When I first heard [via the prolific Lance and Blue Girl] that the National Review's John J. Miller had taken it upon himself to compile a list of top conservative ditties, I expected a discography of Wagner by way of Pat Boone, with the near-certain inclusion of Paper Roses by the versatile Anita Bryant. Alas, it was not to be. There, in the number one spot on the 50-song right-wing hit parade, was the classic rock anthem of classic rock anthems, Won't Get Fooled Again.
Oh yeah, they went there. Discredited and hypocritical movement. Disgraced administration. Flailing strategy. Aligned with The Who's classic rant against political revolution. And the rest of the list - Sympathy for the Devil (for its rampant anti-Leninism), Sweet Home Alabama (pro-red state values and George Wallace), I Fought the War (and the pro-law enforcement community won), Rock the Casbah (most requested anti-Islamofascist song by British Army radio), The Battle of Evermore ("The tyrant’s face is red.” Get it?), and ever onward. Play that funky music, white Buckley boy. Tongue sadly slapping loosely around the conservative lips and jaw, nowhere near the inside of writer's cheek, you realize Mr. Miller is actually serious. I guess irony really is dead in the post 9-11 world.
So, onto my own carefully-considered Top Ten list of conservative classics - skipping the many dozens of blatant attacks on the good right (your Dylan, your Neil Young, your Joni, your Bruce, your Steve Earle, your Pearl Jam - all too obvious) and focusing heavily on classics from a certain grouping on my iTunes playlist (certainly betraying my own rock vintage in the bargain).
- Anarchy in the UK - "I am an anti-christ, don't know what i want but I know how to get it." Nailed it.
- Gloria - Patti Smith - "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine." (Bush-Cheney branch of conservative politics).
- Pills - New York Dolls - Rush Limbaugh tribute.
- Dazed and Confused - Led Zeppelin - (otherwise known as Administration Breakdown).
- Search and Destroy - Iggy Pop - "I'm a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm, I'm a runaway son of the nuclear a-bomb." Tribute to Rumsfeld?
- Johnny Ryall - Beastie Boys - The GOP view of the downsized lower classes
- Big Tears - Elvis Costello - "Standing in the shadow, turning wives to widows..." Big tears mean nothing, fellas. Ask Rummy.
- Endless Night - Graham Parker - "If I could only find a switch that turns on the endless night."
- Death or Glory - The Clash - "Every cheap hood strikes a bargain with the world."
- Road to Nowhere - Talking Heads - The one we're on.
Alright, that wasn't particularly well-considered - I slapped it together in nine minutes. The aptly-named Jon Swift - the most genuine conservative now publishing a blog - did a much better job. But it was fun. And just for your patience, a special bonus track has been appended to this conservative playlist - by far the most recent track in the list: 16 Military Wives by the Decemberists, who write this:
Sixteen military wives
Thirty-two softly focused brightly colored eyes
Staring at the natural tan
of thirty-two gently clenching wrinkled little hands
Seventeen company men
Out of which only twelve will make it back again
Sergeant sends a letter to five
Military wives, whose tears drip down through ten little eyes
Cheer them on to their rivals
Cause America can, and America can't say no
And America does, if America says it's so
UPDATE: Pete Townshend laughs at the National Review ranking, and tells the story behind Won't Get Fooled Again. Fascinating read. Check it out, Tom K.