What makes a great conservative rock song? The lyrics must convey a conservative idea or sentiment, such as skepticism of government or support for traditional values. And, to be sure, it must be a great rock song. We’re biased in favor of songs that are already popular, but have tossed in a few little-known gems. In several cases, the musicians are outspoken liberals. Others are notorious libertines. For the purposes of this list, however, we don’t hold any of this against them. Finally, it would have been easy to include half a dozen songs by both the Kinks and Rush, but we’ve made an effort to cast a wide net. Who ever said diversity isn’t a conservative principle?
Number one is an excellent choice by one of my favorite bands, The Who, Won't Get Fooled Again.
From Miller's article:
The conservative movement is full of disillusioned revolutionaries; this could be their theme song, an oath that swears off naïve idealism once and for all. “There’s nothing in the streets / Looks any different to me / And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye. . . . Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss.” The instantly recognizable synthesizer intro, Pete Townshend’s ringing guitar, Keith Moon’s pounding drums, and Roger Daltrey’s wailing vocals make this one of the most explosive rock anthems ever recorded — the best number by a big band, and a classic for conservatives.
(Links go to Amazon where you can find the album the song is on).
The Beatles' Taxman, Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama, and the Beach Boys pop classic Wouldn’t It Be Nice round out the top five.
Of course the fun part about lists is to add your own picks, which I'm going to do right now.
Bob Dylan's Neighborhood Bully. A pro-Israel rocker about fighting for what is right. Neo-con before there were neo-cons. That bomb factory was a Saddam Hussein nuclear plant that was believed to have been able to eventually produce weapons-grade plutonium.
Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad.
Get Back in Line by the Kinks: From 1965-1969, the Kinks were banned from performing in the United States because they offended the American Federation of Musicians. This song describes union abuse of power:
'Cause that union man's got such a hold over me
He's the man who decides if I live or I die, if I starve, or I eat
Then he walks up to me and the sun begins to shine
Then he walks right past and I know that I've got to get back in the line
Cheap Trick's Scent of a Woman. Women aren't just for sex says a man's man band:
Well a man is a man is a hell of a man
A man ain't a man in a one night stand
A man just don't stack up next to a woman
A man can't see what a woman can do
The Man Comes Around, Johnny Cash: Country music left Johnny Cash sometime around 1980, this 2002 rocker about the rapture probably encouraged a few trips to the confessinal booth.
There's a man going around taking names and he decides
Who to free and who to blame
Everybody won't be treated quite the same
There will be a golden ladder reaching down
When the Man comes around
Joe Jackson's Cold War nugget, Evil Empire:
There's a country where no one knows
what's going on in the rest of the world
There's a country where minds are closed
with just a few asking questions
Like what do their leaders say
in sessions behind closed doors
and if this is the perfect way
why do we need these goddamn lies
Hat tip to Backyard Conservative.
UPDATE Sunday May 28 12:00AM: I don't know how I overlooked it, but Dylan's Neighborhood Bully is on the NR list.
Jon Swift has his own list of 50 conservative rockers. Obviously he's a big Kinks fan, he's got the obscure but precious Village Green Preservation Society on his list. Animal Farm from the same album is also fits in this category.
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Cheap Trick Johnny Cash Joe Jackson Bob Dylan National Review Conservative Music Rock