Music

Alternative Anthems

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I'll skip the usual complaints about "The Star Spangled Banner" and jump right to the eternally popular question: If Francis Scott Key's martial ballad were deposed as the national theme song, what would you want to replace it? Enter your suggestions in the comment thread below. You can call for as many replacements as you want—the nation survived for more than a century without a single, centralized flag design, and on the road back to that happy day of vexillological competition we might as well bring a similar system to anthems. It's a diverse and sprawling country, and there's room for more than one song on the soundtrack.

I'll open the nominations with this old favorite from Johnny Cash:

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  1. “God Bless America” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

  2. No contest.

    Chuck Berry’s “Back in the USA” should be the National Anthem.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcI8AiCO9cU

  3. “America the Beautiful”

  4. Duh – America, Fuck Yeah!

  5. The most important criterion is that each anthem has a jew’s harp in it.

    My suggestion

  6. “Cuz ah’m perrowd ta beeean Amurrricaaaan, wher at leeeeast ah knowahm furreeeee”

    But seriously, neither of Mad Max’s suggestions.

  7. Heck yeah dude, hit and run yo, hit and run!

    RT
    http://www.anonymize.tk

  8. I nominate DEVO’s Gut Feeling.

  9. Oh well, oh well, I feel so good today,
    We touched ground on an international runway
    Jet propelled back home, from over the seas to the U. S. A.

    New York, Los Angeles, oh, how I yearned for you
    Detroit, Chicago, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge
    How I long just to be at my home back in ol’ St. Lou.

    Did I miss the skyscrapers, did I miss the long freeway?
    From the coast of California to the shores of Delaware Bay
    You can bet your life I did, till I got back to the U. S. A.

    Looking hard for a drive-in, searching for a corner cafe
    Where hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day
    Yeah, and a juke-box jumping with records back in the U.S.A.

    Well, I’m so glad I’m livin’ in the U.S.A.
    Yes. I’m so glad I’m livin’ in the U.S.A.
    Anything you want, we got right here in the U.S.A.

  10. ‘But seriously, neither of Mad Max’s suggestions.’

    I thought both of my suggestions were noncontroversial 🙂

  11. Inna-Godda-da-Vida

    .. “someone had to say it” Hobbit

  12. If you insist on something alternative, how about American Nights?

  13. Mad Max, I was just trying to be the pre-emptive disagreer with you. I love the Battle Hymn.

  14. “Heading Out To The Highway” by Judas Priest

  15. The people who want to replace the Star Spangled Banner can go fuck themselves. The whole “its about and bombs” whining makes me want to vomit. It is not the greatest song, national songs generally are not, but it seems to offend all the right people for all the right reasons. Any song that offends every whinney ass beta male “but we killed all the Indians” liberal, is good enough for me.

  16. You can call for as many replacements as you want — the nation survived for more than a century without a single, centralized flag design, and on the road back to that happy day of vexillological competition we might as well bring a similar system to anthems.

    Here you go, buddy. Wipe foam from mouth, ‘kay?

  17. And also, the “usual complaints” Matt Welch refers to is the difficulty of singing the song. Your ranting fades to irrelevancy yet again.

  18. The best national anthem ever is the one used by the former USSR. Russia recently restored the melody from that with new lyrics.

  19. Star Spangled Banner is fine.

    As long as you stick with the Jimi Hendrix version.

  20. And also, the “usual complaints” Matt Welch refers to is the difficulty of singing the song. Your ranting fades to irrelevancy yet again.

    Jesse Walker wrote this, and referenced a Michael Kinsley article that named the fact that the song is nearly impossible to sing, which it is. Where does Welch come in on that?

    John, “not the greatest song” is a severe understatement. The music is wretched, and comes from a British drinking song. The only worse choices I can think of are that horrid Greenwood song, and that horrid Guthrie song.

    If it hadn’t been used in a beef commercial, I might suggest Copland’s Hoedown.

  21. Jesse Walker wrote this

    My bad!

  22. “Political Science” by Randy Newman.

  23. Considering our president, perhaps “God save the King” would be an appropriate anthem.
    My current favorite patriotic song is Paul Simon’s “American Tune.” Why is it that for even patriotic songs blame-America-first, liberal moonbats write and sing so much better than real Americans?

