Brooks' trying to change country music to reflect more diversity. His CD "The Chase" includes the track "We Shall Be Free." Some of the lines: "When the last thing we notice is the color of skin, and the first thing we look for is the beauty within," and "when we're free to love anyone we choose, when this world's big enough for all different views..."

This is one country CD any liberal would be proud to have in theri collection.

And the list goes on and on....

-Lou Reed
-Dead Kennedys
-Tom Petty - active in many liberal causes and benefits.

Alanis Morisette anyone?

Anonymous said...

Plastic Bananas,

Where do you get the idea that Robert Hunter is some kind of uber-activist? Au contraire, he has been a very low-profile, almost monkish poet-seeker type, who wrote none of the Dead's few politically-leaning lyrics.

Here's a book that is germane to the discussion that came out ten or so years ago, although she is more focused on the nihilistic rather than the overtly political aspects of modern popular music. I think many hear would enjoy it:

Anonymous said...

I can't believe none of you has mentioned this one -- perhaps it is because I'm younger than most of you? Or at last my tastes in music are younger.

This is my number one nomination for liberal effing nonsense. It is first that comes to mind because a week after Reagan's death I found myself in produce section of the grocery store listening to this over the speakers and I went ape-sh*t (which you'll have to take on trust is not normal. I'm nice, calm woman with three kiddies.) One minute I'm choosing oranges, the next I'm standing in the middle of supermarket, holding up two middle fingers in the direction of the ceiling speakers and yelling "He didn't fail, you mother effers, he didn't fail and he destroyed your beloved SovUnion, didn't he? You are the trash heap of history baby." As a point of interest, though my area is more liberal than not of the five people in the area, only one looked disgusted and one puzzled. Two smiled and a gentleman clapped. :D

So, without further ado, Don Henley's liberal dreck, The End Of The Innocence.

(NOTE both the idealized return to childhood -- do these people ever grow up? -- and the bitter hatred of adults and adult decisions.)

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didnt have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standing by
When happily ever after fails
And weve been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details
Since daddy had to fly
But I know a place where we can go
Thats still untouched by man
Well sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass wave in the wind
You can lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence
O beautiful, for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
Theyre beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king
Armchair warriors often fail
And weve been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers clean up all details
Since daddy had to lie
But I know a place where we can go
And was away this sin
Well sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass wave in the wind
Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair spill all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence
Who knows how long this will last
Now weve come so far, so fast
But, somewhere back there in the dust
That same small town in each of us
I need to remember this
So baby give me just one kiss
And let me take a long last look
Before we say good bye
Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

Anonymous said...


Thanks for clarifying. I merely assumed that as fact as I thought Barlow and Hunter were one time partners in crime...nice catch. My uber-bad.


Good call re: Henley.

"One minute I'm choosing oranges, the next I'm standing in the middle of supermarket, holding up two middle fingers in the direction of the ceiling speakers and yelling "He didn't fail, you mother effers, he didn't fail and he destroyed your beloved SovUnion, didn't he? You are the trash heap of history baby."


That, I would have loved to have seen! Heeheehee!!!

dave in boca said...

Yes, the great days of adolescence, in Wordsworth's old line about the French Revolt: "t'was bliss to be alive, and to be young was very heaven." Taranto has a good piece in today's WSJ which I blogged in about growing up.

Wordsworth transits from puberty to adulthood, and eventually realizes that the French Revoltution was revolting. In the US, we haven't reached a full recognition of the downside of "dope, rock 'n roll and effing in the street." All things in good time....

Anonymous said...

Ah yes that's the point. You can't debate liberal intellectuals on the topics they write about and instead go for the miniminds on air america and 21 yr old valedictorians.

The above intellectual group does not venture into the subject matter of your book. You should take their example and give up pontificating on subjects you know nothing about such as politics, foreign policy and economics.

enjoy your daily dose of analysis on the above issues by hannity, oreilly, savage and oreilly.

Hint: they're ignorant blowhards.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe "Ohio" hasn't been mentioned.

"Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio."

Anonymous said...

"Listen to the Flower People" by Spinal Tap. Oh wait, that was a parody.

Anonymous said...

Well, try these Thrice lyrics on for size... by the sound of it the posters in this thread, as a collective, personify the exact problem being described.

"They are sick, they are poor
And they die by the thousands and we look away
They are wolves at the door
And they're not gonna move us or get in our way

'Cause we don't have the time
Here at the top of the world
Feeling alright
Here at the top of the world

We hold our own by keeping our hearts cold

Different god, darker skin
They are just not a burden that we'd like to bear
They are living in "sin"
There are so many reasons for us not to care

But I'm feeling alright
Here at the top of the world
Doing just fine
Here at the top of the world

We've learned money matters most
So we keep our cards held close
Here at the top of the world

We hold our own by keeping our hearts cold
And we've learned what matters most
So we keep our hearts cold

They are no one
They are nowhere
They are not our problem
Not worth saving
Nonexistent if we keep our hearts cold

They are no one
They are nowhere"

Also, RE: Anon who said "Now that I have lived long enough to witness the world John Lennon imagined"

Take a closer look around. If you honestly believe the world we live in today is anything like the idyllic future Lennon imagined, you probably have not "witnessed" much of what goes on around you on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

No one mentioned System of A Down I noticed...Nearly all of their songs are affiliated with a political/social issue.

check it out man.

Anonymous said...

why don't you write off every good piece of music as crap- cause we're all liberal in the music biz- anyone who isn't makes shit- fuck all y'all

Gagdad Bob said...

I've never heard it put quite so eloquently.

Jonathon Tenace said...

If you are sad enough to think that these songs represent an entire political ideology then I pitty you. When Ted Nugent shot a bow and arrow on stage aimed at a picture of Hillary Clinton am I supposed to assume that all conservatives want the woman dead? No. Music, like any art, is meant for indiviual expression. A band or a single singer does not represent an entire group of people. Malcolm X did not represent the feelings of all blacks in the 60's nor did Martin Luther King. Adolf Hitler did not represent the ideas of every German citizen. And John Lennon did not represent all liberals.

You mention Mr. Starr and his famous song "War". You try to say that liberal don't believe that war is nesscary at all, in any circumstance. But myself, a self proclaimed liberal, acknowledges the exsitence of evil in the world. WW2 was a virtuous fight by the allies against the axis power. The Civil War was nessary in keeping the Union together (and also provied a step to abolishing slavery). However it is important to point out that when this song was written and played the Vietnam War was raging and effecting every American. Most people believed the war was unnesscary and unjust. A simple google search could have told you this, and in that context the phrase "War, what is it good for? Absolutly nothing!" would have made sense to most Americans during the late 60's, not just liberals.

I really don't feel like touching all of your pathetic points however several more to dismantle your sorry excuse for a "political statement".

Your opinion on what is and isn't lame music is exactly that, an opinion. But Ted Nugent is a pretty political and explicit person. He is ofcourse a die hard conservative who enjoys calling Hillary Clinton a bitch. Then you have Eric Clapton who is a self-labled right winger who once made this remark in front of a crowd: "I think Enoch's right ... we should send them all back. Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!"

Carol King does not own a village in Idaho...or any state in the Union for that matter. (including Puerto Rico.)

Going through quotes and lyrics from liberals to try and make the point that all liberals are the same; black and white, is childish.

Rush Limbaugh once told a black caller to his show to "take the bone out of his nose and call me back".
Ann Coulter once said the "9-11 widows are attention whores" because they were speaking out against the war.
Glenn Beck said "I want to kill Michael Moore," among other statements such as "I would like to put brail on coffee pots that read 'pot is hot' so blind people will touch it and scream".
^^do these views represent all conservatives, well I don't think so because unlike you I think every indivual is capable of forming their own opinions.

Your article is a cute attempt, but it fails on the basis of logic.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow Jonathons right you are an idiot

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