Independence Daze: Nattie's 4th of July Mix

With the 4th of July weekend rapidly approaching, I have made a mix of my favorite political songs for you to listen to while you wait for fireworks to begin. Depending on your guests' political views, these songs may inspire some fireworks of a different nature.

You see, the theme of this mix is songs and/or artists who have provoked (and in some cases continue to provoke) controversy over their political views. Here's a sneak preview of what's on the mix:

"Born in the USA" - Bruce Springsteen
Bruuuuce is included on the mix for preventing "Born in the USA" from being used as Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign anthem. Had Reagan's political campaign advisors bothered to listen to the lyrics they would have discovered that it was a Vietnam protest song--a direct rebuttal to the Reagan Administration's act of throwing Vietnam vets out on the street.

"Fortunate Son" - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Unlike Springsteen, John Fogerty had no say in how his songs were used. Due to a bad record deal he signed when he was only 19, Fogerty lost the rights to all the songs he wrote for CCR, including his Vietnam protest song "Fortunate Son," which was (mis)used in a Tommy Hillfiger commercial. The commercial only used the opening lines: "Some folks are born made to wave the flag, ooh, they're red, white and blue." Apparently, the lines that followed--"And when the band plays 'Hail to the chief,' they point the cannon right at you"--were deemed a mismatch with with Hillfiger's image of young white affluence.

"Dancing in the Streets" - Martha Reeves and The Vandellas
Emma Goldman famously said, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be party of your revolution." During the sixties, Motown was the soundtrack of revolutionary change--and you could dance to it, too. Though Martha Reeves denies that it was anything other than a party song, "Dancing in the Streets" was the unofficial anthem of the Detroit riots in 1967 (in fact, The Vandellas performed it the very night the riots broke out). It's no accident that the Rolling Stones allude to the song in "Street Fighting Man," an overt call to riot.

"Not Ready to Make Nice" - The Dixie Chicks
At a time when all Country stars blindly supported Bush and the Iraq War, the Dixie Chicks took a stand--and paid for it. After Natalie Maines stated onstage in London that she was "ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas," she and the other Dixie Chicks suffered a decline in CD sales, radio bans, insults and death threats. Three years later, the Dixie Chicks are not ready to make nice with Dubya.

"John Walker's Blues" - Steve Earle
Steve Earle has never stood rank in file with other Country artists. While his contemporaries were releasing jingoistic ditties, Earle had the temerity to release a song written from the perspective of Lindh, the American-turned-Taliban. This song stirred a great deal of controversy, while Bush's comment about Lindh ("some misguided Marin County hot-tubber") received much less attention.

"Let's Do It" - Eartha Kitt
Years before Stephen Colbert gave his blistering speech at this year's Press Corp Dinner, Eartha Kitt generated controversy at a White House luncheon during the Johnson administration. When asked by the First Lady why there was so much delinquency in the US at the time, Kitt said "Vietnam is the main reason we are having trouble with the youth of America. It is a war without explanation or reason." A popular singer and actress up to that point, Kitt soon found her career blackballed by the media's distortion of the impact of her comments (making the First Lady "cry"). One can only imagine what would have happened to Kitt had she made Laura cry.

"Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" - Pete Seeger
Folksinger Seeger never shied away from expressing his political beliefs. In 1968, he had a hard time finding a venue that would allow him to express his beliefs. Dick and Tommy Smothers tried giving him a venue on their show, "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." Though they taped his performance of "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy," a Vietnam protest song, CBS decided not to air it.

"War" - Sinead O'Connor
Can someone go to Hell for destroying the image of a saint? If the Catholic Church gets its way, Sinead O'Connor may receive the added distinction of ripping up the picture of a saint.

Like what you see so far? Add a comment to this post if you want a copy at next week's DL. Also, feel free to suggest a song that should be on the mix. As the other members of DL can attest, Nattie's mixes are of, by, and for the people--especially the sexy ones like you.

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