  24. Although Steve Miller is probably a San Francisco lefty, Living In The USA at least mentions freedom. That should stand for something around here.

  25. P.D.Q. Bach’s “Beetle Hymm in Tritone Doric for Bassoons and Kitchen-appliances”

  26. squarooticus | July 4, 2009, 10:21am | #
    NWA / Fuck Tha Police

    Seconded.

  27. I vote for “The Most Unwanted Song” by Komar and Melamid with Dave Soldier. For a musical work designed to be awful, it’s very listenable. The stylistic hodgepodge includes some distinctly American forms such as cowboy and rap (sometimes at the same time). Besides, the very idea of hodgepodge is American, reflecting the mixture of older cultures that is the American social experiment. And what could be more American than the refrain, “Do all your shopping at Wal-Mart”?

  28. This song would be a good choice, but only as performed by the Leprechaun Brothers. The standard version just doesn’t have enough emotional depth.

  29. We are the sons of no one,
    Bastards of young.

  30. “”America the Beautiful”, as sung by Ray Charles.

  31. America, Fuck Yeah! In fact, I think I’m gonna get some portable speakers and a small flag so I can play it before my weekly hockey game.

  32. The Onion’s AV Club did a pretty good round-up of over the top pro-USA songs last year:

    Baseball, apple pie, and kicking your fucking ass: 21 hilariously hyperbolic pro-America songs

    I’m definitely rooting for C.S. Lewis Jr’s opus. 😉

  33. John Prine, Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You into Heaven Anymore

  34. “Declaration Day” Iced Earth

  35. Neil Young’s Keep On Rockin In The Free World.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTTsyk-pyd8

  36. Louie, Louie.

    Everybody can already sing along (regardless of inebriation): Anybody can play it after five minutes’ practice (& every high school band can already play it): The lyrics mean anything you want them to: & it’s a catchy tune in a uniquely American musical style.

    I can’t think of a cleaner musical expression of the national spirit.

  37. I’ve often wondered what the words were to the The Star Spangled Banner’s orignal drinking song. Once after much wine and no women, I came up with the following:

    I don’t like shagging my wife
    ’cause she’s terribly fat.
    When she gets into bed,
    the box frame starts bending.

    And I fear for my life
    ’cause she doesn’t stay pat.
    If she rolls to my side,
    then I’m suffocating.

    And she wants to make love!
    Great heavens above!
    Just to climb up on top
    is like mountaineering.

    Oh, they say that being married
    is one life’s grea-a-te-est joys.
    So why am I here at the bar?
    Getting drunk with boys!

  38. There are two important criteria for the new anthem to fulfill. It must tell the story of America’s rise from struggling uncertainty to superpower, and it must be such that everyone can sing along with it at ballgames.

    Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and turn your hats sideways for our new National Anthem.

  39. first choice: The Grateful Dead’s U.S. Blues
    2nd choice: America, Fuck Yeah
    3rd choice: The Star Spangled Banner, as played by Jimi Hendrix

    John: say it, don’t spray it. I can tell your monitor is speckled with foamy spittle with a hint of vomit all the way from here.

  40. I’m surprised no-one has suggested I Like Big Butts. But, wouldn’t a Sousa song be the best choice. Stars and Stripes Forever is already our national march, we just need words. And since barbershop is one of the uniquely American music styles, how about:

    Accoustix – Stars and Stripes Forever

  41. Let me offer the testosterone suggestions:

    Metallica – Don’t Tread On Me

    Toby Keith – Angry American

  42. I’ve often wondered what the words were to the The Star Spangled Banner’s orignal drinking song.

    Wonder no more. Here is To Anacreon in Heaven:

    To Anacreon in heaven where he sat in full glee,
    A few sons of harmony sent a petition,
    That he their inspirer and patron would be,
    When this answer arrived from the jolly old Grecian:
    Voice, fiddle aud flute, no longer be mute,
    I’ll lend you my name and inspire you to boot!
    And besides I’ll instruct you like me to entwine
    The myrtle of Venus and Bacchus’s vine.

