Friday, March 13, 2015

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special Tolstoy, You Ignorant Slut! Edition

[I first posted this one back in 2008, which is so long ago it might as well have been the Pleistocene Era. But alas, its theme remains disturbingly relevant in an age when supposedly sane members of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body are creaming their jeans in anticipation of our launching yet another full scale conflict in the Middle East. In any case, I've done some re-writing, as well as adding a new entry. Semper fi, bitches!-- S.S.]


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 Six:

6. Bomb Iran -- Vince Vance and the Valiants

This reprehensible piece of shit actually sort of violates my arbitrary rule above, but it's such an artifact of evil I'd be remiss if I didn't include it. I should add that it was given a new lease on life by Sen. John McCain [R-embarrassing old man], just one of many reasons to hate that asshole, and that in a hideous historical irony, the guy who composed the song on which this parody is based was actually himself of Iranian lineage.

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 believe 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, obviously. 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 -- Christopher Milk

The often covered Terry Reid classic. The original is still the greatest, but this version by unjustly under-appreciated early 70s LA glam band Christopher Milk -- two of whose members, I am proud to say, are Facebook buds of mine -- is very nearly as good. Unfortunately, I can't post the audio at the moment, because Divshare has been down since yesterday -- as soon as they get their act together, I'll be back here to insert the link.

And the number one song about 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?


Anna said...

"War Song"–Neil Young & Graham Nash. It was finally released on "Archives, Vol. 1", and far from his greatest song, but it was available only as a single back in 1972 in support of McGovern's candidacy.

Anonymous said...

Steve Earle - Rich Man's War

Laura Nyro - Save the Country (partial to the Brian Auger/Julie Driscoll version)

Mark said...

Hands down -- LOVE VIGILANTES, from New Order's 1985 album, Low Life.

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Tug of War by Paul McCartney. One of my favorite Paul solo pieces. Very nice melody and an all around good record.


Shriner said...

Good songs: Boston -- Peach of Mind. Yes, it's an overplayed classic-rock staple, but still an awesome song.

Zappa -- Who Needs The Peace Corps? The antidote to my "worse" song below. "Go To San Francisco" indeed!

Lennon -- Happy XMas (War Is Over). (a bit of a stretch...)

Talking Heads -- Life During Wartime (another stretch...)

Terrible song:

A Summer Prayer For Peace by the Archies. Everything you hated about the 60's hippie movement in 2:50

Billy B said...

When I was a kid, I couldn't stand Cat Stevens' "Peace Train". I don't mind the song so much now.

cthulhu said...

A trio from RT - Fairport's "Sloth", then "Gethsemene" from The Old Kit Bag, and finally "Guns Are The Tongues" from Sweet Warrior.

Tonio K.'s "Ballad of the Night the Clocks All Quit (and the Government Failed)".

"Seven Nation Army" from the White Stripes (yeah, I know I'm stretching the rules).

And, of course, "Won't Get Fooled Again", glorious in its studio version from Who's Next, but I still highly recommend the stunning acoustic version from "The Secret Policeman's Ball", and If you search YouTube there are several other terrific Townshend performances of the song out there.

Anonymous said...

King Crimson - 21st Century Schizoid Man
Yes - Gates of Delirium
Black Sabbath - War Pigs
Country Joe & the Fish - I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag
Grand Funk - People Let's Stop the War
Steve Goodman - Penny Evans
The Airplane/Crosby, Stills & Nash - Wooden Ships
John Prine - Sam Stone
Lee Michaels - The War
Creedence - Fortunate Son
Jimi Hendrix - Machine Gun
Edwin Starr - War
Arlo Guthrie - Alice's Restaurant
Neil Young - Let's Roll
Scorpions - Wind of Change

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Re: Christopher Milk - The flip of Speak Now is a very unamusing and irritating satire of I Want To Hold Your Hand. Saw this band at the Whisky when still in high school. They were truly awful live. You might say they were the Pits, despite the Kinks Kronikles liners. I'd go with Cheap Trick's version of Speak Now. I think it's the best even if it is a cover. Though he wrote it, Terry Reid, god bless him, always tended to overdo it vocally on his recordings. I'm really surprised Mickie Most never reeled-in Reid's over enthusiasm to avoid the histrionics. Too bad.

Vickie Rock

edward said...

Phil Ochs (from his R&R period)- The War Is Over
Richard Thompson - Dad's Gonna Kill Me
Bruce Springsteen - War (cover)
Prince - Uptown
Elvis Costello - Peace In Our Time
Randy Newman - Political Science
Dead Kennedys - Holiday In Cambodia

Anonymous said...

Battle of Evermore - Led Denny

Vickie Rock - So now you better stop and rebuild all your ruins. For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.

pete said...

A big Amen to Peace Like a River and Fixin' to Die. I'm partial to Delaney and Bonnie's version of the Dr. John tune When This Battle is Over, not to be confused with my own The Battle is Over. Dylan's gospel songs contain a lot of war-imagery. "Nations are angry/Cursed are some/People are expecting a false peace to come/But I'm hanging on to the solid rock."

BTW, nobody has mentioned "Masters of War" yet, have they?

Anonymous said...

Syd Straw - War And Peace
A:It's title is the subject of the Listomania

B:It contains the absolutely wonderful song "The Train That Takes You Away"

Anonymous said...

Matthew Sweet - Holy War
Grateful Dead - Cream Puff War (their best garage tune)
Wishbone Ash - Throw Down the Sword
Genesis - Battle of Epping Forest
Guns 'N Roses - Civil War
Johnny Horton - Battle of New Orleans
Deep Purple - Hallelujah
Queen - Ogre Battle
Mott the Hoople - Hymn For the Dudes
Melanie/Mott - Lay Down (Candles In the Rain)
Quicksilver - What About Me
Allman Brothers - Ain't Wastin' Time No More
Iron Maiden - Run To the Hills
Tim Buckley - No Man Can Find the War
Thin Lizzy - The Holy War (to bookend)

Vickie Rock - Gotta catch a plane to Vegas

Anonymous said...

The Bluebells - The Patriot Game

GLLinMO said...

Lots of great songs above. Got to say, can't have a good or bad war type song without a good or bad war- or government- to go along with it. Funny that most anti war songs go against republicans when democratics are the causes of te issues. Which means that it's goverment in general that is the problem.

But damn, I love the passion on Country Joe.

buzzbabyjesus said...

"War Ina Babylon" by Max Romeo with the Upsetters. The song I dare people who say they hate reggae to listen to. A classic.

Alzo said...

Black Sabbath: War Pigs
L7: Wargasm
Joe Grushecky: What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?
Killing Joke: Wardance

The Clash deserve their own wing for this:
Hate & War
English Civil War
Tommy Gun
Ivan Meets G.I. Joe
Washington Bullets
The Call-Up
Charlie Don't Surf

Honorable mention: The Turtles: Eve of Destruction
No dissing the Turtles!

M_Sharp said...

"Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" by The Ramones

"Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town" by Kenny Rodgers

pete said...

Has anyone mentioned "Gimme Shelter" yet?

John F said...

Away last weekend, so late to the Listomania...

A few more, and more recent:

Los Lobos - "Peace", off of Kiko. And I'll ask again: Why hasn't this band ever even been nominated for the Rock Hall of Fame?
Fountains of Wayne - "Peace and Love", off of Welcome Interstate Managers. Beware: goofy (fun!) homemade video, with lots of kids.
New Pornographers - "War on the East Coast", off of Brill Bruisers. Probably my favorite track off of the most recent (and my least favorite) NPs album.