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I'm tired of the dreary old Star Spangled Banner as the national anthem.  Does that make you feel patriotic?  Hard to sing, ends in a question, and set to music from an old tavern tune.  Let's get a little more au courant.  

Can you get any more patriotic than The Boss?  Move over Francis Scott Key ... this concert was in Barcel-freakin'-lona!

Mother Jones came out with 11 Patriotic Songs That Don't Suck about a year ago, but they included Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA which IMHO is the exemplar of Teh Suck.  

Of course, why does a country need an official song anyway?  Somehow the United States stumbled along until 1931 without one.  But if we have to have one, some more of my Godless commie ideas below the Squiggle of Doom.

Or here is Bruce ... Hyde Park!  Truly this is a wonderfully patriotic and magnificent song.  Listen to the great instrumental coda at the end of the embedded video.  After 200 years of a tavern tune, we deserve a song like this.

Words are a big improvement too ...

I got a sixty-nine Chevy with a 396
Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor
She's waiting tonight down in the parking lot
Outside the Seven-Eleven store
Me and my partner Sonny built her straight out of scratch
And he rides with me from town to town
We only run for the money got no strings attached
We shut 'em up and then we shut 'em down

Tonight tonight the strip's just right
I wanna blow 'em off in my first heat
Summer's here and the time is right
We're goin' racin' in the street

Shortly before her death in 1970 at the age of 27, Janis Joplin covered the ultimate celebration of loyalty along the road of American life in Me and Bobby McGee, a Kris Kristofferson song which had earlier been a hit for Roger Miller and Gordon Lightfoot.

Three times the lyrics invoke the Lord, and IMHO this song is properly interpreted as a prayer.  That should get the Judeo-Christian types on our side, as I think our current national anthem doesn't mention God even once!

One day up near Salinas, Lord, I let him slip away
He's lookin' for that home, and I hope he finds it.
But, I'd trade all my tomorrows for a single yesterday
To be holdin' Bobby's body next to mine.
While Arlo Guthrie is justly famous for his great cover of City of New Orleans, and Willie Nelson's excellent cover is also well-known, the song was written by Steve Goodman (1948-1984).  Here's a charmingly nervous but obviously talented Goodman seeing his own song in 1972.

The song is a celebration of tradition, labor, and humanity in the face of tawdry modernity.

And the sons of pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpets made of steel.
Mothers with their babes asleep,
Are rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded one of the great songs of family love and respect, Teach Your Children, which I heard played just recently by two talented high-school students when my daughter was admitted to the National Honor Society. Completely appropriate to the occasion, but not schmaltzy, this song makes demands on us as parents and as children.  

And you, of tender years
can't know the fears
that your elders grew by
and so please help them with your youth
they seek the truth
before they can die.
And let's not forget a great song written by Carole King and performed by the Byrds from a movie starring Captain America ...

With classic lyrics honoring freedom, discovery, and commitment.  What's not to love?

And when it's time I'll go and wait
Beside a legendary fountain
Till I see your form reflected
In its clear and jeweled waters
And if you think I'm ready
You may lead me to the chasm
Where the rivers of our vision
Flow into one another
A somewhat more outré choix for the chanson national might be a celebration of the capitalist system of credit ...

I was a teenage dinosaur, stoned and obsolete
I didn't get fucked and i didn't get kissed
I got so fucking pissed
Using my head for an ashtray
Now i'll tell you who i am
I'm the repo-man
Repo, repo, repo, repo, repo man!
Repo, repo, repo, repo, repo man!
Repo, repo, repo, repo, repo man!
Repo, repo, repo, repo, repo, repo
Repo, repo, repo, repo, repo, repo.
Ha... hum.  Well, maybe it'll grow on ya?  Would sound great at the Olympics medal ceremonies however!

That's all for now.  What do you think?


Originally posted to Plan 9 from Oregon on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA.


Which song would you pick for a replacement national anthem?

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