    The news through Olympus immediately flew,
    When old Thunder pretended to give himself airs,
    If these mortals are suffered their scheme to pursue,
    The devil a goddess will stay above stairs,
    Hark! already they cry, in transports of joy,
    A fig for Parnassus, to Rowley’s we’ll fly,
    And there my good fellows, we’ll learn to entwine
    The myrtle of Venus and Bacchus’s vine.

    The yellow-haired god, and his nine fusty maids,
    To the hill of old Lud will incontinent flee,
    Idalia will boast but of tenantless shades,
    And the biforked hill a mere desert will be,
    My thunder, no fear on’t, will soon do its errand,
    And, damn me I’ll swinge the ringleaders, I warrant
    I’ll trim the young dogs, for thus daring to twine
    The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s vine.

    Apollo rose up and said, “Prythee ne’er quarrel,
    Good king of the gods, with my votaries below
    Your thunder is useless – then showing his laurel,
    Cried, Sic evitabile fulmen, you know!
    Then over each head my laurels I’ll spread,
    So my sons from your crackers no mischief shall dread
    Whilst snug in their club-room, they jovially twine
    The myrtle of Venus and Bacchus’s vine.

  43. My submission

    If the Brits don’t claim it first…

  44. Russ, we can replace “Hail to the Chief” with that one.

  45. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsFLEE6sri0

    West Side Story via a Hungarian old man with missing front tooth

  46. The people who want to replace the Star Spangled Banner can go fuck themselves.

    Relax, John. You’ll give yourself a stroke. The anthem isn’t going anywhere. Jesse’s post is what is known as a space-filler. Step…away…from the gun.

  47. The Star Spangled Banner is not about the war–it’s about persevering through the war. Paraphrase–“We made it through the hell of battle, wondering who even won, to find, in the morning, it was OUR flag that sailed on the rampart of the fort”.

    I’m proud to sing this song.

  48. Lyrics to ‘Nuestro Himno’ (‘Our Anthem’)

    Verso 1

    Amanece, lo veis?, a la luz de la aurora?

    lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer?

    sus estrellas sus franjas

    flotaban ayer

    en el fiero combate

    en se?al de victoria,

    fulgor de lucha, al paso de la libertad.

    Por la noche dec?an:

    “Se va defendiendo!”

    Coro

    Oh decid! Despliega a?n

    Su hermosura estrellada

    sobre tierra de libres,

    la bandera sagrada?

    Verso 2

    Sus estrellas, sus franjas,

    la libertad, somos iguales.

    Somos hermanos. Es nuestro himno.

    En el fiero combate en se?al de victoria,

    Fulgor de lucha

    (Mi gente sigue luchando)

    al paso de la libertad

    (Ya es tiempo de romper las cadenas.)

    Por la noche dec?an: “!Se va defendiendo!”

    Oh decid! Despliega a?n su hermosura estrellada

    sobre tierra de libres,

    la bandera sagrada?

  49. I shall, in what is becoming an annual tradition, be wearing my right wing crank Culpeper Flag shirt, today.

    So there.

  50. “Sparks of the Tempest” by Kansas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q28lZkiWxUU

    I think the Gadsden flag should have been, and should be our flag (if we just HAD to have one).
    Tom

  51. I’ve always loved Finlandia, but I hear it’s taken.

  52. Considering Reason’s ProffessedStance on immigration, the question they should be asking is what should the NAU’s national anthem be. Some very smart people are searching for the answer, which perhaps will bear a StrikingResemblance to the EU Anthem.

  53. Jesse’s post is what is known as a space-filler.

    I prefer the label “something fun for the commenters to argue about, plus an excuse to embed a Johnny Cash song.”

  54. I’ve always wanted a song that honored the US Constitution, rather than merely “the flag”, which seems to be an unwavering endorsement of the state rather than any sort of ideology of freedom.

  55. what should the NAU’s national anthem be

    Just make sure it’s accordion-friendly.

  56. James Brown – Living In America!

  57. shut the fuck up, lonewacko

  58. “Feliz Navidad,” but first we need an amendment that it can only be sung in English.

  59. Aren’t we all torn between John Prine and that beautiful flag decal sticker, vs. Merle’s fighting side?

  60. Fifth Dimension did a rendition of The Declaration that would work pretty well, and it would actually be something worth memorizing.

    Of course I may be biased. I get to read the real thing at our local Fourth of July celebration, and I’ve been practicing.

