Nixon Goes To Washington

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.”


  1. 1 Fallout from the Carter Years « On the Tenure Track

    […] the usa, carter, jimmy, mix, music, speeches, springsteen 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 […]




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