How Rock’n’Roll Failed the the American Electorate–Again

Music has the power to inspire and motivate. So what kind of an effect did rock’n’roll have on this US election? Not much, says The Observer.

The most important election of our lives is 24 hours away, and once again rock ’n’ roll has completely failed us.

We always knew music could move us, amuse us, distract us, encode extraordinary memories and act as the soundtrack for some of our most spectacular life-movies. We always knew that a song could wrap around our ears and our hearts and save the day. Music is so beautiful and essential that way, and it always will be.

But every one of us at some point in our lives believed that music might move governments, not just our hips and our hearts; that music might anger world leaders, not just parents; that music might end wars, not just start conversations.

We wanted to believe that some cute boys shouting “White Riot” actually made something change. We wanted to believe that Bob Dylan singing “Blowing in the Wind” actually ended a war.

President Nixon announced the withdrawal of all American troops from Vietnam on January 23, 1973, exactly nine years and 10 days after Dylan released “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Margaret Thatcher became prime minister of the United Kingdom two years and three months after the Clash released “White Riot.”

Oh, and not only did louche, drooling Jim Morrison and the Doors not end the Vietnam War, the Lizard King’s father, Rear Admiral George Stephen Morrison,literally started it (Jimbo’s less decadent dad was commander of U.S. Naval forces at the Gulf of Tonkin; under his watch, in early August 1964, the Navy faked an attack by a North Vietnamese boat, creating the pretext for the United States to make a full entry into the war).

This amazing fact is a gorgeous metaphor for the role rock music and the sounds of the counterculture have played in American politics.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “How Rock’n’Roll Failed the the American Electorate–Again

  • November 8, 2016 at 9:12 am
    Permalink

    By and large, Trump supporters see Rock and Rollers as hypocritical elites. They don’t care what Jay-Z or Bono or Bruce Springsteen have to say. However, they might have listened to Country singers. That’s where I think the arts have failed us – we needed C&W stars to stop singing about pick-up trucks and start engaging their audience on a political level. Although, I suppose the Dixie Chicks might have something to say about that.

    Reply
  • November 8, 2016 at 9:12 am
    Permalink

    By and large, Trump supporters see Rock N Rollers as hypocritical elites. They don’t care what Jay-Z or Bono or Bruce Springsteen have to say. However, they might have listened to Country singers. That’s where I think the arts have failed us – we needed C&W stars to stop singing about pick-up trucks and start engaging their audience on a political level. Although, I suppose the Dixie Chicks might have something to say about that.

    Reply
    • November 8, 2016 at 9:15 am
      Permalink

      Sorry for the double-post.

      Reply

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