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

  61. Prince “America”

    Certainly not the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Lord Max, do your theocratic leanings know no bounds?

  62. Seriously though, what would be wrong with Neil Diamond Coming to America?

    As done by Will Ferrell/Neil Diamond.

    “This next song, you all might like. Few people know that I am fueled creatively by my massive hatred of immigrants. [ Kenny intros “America” ] Gary and I have gone on for hours about how much we hate foreignors. Right, Gary?

    Gary: Leave me out of this, man.

    Neil: NO, I WILL LEAVE YOU IN!! [ back to story ] Well, my love of this great and beautiful nation, and my hatred of all people with dark skin, led me to write this. On the boats and on the trains. They’re coming to America. Never looking back again. Just do the best you can! You hate your keyboard player because he’s black! Never had the courage to tell him sooo–AAUUGGHH!! AAUUGGH!! OW!!

  63. You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last.
    But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast.
    Yonder stands your orphan with his gun,
    Crying like a fire in the sun.
    Look out the saints are comin’ through
    And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.

    The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense.
    Take what you have gathered from coincidence.
    The empty-handed painter from your streets
    Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets.
    This sky, too, is folding under you
    And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.

    All your seasick sailors, they are rowing home.
    All your reindeer armies, are all going home.
    The lover who just walked out your door
    Has taken all his blankets from the floor.
    The carpet, too, is moving under you
    And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.

    Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you.
    Forget the dead you’ve left, they will not follow you.
    The vagabond who’s rapping at your door
    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore.
    Strike another match, go start anew
    And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.

  64. Banner is the best.

    Lyrically, the best. I don’t understand why ‘martial’ is thrown around to denigrate it. National anthems are supposed to nationalistic. And it was mutual aid and defense that made us a nation.

    Musically, the best. I love to hear a great singer save up for the high notes and nail “and the rockets red glare.” There is no comparable phrase in any other anthem.

  65. Paraphrase–“We made it through the hell of battle, wondering who even won, to find, in the morning, it was OUR flag that sailed on the rampart of the fort”.

    Paraphrase of most performances, where only the first verse is sung: “We made it through the hell of battle, wondering who even won… ah, who cares, play ball!”

  66. Shatner doing “Mr. Tambourine Man”. We would be the envy of the world.

  67. There are two important criteria for the new anthem to fulfill. It must tell the story of America’s rise from struggling uncertainty to superpower, and it must be such that everyone can sing along with it at ballgames.

    Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and turn your hats sideways for our new National Anthem.

    If that’s the criterion, how about the Beverly Hillbillies Theme?

  68. Or what Epi said.

  69. My humble suggestion courtesy of Barrett Strong.

    Current bands should be ashamed that they can be so badly outrocked by a song from 1959.

  70. First of all Sam, Fresh Prince and Beverly Hillbillies are pretty much the same show, the difference being that one has Will Smith.

    Second, I bet more people can sing the Fresh prince theme, and this is a democracy.

    Third, instead of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, we could start a new tradition of throwing DJ Jazzy Jeff.

  71. I’m with Anarch and Epi – any of the more incomprehensible Dylan songs would be perfect. He’s the quintessential American musician, and they’ll confuse the fuck out of everyone annoying, foreign and domestic. I mean, “there’s no success like failure, and failure’s no success at all?” Parse that one, assholes.

  72. What about Jose Feliciano’s version of the SSB — in 4/4 time — first performed before Game 5 of the 1968 World Series?

  73. I’ll go with “State of my Union” by the Long Ryders. It’s got a good beat. You can dance to it. And it’s got the goods on whet we have that others don’t.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRVfzComP60

  74. ‘Certainly not the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Lord Max, do your theocratic leanings know no bounds?’

    Didn’t mean to tread on your Confederate sympathies, MNG. 🙂

  75. I don’t think we could go wrong with School House Rock’s “The Premable”. Just the refrain.

    It’s definitely singable and memorable. I learned this as a kid and 35 years later I can still sing it.

    This song has the advantage of putting the national emphasis on the Constitution where it rightly belongs.

  76. “Declaration Day” by Iced Earth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_LDDnV735o

    Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Baseball is out national pastime after all.

