Posts Tagged ‘mix’
Richard Nixon resigned. At the close of our last mix, the new President Ford pardoned him. He felt bipartisan heat because of it, fair or not. Americans skipped ahead to the next election, and so shall we.
Eager to regain the White House after the turbulent Nixon-Ford years, the Democrats nominate a peanut farmer from Georgia. His name was Jimmy Carter, and he would be the only Democrat elected to the White House between 1968 and 1992.
1. The Boys Are Back In Town — 1976 — Thin Lizzy
2. DNC Keynote Address — 1976 — Barbara Jordan
3. Walk This Way — 1976 — Aerosmith
4. Democratic Convention Acceptance Speech — 1976 — Jimmy Carter
5. Don’t Fear the Reaper — 1976 — Blue Oyster Cult
6. Peace — 1977 — Anwar al-Sadat
7. Stayin Alive — 1977 — Bee Gees
8. Heart Of Glass — 1978 — Blondie
9. Women’s Work — 1978 — Margaret Mead
10. I Wanna Be Sedated — 1978 — The Ramones
11. Crisis of Confidence — 1979 — Jimmy Carter
12. Complete Control — 1979 — The Clash
13. Rock Lobster — 1979 — B-52′s
14. 1980 DNC Address — 1980 — Edward Kennedy
15. That’s Entertainment — 1980 — The Jam
16. Inaurgural Address 1981 — 1981 — Ronald Reagan
17. Super Freak — 1981 — Rick James
18. The Message — 1982 — Grandmaster Flash
19. On the Falkland Islands — 1982 — Margret Thatcher
20. Beat It — 1982 — Michael Jackson
21. The Evil Empire — 1983 — Ronald Reagan
22. Sweet Dreams — 1983 — Eurythmics
23. Religious Belief and Public Morality — 1984 — Mario Cuomo
24. When Doves Cry — 1984 — Prince
25. 1984 Vice Presidential Nomination — 1984 — Geraldine Ferraro
26. Pride — 1984 — U2
27. Keynote Address for the DNC — 1984 — Mario Cuomo
28. Born In The U.S.A. — 1984 — Bruce Springsteen
Once we hit 1980, the Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs stops being as reliable of a resource. I blame the generational bias of the aging hippies who are now the editors of Rolling Stone, but that’s just me.
Fortunately, there’s still more than enough songs to fill up the 80 minutes of an audio CD once I added my chosen speeches, though they perhaps weren’t as relevant to the content of the speeches.
Reservations aside, let’s take a closer look at what I came up with.
“The Boys Are Back In Town” was the best song to start off our mix, if only because the first speech that follows it was delivered by Barbara Jordan, a black lesbian woman who first made headlines for passionately arguing in favor of Richard Nixon’s impeachment, covered on the last mix.
Jordan tells Democrats in her speech that once every American decides individually to become part of an international community, “no president can veto that decision.” Aerosmith’s 1976 hit “Walk This Way,” later famously covered by rap duo Run-D.M.C., fits in nicely here.
Egyptian leader Anwar al-Sadat petitioned for Israeli-Palestinian peace famously during the Carter administration, noting that “Pursuing peace is the only avenue which is compatible with our culture and our creed. Let there be no more wars or bloodshed.” Seminal disco hit “Stayin’ Alive” works almost too well.
Later, when Jimmy Carter worries aloud about the nation’s crisis of confidence in his administration, he seems to want to impress upon the public that he had everything under Complete Control. It isn’t anything more than coincidental that the British rock group The Clash had a song with that name in the same year, but it serves this mix to throw it in.
In an ironic twist of fate, Edward Kennedy, after a particularly bloody primary fight with Carter that dragged all the way to the nomination, insisted in 1980 that the dreams, goals and valiant effort of the Democratic Party will never be forgotten.
Republican Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator, would be elected that year, radically reorganizing the political spectrum. Democrats, whose support was hugely undercut by disenchanted Reagan Democrats, tried to reorganize in 1984. They would fail.
Yet perhaps the best speech on the whole collection is the keynote that then-Gov. Mario Cuomo of New York gave to the 1984 Democratic National Convention. He posits that his Democratic party:
… which has saved this nation from depression, from facism, from racism, from corruption is called upon to do it again. This time, to save the nation from confusion and division, from the threat of eventual fiscal disaster, and, most of all, from the fear of a nuclear holocaust.
