But now on to the real issue of the day: what would someone put on a compilation CD about America, without including such horrific songs as Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)" -a song which until I went and looked it up today I always referenced as "the 'boot in yer ass' song"- and Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American"?
I've been thinking about this for most of the day; would I include such time honored favorites as "This Land is Your Land" and "Stars and Stripes Forever"? Would I throw in some revolutionary war songs and some Civil War songs, including "Dixieland"? I don't know. So far, my list is this:
1) Eyes on the Prize- Bruce Springsteen off of "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions", because it represents such an important period of our country's history.
2) Small Town- John Mellencamp off of "Scarecrow". When we think of America, we think of New York City; but oftentimes the first thing that comes to mind is the ideal small town. Like apple pie, small town says 'America' to us like nothing else.
3) Life Uncommon- Jewel, off of "Spirit". I think it represents the ideals of America: freedom, bravery, free speech, and the urge to actually do something, to go out and make something of yourself.
4) Centerfield- John Fogerty, of of "Centerfield". It is a song about a truly American sport and pastime.
5) Surfin' U.S.A.- The Beach Boys, off of "Endless Summer". Quintessentially American music, talking about the U.S.A.
6) Subterranean Homesick Blues- Bob Dylan, off of "Bringing it all Back Home". It is in the Beat-American style, and obliquely references Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. One of Dylan's socially conscious songs, it is purely American in both style and delivery.
7) America- Neil Diamond, off of "The Jazz Singer". Full of Patriot feeling.
8) America- Simon & Garfunkel, off of "Bookends". A little more dystopian, but still about searching for America, the America of dreams and of hope.
9) If I Had a Hammer- Pete Seeger, off of "If I Had a Hammer: Songs of Hope and Struggle". Because being blacklisted didn't keep him down.
10) American Pie- Don McLean, off of "American Pie". "A long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile..."
11) California Girls- David Lee Roth, off of "Crazy From The Heat". Cuz East Coast girls are hip.
12) Born in the U.S.A.- Bruce Springsteen, off of "Born in the U.S.A." I think that's kind of obviousl.
13) Take Me Home, Country Roads- John Denver, off of "Poems, Prayers, and Promises" Same sort of premise as "Small Town".
14) Pink Houses- John Mellencamp, off of "Uh-huh". Another song that deals with the reality of America not living up to the American dream.
15) California- Joni Mitchell, off of "Blue". Because it talks about California.
16) Woodstock- Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, off of "So Far", because it details harmoniously one of the great concerts -and great political ideals- of all time. "And I dreamed I saw the bombers riding shotgun in the sky, and they were turning into butterflies above our nation".
17) For What It's Worth- Buffalo Springfield, off of "Buffalo Springfield"; another protest song.
18) The Preamble -America Rock, from School House Rock.
Any other songs of note?