    “America: Fuck Yeah” from Team American World Police is also o good one

    “Fuck the Middle East” by SOD http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqVIRXiaMrA

    “Speak English or Die” also by SODhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBCos2MlQ1Y&feature=related

    “Don’t Worry. Be Happy” by Bobby McFerring

  77. After “America, Fuck Yeah,” my choice would be:

    “Dear God” – XTC

  78. How’s about “(You Can Still) Rock in America” by Night Ranger? Nothing says “America” like 80s hair metal.
    Also, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” but only as played by, ironically, a Russian:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxO9k53IsMU

  79. FOOLS!!! ALL FOOLS!!

    Charlie: [singing] I’m gonna rise up, gonna kick a little ass, gonna kick some ass in the USA. Gonna climb a mountain, gonna sew a flag, gonna fly on an eagle. I’m gonna kick some butt, I’m gonna drive a big truck, I’m gonna rule this world, I’m gonna kick some ass, I’m gonna rise up, I’m gonna kick a little ass, ROCK, FLAG, AND EAGLE!!

  80. Epi,

    I’m so disappointed in you that I had to post the quote from “Always Sunny in Philadelphia”.

  81. Choy | July 4, 2009, 11:55am | #
    I’m surprised no-one has suggested I Like Big Butts. But, wouldn’t a Sousa song be the best choice. Stars and Stripes Forever is already our national march, we just need words. And since barbershop is one of the uniquely American music styles, how about:

    Accoustix – Stars and Stripes Forever

    I prefer it with these lyrics, which anyone can sing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDA9NbPAK8o&feature=related

    Our best patriotic song is “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” but a hymn doesn’t seem appropriate for a secular nation.

    Maybe this one, for a tap-dancing nation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlPR97oYOBA&feature=related

  82. any of the more incomprehensible Dylan songs would be perfect. He’s the quintessential American musician,

    This does not speak well of American music.

  83. That would read better if I closed the italics after the Accoustix line.

    I like the Star-Spangled Banner, but it would be nice to hear someone sing all four verses sometime, especially the line about “their foul footsteps’ pollution”

  84. USA — Reagan Youth
    America on Horseback — Charlie Pickett
    Thinking About the USA — Eater
    Psycho Daisy — Yardbirds
    Road Runner — Modern Lovers
    American Ruse — MC5
    Thousands Are Sailing — Pogues
    Back in the USA — Chuck Berry
    Kicking you Ass Across the USA — Mean red Spiders
    Stone Deaf in the USA — Motorhead
    Soul of America — Ian Hunter
    Fucked up in the USA — Prostitutes
    We Americans — the Briefs
    Political Science — Randy Newman
    Bad America — Gun Club
    Rocket USA — Suicide
    Hawks and Doves — Neil Young
    America the Beautiful — DOA
    Ugly Ammerica — Big Black
    My Country ’tis of Thee — F
    In the USA — Flaming Groovies

    Actually, I am overhthinking this. I’d go along with whoever mentioned Gut Feeling by Devo above.

  85. Whatever the new anthem proposal is, it should include the word “beer” in it, preferably during the refrain. . .

  86. The perfect song is already perfectly on point and anyone can sing it:

    No More Kings

    Rockin’ and a-rollin’, splishin’ and a-splashin’,
    Over the horizon, what can it be?

    The pilgrims sailed the sea
    To find a place to call their own.
    In their ship Mayflower,
    They hoped to find a better home.
    They finally knocked
    On Plymouth Rock
    And someone said, “We’re there.”
    It may not look like home
    But at this point I don’t care.

    Oh, they were missing Mother England,
    They swore their loyalty until the very end.
    Anything you say, King,
    It’s OK, King,
    You know it’s kinda scary on your own.
    Gonna build a new land
    The way we planned.
    Could you help us run it till it’s grown?

    They planted corn, you know
    They built their houses one by one,
    And bit by bit they worked
    Until the colonies were done.
    They looked around,
    Yeah, up and down,
    And someone said, “Hurray!”
    If the king could only see us now
    He would be proud of us today.

    They knew that now they’d run their own land,
    But George the Third still vowed
    He’d rule them till the end.
    Anything I say, do it my way now.
    Anything I say, do it my way.
    Don’t you get to feeling independent
    ‘Cause I’m gonna force you to obey.