It would take an independent, third-party challenger before the Democrats would retake the White House. However critically that party railed against the Republicans, the electorate disagreed, siding with the party of Lincoln.
Bruce Springsteen would write “Born in the U.S.A” during that same election year as an anti-war protest. Reagan, ever spurring on the arms race, used in on his campaign trail to victory in spite of it.
“I’m ten years down the road, / Nowhere to run, ain’t got nowhere to go.”
We left off with the first half of the 1968 campaign, and Robert Kennedy’s assassination.
Fast forward to the Democratic National Convention of that year. That’s where we start off this time around, and we’ll carry on until we hit the first, and single-most memorable, action of the newly-appointed President Ford.
1. Born To Be Wild — 1968 — Steppenwolf
2. Press Conference on the DNC Riots — 1968 — Richard Daley
3. Street Fighting Man — 1968 — The Rolling Stones
4. Inaugural Address — 1969 — Richard M. Nixon
5. Fortunate Son — 1969 — Creedence Clearwater Revival
6. Chappaquiddick — 1969 — Edward Kennedy
7. I Want You Back — 1969 — Jackson 5
8. Opposition To Vietnam — 1969 — Mike Mansfield
9. It’s Your Thing — 1969 — The Isley Brothers
10. Television News Coverage — 1969 — Spiro Agnew
11. Ramble On — 1969 — Led Zeppelin
12. The Great Silent Majority — 1969 — Richard M. Nixon
13. Come Together — 1969 — The Beatles
14. The Moon Landing — 1969 — Astronaut Neil Armstrong
15. Spirit in the Sky — 1970 — Norman Greenbaum
16. Lean On Me — 1972 — Bill Withers
17. Cambodia Bombing — 1973 — Hubert Humphrey
18. Higher Ground — 1973 — Stevie Wonder
19. Resignation Address — 1973 — Spiro Agnew
20. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road — 1973 — Elton John
21. On Releasing the Watergate Tapes — 1973 — Richard M. Nixon
22. Search And Destroy — 1973 — The Stooges
23. The Articles of Impeachment — 1974 — Barbara Jordan
24. I Shot The Sheriff — 1973 — Bob Marley
25. Resignation Address — 1974 — Richard M. Nixon
26. Desperado — 1973 — The Eagles
27. Inaugural Address — 1974 — Gerald R. Ford
28. Help Me — 1974 — Joni Mitchell
29. Pardoning Richard M. Nixon — 1974 — Gerald R. Ford
30. Let’s Get It On — 1973 — Marvin Gaye
Some of these soundbites might be out of place, as they were undated when I put together this mix. I just threw them in where they were convenient for the sake of the whole playlist.
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s infamous flub following the riots at the Democratic National Convention just had to make the cut:
The policeman isn’t there to create disorder. The policeman is there to preserve disorder.
To follow that statement, and those riots, “Street Fighting Man” was by far the best choice.
After Nixon’s first inaugural — where he petitioned Washington to avoid partisan rhetoric, because “we can’t hear one another until we stop shouting at one another” — I felt it appropriate to throw in a song inspired by the Nixon administration.
The Chappaquiddick scandal led Ted Kennedy to make a statement to the effect that he’d let Massachusetts voters decide what it meant for his senatorial career. Their answer was a resounding “I Want You Back.” Figures.
Between then-Vice President Spiro Agnew’s statement against the biased nature of news broadcasts and President Richard Nixon’s speech declaring that a “great silent majority” supported his policies, no matter what the news said, there was really only one choice for a song. Released the same year, Led Zepplin’s “Ramble On” fit perfectly.
That “great silent majority” thing was another Nixonian appeal to bipartisanship and patriotic national unity. “Come Together” also seemed appropriate, so I threw that one in, too.
The second half of the mix is all-but completely focused on the disgraced Nixon administration. You can probably tell the reasoning for the order of the rest of this playlist just by looking at the songs’ names.
Spiro Agnew’s resignation, then Nixon’s fight for “personal vindication” that ultimately ended in his own resignation were some of the darkest days of the United States presidency. I could just imagine the awkward Gerald Ford singing “Lean on Me” to a destitute and disliked Nixon, but maybe that’s my overactive imagination. The most inspired choice, by far, is probably what follows Nixon’s resignation address.
