May 30, 2006


Elder linked to a work of staggering genius by John J. Miller - the 50 Greatest Conservative Rock Songs of all time.

#1 on the list, naturally, is the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" - which happens to be among my three favorite songs of all time.

The list - and its companion list, presumably of songs 50 through 101 - makes a few stretchy calls ("Faithfully" by Journey? Surely you jest) and a few great grabs over the wall ("Bodies" by the Pistols? "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Stone? Awesome!), as well as lots of too-obvious-to-miss calls ("Taxman").

Read the original and the update, and you be the judge.

However - and please pass the word to Miler - any such list that fails to include "Due to Gun Control" by Willy DeVille is just plain wrong.

And JB Doubtless responds:

What a crock! Won't Get Fooled Again is about hippie disillusionment with the "Revolution."
J.B. knows The Who about as well as he knows the bagpipes. Pete Townsend embraced commercial success like few rockers before or since; The Who Sell Out lampooned rock critics and fans who, like crits and fanboys before and since, derided their favorite bands at the point where they began to succeed. This is the mark of a hippie?

Hippie? Pete Townsend kicked Abby Hoffman off the stage at Woodstock, precisely because he had no time for any of Hoffman's dozey yippie BS!

There aint a damn thing conservative about that song.
On the contrary: its' point - that there is no utopia, that anyone who claims to be able to create one is going to eventually screw you, and that at the end of the day the things around you - your friends and your family, your faith - are the only things that you can count on - is the most conservative point there is.

In its own way, it is more conservative than every allegedly-conservative "country" song spoonfed into the market in the past five years. There is no rational question about it.

Calling the list a stretch is too kind. Now on the country side there is no question as to what the songs mean. "We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American Way"--that doesn't need a lot of nuanced understanding (and weed) to comprehend.
An if you put it to an oompah beat and sing it in German, you need even less nuance!

Posted by Mitch at May 30, 2006 06:25 PM | TrackBack

Dost thou dare to insult Journey? I, Child of the 80s, challenge thee to cans of hair spray at 20 paces.

Posted by: Jeff at May 30, 2006 02:38 PM

WGFA is a conservative song? What? Sorry, there are NO conservative rock songs. Period. End of story. I wish Townshend was standing behind the lobotomized schmuck as he typed up this meager gruel; he'd have a keyboard through his head.

Posted by: Tim at May 30, 2006 04:49 PM


You are wrong. Soooooo, soo wrong.

There are - as noted in Miller's article - many rock songs that exalt themes conservatives appreciate.

Hence the list.

And who gives a s#!+ what Townsend would have done? Once the record leaves the press, its perception is ENTIRELY the property of the public.

Oh, yeah - and Miller forgot a couple of other songs that were consummately conservative, even if the artist would be mortified to hear it: "My City of Ruins" and "The Rising" by Springsteen. Two songs where faith, hope, strength and love, and prayers to the almighty, take precedence over poot and bling? InconCEIEVEable!

Posted by: mitch at May 30, 2006 04:57 PM

Some of the songs listed are complete jokes. The song will reference one topic..religion, guns, patriotism, and it is a conservative song? Since when did conservatives own religion and patriotism?


Posted by: Fulcrum at May 30, 2006 05:03 PM

Own completely? Never.

Value more? Always.

Posted by: mitch at May 30, 2006 05:08 PM

JB ripped 'em all open and he was right on all counts. WHAT is conservative about the lines:

"So we starve all the teachers
And recruit more Marines
How come we don't even know what that means
It's obvious"


It reminds me of a line in the Still Curious thread a couple back where Mitch is asking Democrats what they stand for. One person (or more) says we need to pay teachers LOTS more and then we'd get the quality we need. A couple points come to mind: Why is it 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago when teachers really were paid a pittance (sometimes just room & board) was the quality of the education given and received so much better? Hmmmm? Second point: 3/4 of the teachers in our small town are making LOTS more money than anybody but upper management in the manufacturing business that is the main employer in town. I'm not feeling too sorry for teachers that drive Cadillacs and have lake cabins. The secret to better education is the ability to get rid of bad teachers and bring back a solid work ethic in both teachers and students. Also, it would help if parents were actually the grown-ups these days both in terms of discipline and expectations of their little darlings.