    He taxed their property,
    He didn’t give them any choice,
    And back in England,
    He didn’t give them any voice.
    (That’s called taxation without representation,
    and it’s not fair!)
    But when the Colonies complained
    The king said: “I don’t care!”

    He even has the nerve
    To tax our cup of tea.
    To put it kindly, King,
    We really don’t agree.

    Gonna show you how we feel.
    We’re gonna dump this tea
    And turn this harbor into
    The biggest cup of tea in history!

    They wanted no more Mother England.
    They knew the time had come
    For them to take command.
    It’s very clear you’re being unfair, King,
    No matter what you say, we won’t obey.
    Gonna hold a revolution now, King,
    And we’re gonna run it all our way
    With no more kings…

    We’re gonna elect a president! (No more kings)
    He’s gonna do what the people want! (No more kings)
    We’re gonna run things our way! (No more kings)
    Nobody’s gonna tell us what to do!

    Rockin’ and a-rollin’, splishin’ and a-splashin’,
    Over the horizon, what can it be?
    Looks like it’s going to be a free country.

  87. Then again, there’s “Surfing USA” by the Beach Boys

  88. Pblumel,

    I’ve got to give you props for citing both a Charlie Pickett and a Gun Club song in one post.Particularly because I’ve never heard either one of them.Come to think of it I can’t remember hearing that Flamin’ Groovies song as well.Extra points for obscure tunes by great bands!

  89. Led Zeppelin – Ramble On

  90. I like the “Star Spangled Banner”. And it does not bother me that it celebrates a martial victory: they came to us, and we won.

    And, while it is hard to sing, it is not really hard. Just start low, and don’t get fancy.

    But if we must have something different, I’d consider basing it off a melody taken from Dvorak’s 9th. Czech he may have been, but the music is gorgeous, and was inspired by this land and the people he met here.

  91. “American Jesus” by Bad Religion would work, too.

    And Naga, Charlie’s song is great, but not an anthem.

  92. It is not the greatest song, national songs generally are not, but it seems to offend all the right people for all the right reasons. Any song that offends every whinney ass beta male “but we killed all the Indians” liberal, is good enough for me.

    It’s the first time I’ve seen the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” philosophy applied to music. I guess it’s better than when it’s applied to politics, but not much.

  93. Shannon Love, I am in 100% agreement with your choice.

  94. Dennis Leary – I’m an Asshole

  95. Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention: Trouble Every Day (the Freak Out version, of course)

  96. “St. Louis Blues” or, failing that, “Take the ‘A’ Train”

  97. Kinky Friedman’s ode to lost greatness, “Sold American”…

    …or “The Immigrant,” by Neil Sedaka, if only to piss off the Lonewacko crowd…

  98. Any song that offends every whinney ass beta male “but we killed all the Indians” liberal, is good enough for me.

    Indeed. Maybe it would be more fun to compile an iTunes playlist of “Songs to Bitch-slap a Liberal By”. I nominate Beethoven’s Ninth as the opening selection.

  99. I say either write music for the poem “Dulce et decorum est” or else The Offspring’s “The Kids Aren’t Alright.” I guess I’d also settle for Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name.”

  100. The way things are going, pretty soon it could be “Everything’s Free in America – (for a [large] fee in America)”

  101. Makeshift Patriot – Sage Francis

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtNMly0aDUk

    ignore the stupid ass usermade video

    Or why should everything be about our policies? Why not a song about our beauty?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Kr6L22w7H8

    Your Rocky Spine – The Great Lake Swimmers

    soon enough though, I’m pretty sure America’s will just be a rehash of an old socialist anthem.

  102. Laibach’s Geburt Einer Nation, but only if the video is acted out every time the song is performed.

  103. God Bless the USA, Lee Greenwood

  104. The song I’ve been listening to as accurate to our run of government is “Yo Mama” by Frank Zappa off of Sheik Yerbouti.

    However, I think I’d prefer Zappa’s instrumental “Peaches En Regalia” off of Hot Rats and everyone can wade in the waves of sound and make up their own words.

