Posts Tagged ‘songs’
I’m a mix artist. That is, I will organize songs into well-flowing playlists. Usually, given my illegitimately huge music collection, there’s some overarching theme.
I’ve done a few that compile inside jokes. I’ve done decades of American history. My iTunes even has a playlist-in-progress that compiles good songs inspired by record producers. So far, I’m at Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar,” Cake’s “Sad Songs and Waltzes” and Weezer’s “Pork and Beans.” I haven’t gotten many more songs. I’ll appreciate any suggestions.
While that last idea stalls in mid-completion, my masterpiece is almost done. When I finally give it to a selected target, it will be a prank of proportions I find very amusing.
At first listen, this masterpiece sounds like a pretty standard, ho-hum classic rock playlist. Paint it Black. Killer Queen. Message in a Bottle. When You Were Young. Your target puts the CD on in the background while he raids around on his World of Warcraft server.
Yet as your intended target listens on, he’ll passively notice a few out-of-place additions. How did parody glam-rock band Spinal Tap make the cut, beating out The Beatles? Why “Spanish Castle Magic” when we all know Jimi Hendrix’s best chart is “Voodoo Child?” And where has he heard “The Beast and the Harlot” before? He begins listening intently, much to the detriment and frustration of his online raiding party.
Listening on, he thinks he recognizes a pattern. By the time he gets to the requisite Tenacious D selection, he’s pretty sure of himself. Before listening to the last three songs on the disc, he calls you up.
With a bemused smile on his face — you can tell when someone’s smiling while they talk on the phone — he triumphantly lets you know just as the last few notes of “My Name is Jonas” fade into the “Knights of Cydonia” preparing for a battle against a dragon-man.
Riddle to my readers: Name one other song that could have been on this playlist. There are many.
For the sake of the riddle, don’t give away the pattern.
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.”