Friday, December 19, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special Tolstoy, You Ignorant Slut! Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental concubine social secretary Fah Lo Suee and I are off to Telluride, Colorado, to the palatial home of Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and baby Sukhreet, or Soupy, or Stewie or whatever the hell the kid is called. We'll be attending a private screening of Tom's forthcoming motion picture Valkyrie; I'm told it has something to do with germs, so I'll be spending most of the weekend laminated in plastic as a precautionary measure.

In any case, as a result, posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days.

But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:


Totally arbitrary rule: The word "battle" is allowed, but songs that merely refer to fighting are not.

Okay, that said, here's my totally top of my head Top Five:

5. (What's So Funny) 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding? -- Stephen Colbert and Friends

Sorry I couldn't find the actual video for this, which I think is now the definitive version. (The friends are Elvis Costello, Toby Keith(!), Feist, Jon Legend and Willie Nelson). I must say, though, the idea that a wiseguy cynic like Nick Lowe actually wrote what has become the most beloved anti-war song of our time is a bit of a mind-blower.

4. Let's Have a War -- Fear

"It could start in New Jersey!" The great Lee Ving on vocals, for the second week in a row. If memory serves, this is the song Fear were singing on SNL when some punks in the audience rioted. John Belushi loved it.

3. Banks of the Nile -- Fotheringay

The British Army in Egypt, and absolutely heartbreaking, via the great Sandy Denny.

"Oh cursed be these cruel wars, that ever they began
For they have robbed our country of many's the handsome man
They've robbed of us of our sweethearts while their bodies they feed the lions
On the dry and sandy deserts which are the banks of the Nile."

2. Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace -- Cheap Trick

I actually prefer the original vesion -- by the incomparable Terry Reid, about whom not enough can be said -- but since it's not on YouTube, this will suffice.

And the number one song about the the yin and yang of man's fate, it's self-evidently obvious and if you give me any grief about it I will come to your house with a regiment of mounted cavalry and obliterate you, is...

1. Peace Like a River -- Paul Simon

From his first solo album (still his masterpiece, I think) and one of his most ineffably lovely songs ever. Some smart alt-pop band with a Rickenbacker twelve-string and a winsome-voiced lead singer would be well advised to cover this some time.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania (theme: worst remakes!) is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to going over there and posting a comment, it would really get me in good with management. Thanks.]


Anonymous said...

What ... no Feel LIke I'm Fixin' To Die Rag"? Okay, I admit, maybe too obvious ...

"Life During Wartime", then.

danny1959 said...

No Smashing Pumpkins this week? What a disappointment.

"Peace Train" by soft-rock terrorist Cat Stevens?

dave™© said...

"War"? Edwin Starr? He-LLO!!!

dave™© said...

And here's that Colbert video...

MBowen said...

Nice call with the Sandy Denny - that may be her most sublime vocal, which mean it would be the most beautiful female vocal ever recorded. On topic, there's also her guest vocal with Led Zeppelin on The Battle of Evermore. (Oh, and BTW, they just released the long-lost second album by Fotheringay.)

Her former bandmate, Richard Thompson - Dad's Gonna Kill Me, about our latest misadventure, and Shoot Out The Lights, about the last bunch who tried to subdue Afghanistan.

Warren Zevon - Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner and Jungle Work (We Parachute In!/We Parachute Out!).

Television - Foxhole

Steve Earle - Rich Man's War

The Pogues - And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Not that much about peace, I'm afraid...

TMink said...

I will accept the absence of Smashing Gourds as an early Christmas Present!

Didn't some dude do a song Merry Christmas (War is Over.)


dave™© said...

Didn't some dude do a song Merry Christmas (War is Over.)

Actually, the title was "Happy Xmas (War is Over)". Always liked the "Xmas" part...

Anonymous said...

"Imagine all the people
Living life in peace..."

" You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'


Wendy said...

"The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down" - The Band

"Masters of War" - Dylan (unless that's considered folk ... I don't know any more)

"Wooden Ships" - C, S, N & Y
I can see by your coat, my friend,
you're from the other side,
There's just one thing I got to know,
Can you tell me please, who won?

And my word verification is "baccone" ...

Anonymous said...


Feral said...

Cake - War Pigs (OK, and BS too)
Joe Firstman - War of Women
Neil Young - Living with War
And one of the most chilling songs about war...