  105. Dixie

  106. Every year some lefty has to write about how we should change the national anthem. Usually America the Beautiful is the closest contender. It’s a fine enough song but really it’s not very anthemy. Not to mention that the lyrics aren’t really very profound or especially American. Replace Canada for America in the most popularly sung verse and it works just as well. Purple mountains, check. Fruited plains, check. Two shining seas, check. America is pretty, big deal. That doesn’t inspire me. God Bless America is a horrendous show tune. My country tis of thee is just a rip off of God Save the Queen. This land is your land was written by a commie. Yankee Doodle has some historical pedigree but the lyrics are just goofy. Nothing else is even in the ballpark.

    Star Spangled Banner is the best choice. And I actually find it a moving song when done right. And the lyrics are actually somewhat profound. More thought provoking than most other patriotic songs.

  107. Jesse Walker wrote this, and referenced a Michael Kinsley article that named the fact that the song is nearly impossible to sing, which it is. Where does Welch come in on that?

    Michael Kinsley is wrong.

    I like it fine as an anthem, though I wish more people would do like Lou Rawls used to, and ditch all those anachronistic contractions.

  108. ditch all those anachronistic contractions

    If I were dyslexic and capable of pregnancy, I’d take offense at that.

  109. ed: Jesse’s post is what is known as a space-filler.

    Jesse Walker: I prefer the label “something fun for the commenters to argue about, plus an excuse to embed a Johnny Cash song.”

    Everyone knows ed is a self-absorbed whiny little bitch whenever there is a post that doesn’t meet his refined taste in serious libertarian issues.

    From the number of comments though, I’d say it looks like Jesse is right.

  110. Dylan’s Chimes Of Freedom (the Byrds version)…

  111. I agree with PantsFan that the Russian national anthem is the best ever. After that, La Marseillaise.

    As for America: of the ones mentioned, “Fuck Tha Police” seems most suitable to traditional American Ideas, and “God Save the King” most suitable to modern Americans – though only because no one has yet written “All Bend Over for Uncle Sam!”

    Other worthy songs include “Can’t Get Blood from a Stone” (The Hooters) and “America, Fuck Yeah!”

    But it’s kind of hard to get too excited about America these days.

  112. Forgot to mention: Battle Hymn of the Republic is an insane choice.

    I’m having vague recollections of church gatherings on patriotic occasions, and the music director asks for suggestions, and some clueless Yank yells out “Battle Hymn”, and out of politeness everyone sings along, but it’s rather muted.

  113. I have heard the national anthems of dozens of countries. Some praise leaders and some are songs of pride in the homeland.

    NONE comes close to the Star-Spangled Banner for simple majesty.

    After we kick the Northeast out of the Union, they can pick anything they like . . .and we’ll keep the Star-Spangled Banner:

    “Oh! thus be it ever
    When Free Men shall stand
    Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!

    Blest with victory and peace
    May the heav’n rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

    And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

  114. Let’s go children of the fatherland,
    The day of glory has arrived!
    Against us tyranny’s Bloody flag is raised!
    The Bloody flag is raised!
    In the countryside, do you hear
    The roaring of these fierce soldiers?
    They come right to our arms
    To slit the throats of our sons, our friends!

    Grab your weapons, citizens!
    Form your batallions!
    Let us march! Let us march!
    May impure blood
    Water our fields!

    The above is an English translation of the greatest national anthem in the known universe.

  115. How can you NOT like a national anthem that is just a huge fucking question. Really, I am disappointed. You suck. All of you. Except SugarFree. That guy is fucking funny.

  116. “This Land is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie

    With all the verses included

  117. matt | July 5, 2009, 3:25am | #

    I dug that. I also dug Devo’s Gut Feeling.

  118. Freewill by Rush.

  119. Read that at first as “Bush”; knew something was wrong.

  120. Star Spangled Banner is the best choice. And I actually find it a moving song when done right. And the lyrics are actually somewhat profound. More thought provoking than most other patriotic songs.

    Yawn, I hate all this flag worship.

    I’m with Shannon Love and the others; place the emphasis on the Constitution, you know, that document our country is based on, not the flag.

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  122. The only obvious choice is “Don’t Tread on Me” by Metallica.

  123. How about ‘Boys of Old Florida,’ the University of Florida fight song? We could update if we have to include the women.

  124. So money made you mean
    and that’s not how it’s supposed to be.
    You’re ready to challenge and defend,
    yeah, but for all the wrong reasons.

