Friday, July 13, 2012

Conservative Rock 'n Roll?

Oh yes, says National Review's John J. Miller and in this interesting article, he lists his Top 50 of all-time conservative rock songs. Now, I must admit I don't recognize half of the songs Mr. Miller has selected. After all, as a dedicated devotee of "classic" rock, I pretty much stopped listening to anything made after the 4 Seasons broke up.

Anyhow, I do have a couple of comments about Mr. Miller's list. For instance, I enthusiastically agree with his choice of "Kicks" by Paul Revere and the Raiders. I once described on an old "Vital Signs" radio program how the lyrics of that song had been all-too-true for me back in the 60's and how God used it as a haunting reminder of the emptiness of my life in those years. Other songs from Miller's list that would also have made mine (if I ever tried to come up with one) include the Beatles' "Taxman," the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice?" and the Everly Brothers' "Wake Up, Little Susie."

Miller also listed a Dylan song from the early 80's that certainly deserves a spot on such a list. But if you open that door, the explicitly Christian lyrics of nearly every song on the albums "Slow Train Coming," "Saved," and "Shot of Love," have to be dropped in too.

Also, if one simply considers record sales and ratings on the pop charts (instead of insisting on one's own tastes of what constitutes rock 'n roll), then songs like Barry Sadler's "Green Beret" or Neil Diamond's "America" should be near the top of such an enterprise. And, given the plot of the film in which a teacher's dedication to intelligence, courtesy and a hard work ethic overcomes the amoral attitudes of London street toughs, Lulu's "To Sir With Love" is more than qualified.

Others for the list? How about James Brown's "Living in America," The Silhouettes' "Get A Job," Steppenwolf's "Renegade (describing John Kay's flight from Communist East Germany), and The Supremes' "Love Child."

Finally, when morality is considered an essential "conservative" value (as Miller rightly does), there's a whole gang of records extolling marriage, fidelity and a basic sense of decency that could make the list. Paul Davis' "Sweet Life," The Grassroots' "Midnight Confessions," the 4 Seasons' "Bye Bye Baby," Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" and so many others underscore the commitment, even under severe temptation, to be faithful to one's spouse.

So, of course, there are always going to be additions, omissions and other differences of opinion when one encounters a list like Miller's but that's a whole lot of the fun, isn't it? He's therefore provided an admirable service and I urge you to go over and have fun with it yourself.

(This post is an edited, updated version of one from back in...gulp...2006. Have I been blogging that long!)