Don McClean - The Grave

Anonymous said...


TJWood said...

Five arbitrary ones:

Love and Peace or Else--U2

Man of Peace--Bob Dylan

War For My Mind--The Smithereens

A Day In The Life--The Beatles ("The English Army had just won the war...")--Neil Young has been doing a killer version of this as an encore on his latest tour

Peace Frog--The Doors

Anonymous said...

"Some kind of peace of mind maybe"

TJWood said...

RE: Peace Like A River

There is a YouTube video of Spoon covering this song. While Spoon would probably qualify as a smart alt-pop band, they don't use a Riokenbacker for this version. The Rick admittedly would help during the middle instrumental part of the song.

Anyway, the link is:

Anonymous said...

"Battle of New Orleans" - Johnny Horton ("We fired our guns, and the british kept a-comin'")
"The Battle" - George Jones (domestic)
"Andersonville" - Dave Alvin (Civil War)
"Holy War" - Matthew Sweet (1st Gulf War)
"Copperhead Road" - Steve Earle ('Nam)
"Ben McCullough" - Steve Earle (Civil War)
"Spanish Bombs" - The Clash (Spanish Civil War)
"Peace in Our Time" - Elvis Costello (from the otherwise pretty
forgettable "Goodbye Cruel World.")
-bill buckner

geor3ge said...

While we're talking Elvis Costello...

"Any King's Shilling" from Spike, or the more recent "Scarlet Tide".

steve simels said...

TJWood said...
RE: Peace Like A River

There is a YouTube video of Spoon covering this song. While Spoon would probably qualify as a smart alt-pop band, they don't use a Riokenbacker for this version. The Rick admittedly would help during the middle instrumental part of the song.

Anyway, the link is:

12/19/2008 2:26 PM

TJ --

Thank you so much for that. Wow!

Wendy said...

Dylan: "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Talking WWIII Blues"

U2: "Peace on Earth"

Marvin Gaye: "What's Goin' On"
Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

Anonymous said...

Let's see if I can round up the usual suspects:

Tonio K., "The Ballad of the Night the Clocks All Quit and the Government Failed" from Life in the Foodchain, and "Trouble" from Amerika.

Richard Thompson, "Gethsemane" from The Old Kit Bag and "Guns are the Tongues" from the appropriately-named Sweet Warrior. And of course "Sloth" from his Fairport Convention days.

Warren Zevon, the sublime "Veracruz" from Excitable Boy, and the not so sublime but still amusing "The Envoy" from the album of the same name. And "Jungle Work" from Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School.

"London Calling", the Clash.

Can't think of any Who songs on this subject!

Noam Sane said...

Who songs? Slip Kid.
"I've got my clipboard, text books
Lead me to the station
Yeah, I'm off to the civil war"

FOW, "Peace and Love". All I'm thinking of, baby.

Floyd Tillman's "Cold War" is a great country song I came to through an early John Prine album. Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson covered it, among others.
"So let's do right, or let's just
Say we're through
I just can't stand another
Cold, cold war with you"

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Eric Burdon & The Animals – Sky Pilot, of course, but (if you like The Animals) here’s a powerful YouTube vid of the boys doing When I Was Young -- against the eerie background of the London Blitz.

Libby Spencer said...

War what it is good for? Can't remember who did that.

Hey Joe -- Hendrix

For What it's worth -- Buffalo Springfield

Phil Ochs -- The war is over

Arlo -- Alice's Restaurant

Get up Stand Up -- Bob Marley

I think Woodstock fits as a peace song too. There's that line about war planes turning into butterflies.

I'm blanking but it seems to me there should be some Doors song that fits this list as well.

Mister Pleasant said...

At the top of my list would be Quasi's Peace and Love, the studio version with a real bass (for Steve and those who insist upon it) and blue hot guitar solo in the middle.

Someone already mentioned EC and the Attractions Peace In our Time which was a perfectly on target skewering of Reagan/Thatcher aggression, and a lovely and haunting tune to boot.

Unknown said...

jack logan - peace of mind
(killer stones knock-off, worth seeking out)

the clash have a gazillion great war songs...

george harrison - give me love (give me peace on earth)

the band - the shape i'm in (... peace in the valley, come back home had a rumble in the alley)

and i'll stick with the elvis c. armed forces version of 'what's so funny bout peace love and understanding'

Alex said...

"War Baby" by Tom Robinson.

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