Posted by: Colleen at May 30, 2006 09:15 PM

There were tons of conservative rock songs, but most of them were pre-woodstock (Nixon's biggest mistake. All those hippies in one spot, one phone call, one naplam strike, oh well). Bo Diddley's "Bald Headed Kruschev, The Louvins "The Great Atomic Power" (hillbillies vs. communists), the Shangri-Las "Take the Time" etc. The best though is the Orlons, "The Conservative". From about 1963 and honest to God it's a young black chick singing/lamenting that she can't find a conservative guy. Makes me think of a teenaged Condeleeza waiting for Clarence Thomas to roll in wearing a "Go Goldwater" button. Originally the bside of the hit Don't Hang Up, you can get it for 99c at iTunes. Its wonderful.

Posted by: Moepop at May 30, 2006 09:23 PM

Lists like these give me hives. Expecting anything from the lyrics of a rock song - besides "we who are about to rock, and are currently in the process of prepatory rocking, salute you who are likewise engaged in the rocking process" - seems to miss the point of the genre. I mean, "Meet the New boss / same as the Old boss" reflects a shift change at McDonald's, not the difference between Reagan and Carter.

The songs are what you want them to be. I have the feeling that the Internal Affairs Division of the NYPD plays "Watching the Detectives" at the holiday party dance, and everyone gets out on the floor to sing along with the chorus. Whatever it means.

And yes, I am now prepared for sixty-seven counterexamples that prove me wrong. But the first person who insists that "She's Not There" is actually an indictment of women who leave their kids with nannies to pursue corporate careers gets a long, hard stare.

Posted by: Lileks at May 30, 2006 11:41 PM

What no New Order or Joy Division?

"Thoughts that never change remain a stupid lie...its always the remains the colors...just silence.."

"Not afraid...not at all...I watch them all as they fall....but I remember when we were young..."

Pretty harrowing and pretty conservative enough to get up more than a few critics noses in the 80's....

Posted by: Greg at May 31, 2006 07:24 AM

Here's some good songs for Republicans: Been Caught Stealing, When the Levee Breaks, War Pigs, Lawyers Guns and Money, Us and Them, Fool on the Hill....

Posted by: angryclown at May 31, 2006 07:40 AM

Um, Vobo? Most of us like "Lawyers, Guns and Money" anyway.

And "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner".

Posted by: myatch at May 31, 2006 07:45 AM

Every time I hear "War Pigs," I want to hand out juice boxes. Awwwww, they're so cute.

Posted by: Brian Jones at May 31, 2006 08:32 AM

You mean they had Black Sabbath on Hee Haw?

Posted by: angryclown at May 31, 2006 12:53 PM

John Miller was pretty good on KTLK this morning. He was able to go into more detail about why he chose which songs. I'm glad I heard the show; he made more sense on air than on paper.

Posted by: TK at May 31, 2006 01:19 PM

Oh, my goodness. Angryclown's really got more of humor than of anger about him. "When the Levee Breaks"? "Been Caught Stealing"? Visualizing Black Sabbath on Hee Haw? You've really got to give it up for angryclown there.
"Mean Streets" by Van Halen should have been on the list, just because.
There is no "conservative rock".
Rock is made by and for lefties who have all been fed the same diet of hippie influences for 40 years. It's still Boomer rock, and the Boomers were lefties. Rock wasn't orignially supposed to speak for conservatives, man. Rock was for the free-thinkers who didn't want to take orders from the Man. And the Man was a conservative.
It's easier to find examples of the extreme right in modern rock - and those bands represent the final frontier in terms of "real" outlaw music. The soundtracks and incidental music to such films as Romper Stomper and American History X provide a starting point for the researcher.
But regular ol' "conservative rock"? No such thing.

Posted by: PaulC at May 31, 2006 02:20 PM

Touche', AngryClown. Last time I heard the song was on The Flaming Lips' "Austin City Limits" appearance a couple years back, with Cat Power on vocals. I haven't burned either my Lips or Cat Power CD's though, although the Lips' latest might just induce an eye-rolling related injury if I keep on listening to it. I'll be glad to send it on to you if you want. Just drop me an e-mail.

Posted by: Brian Jones at May 31, 2006 08:06 PM

Sure, give me your address.

Oh wait, you said "e-mail" not "anvil."

Posted by: angryclown at June 1, 2006 10:26 AM

Oh, OK. Ferocious Farceur nips like a frightened chihuahua at the extended hand of grace. Anybody else wants the Lips' latest CD, send me an e-mail with your address. 1st e-mailer gets it.

Posted by: Brian Jones at June 1, 2006 12:14 PM

More like a vicious chihuahua, "Brian Jones." With rabies. And ear mites.

Posted by: angryclown at June 1, 2006 12:40 PM
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