This speech was the last act in the political career of a man with such lifelong political ambition that he had served in the U.S. Senate, twice as vice president, was a California gubernatorial candidate and three times ran for president.
“Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses? / You’ve been out riding fences for so very long.”
Have no idea what this is all about? Check out the exposition.
Most of the music on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Songs came out during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. That’s a good place to start.
Here’s what I came up for a playlist that should describe the years between John Kennedy’s presidential campaign and his brother’s assassination.
1. Wonderful World — 1960 — Sam Cooke
2. Presidential Debate — 1960 — Kennedy, Nixon
3. The Twist — 1960 — Chubby Checker
4. Television and the Public Interest — 1961 — Newton Minow
5. Green Onions — 1962 — Booker T. and the M.G.S.
6. “Don’t Wait for the Translation” — 1962 — Adlai Stevenson
7. Boom Boom — 1962 — John Lee Hooker
8. First American In Earth Orbit — 1962 — Lt. Col. John Glenn
9. One Fine Day — 1963 — The Chiffons
10. I Have a Dream — 1963 — Martin Luther King, Jr.
11. Blowin’ In The Wind — 1963 — Bob Dylan
12. Announcement that JFK was shot — 1963 — (Radio Broadcast)
13. Then He Kissed Me — 1963 — The Crystals
14. On Black Power — 1964 — Malcolm X
15. Hello Dolly — 1964 — Louis Armstrong
16. Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out — 1964 — Timothy Leary
17. I Get Around — 1964 — The Beach Boys
18. On the Civil Rights Bill — 1964 — Lyndon B. Johnson
19. A Hard Day’s Night — 1964 — The Beatles
20. Gulf of Tonkin Resolution — 1964 — Wayne Morse
21. House of the Rising Sun — 1964 — The Animals
22. Government is the Problem — 1964 — Ronald Reagan
23. Baby Love — 1964 — The Supremes
24. Campaign Address — 1964 — Barry Goldwater
25. Leader Of The Pack — 1964 — The Shangri-Las
26. Wild Thing — 1966 — The Troggs
27. Address to the Nation — 1968 — Lyndon B. Johnson
28. The Dock Of The Bay — 1968 — Otis Redding
29. On the Assassination of MLKJr. — 1968 — Robert F. Kennedy
30. Son Of A Preacher Man — 1968 — Dusty Springfield
31. Eulogy for Robert F. Kennedy — 1968 — Edward Kennedy
32. Sympathy for the Devil — 1968 — The Rolling Stones
I would have liked to include Eisenhower’s farewell address, that one that warned against the military-industrial complex, but the Nixon-Kennedy debate made for a stronger opening statement.
Because there was such a wealth of appropriate music for this almost-decade, I established one more mental rules: No band or solo musical artist may be represented more than once in each mix. That said, I felt obligated to include the iconic musical artists in each playlist — The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones are each included.
I had some fun putting this together.
Remember those innovative presidential television debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960? In unware irony, Nixon himself waxes poetic in one of them that future historians would note that “one or the other of us was elected and that he was, or was not, a great president.”
He caps his argument with an especially ironic statement when considering the legacies of each president: “The next president, as he leads America and the free world, can be only as great as the American people are great.”
Judging him by his own words, Richard Nixon represents America’s opportunist crooks.
There’s more represented here than just presidential politics, though.
Who could forget, upon hearing it, Newton Minow’s indictment of the “vast wasteland” that was television? Ironic to hear this now, knowing that he said this back in the days of rabbit-ear attennas and three broadcast channels.
Or when, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Adlai Stevenson told the Soviet ambassador not to wait for the translation?
Or simply the announcement that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated?
Or Sen. Wayne Morse‘s questioning of the morality of the Vietnam War?
It’s a shame I limited myself to 80 minutes for practical that’s-how-long-a-CD-is reasons. I just had to throw in a last few famous remarks. There was Lyndon Johnson’s statement that he wouldn’t seek re-election, Robert Kennedy’s statement on Martin Luther King’s assassination, and Ted Kennedy’s eulogy for his brother Robert Kennedy, once the latter Kennedy was assassinated.
I just had to close the mix with Sympathy for the Devil, the 1968 Rolling Stones hit. There was one line in the lyrics that added a nice little coda to it all.
“I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’ / When after all, it was you and me.”