    How much do we really need?
    a question, if you have to ask
    just means what it means-
    the question that says everything.

    Right and left it’s all the same conspiracy
    just cause you ask, doesn’t make a difference to me.

    You could keep it all or give it away
    but where did it come from in the first place?
    Robbing Peter to pay me, and I’ll just be
    giving it back to Peter to feel free.

    Now you have to fix everything that’s broke
    cause it’ll never leave you alone.
    Reinvent the wheel, be the butt of a joke,
    take the long road to charity.

    Right or left it’s all the same conspiracy
    robbing Peter to pay Paul
    or robbing Peter to pay me.
    Robbing Peter to pay Paul
    or robbing Peter to pay me.

    Yeah it’s just too hard, oh well, jump in.
    Forget about the sharks and swim,
    cause now you’re one, now you’re one.
    You can’t deny it anymore.

    Right or left it’s all the same conspiracy
    robbing Peter to pay Paul
    or robbing Peter to pay me.
    Robbing Peter to pay Paul
    or robbing Peter to pay me.

  125. matt | July 5, 2009, 3:25am | #
    I dug that. I also dug Devo’s Gut Feeling.

    “Gut Feeling” would be an American misanthrope’s national anthem:

    Something ’bout the way you taste
    makes me wanna to clear my throat.
    There’s a message to your movements
    that really gets my goat.
    I looked for sniffy linings
    but you’re rotten to the core.
    I’ve had just about all I can take.
    You know I can’t take it no more.
    Got a gut feeling.

  126. http://cdbarker.blogspot.com/2006/05/thought-for-day-im-just-saying.html

    Highlights:
    “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
    Plus: Everyone in America seems to know the words, and I have read on at least one occasion that it is America’s favorite karaoke song.
    Minus: If we’re looking a choice that is easier to sing well, this is not a good selection. Plus, does America really want to honor Steve Perry?

    “The Imperial March” from Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
    Plus: Olympic medal ceremonies would kick ass.
    Minus: We’d really just be out and out admitting it, wouldn’t we?

  127. Jestak | July 5, 2009, 3:15am | #
    “This Land is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie

    With all the verses included


    Here

    This machine kills Fascists

    Perhaps something from his son.

    Perhaps this

  128. I’m with Shannon Love and the others; place the emphasis on the Constitution, you know, that document our country is based on, not the flag.

    The Constitution has plenty of warts of its own. I don’t like the idea of having a verse praising the Three Fifths Clause or the lack of a Bill of Rights. It’s a fairly vague legal document loaded with compromises to various special interests. Yes, I like the system it sets up and wish it were actually followed today, but I have serious issues with treating it as a pure symbol of America.

    As a completely nonverbal object the flag is a better thing to revere as a symbol of our nation.

  129. …revere as a symbol of our nation.

    “Symbols are for the symbol minded” – George Carlin

  130. I made it through over half the comments, but didn’t find the obvious answer:

    Skynard’s “Free Bird.”

    Points to anyone who knows the proper response to this suggestion, and apologies if I’m too late.

  131. Phil Ochs’ “Power and the Glory”

    Here is a land full of power and glory
    Beauty that words cannot recall
    Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom
    Her glory shall rest on us all (on us all)

  132. If somebody’s already mentioned this, I second it and give props.

    If not, WTF?

    Monster.

  133. or maybe Night Ranger’s “You Can Still Rock in America”

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  135. I really wouldn’t care which song was the national anthem if we could just do away with that silly, conformist, hyper-patriotic ritual that is the playing of the national anthem before every fucking sporting event of any kind in this country. Seriously, what the hell is up with that?

    What is it about sports, as opposed to every other form or entertainment, that somehow requires such a conspicuous show of fealty? We don’t sing it before every movie, or play or concert. But somehow even a high school basketball game requires us to join together in a spectacle of quasi-religious nationalism, complete with hand gestures. Such displays are more suited to totalitarian regimes and should be unbecoming a nation that considers itself a beacon of freedom.

    And really, would anyone complain about the Star Spangled Banner if we didn’t have to hear it all the god-damned time?

  136. I don’t care much for what it is but were it to change I predict that in 20 years in with be all in Spanish.

  137. Sure, because Spanish is so the language of the future.

    English is the language of international trade and commerce. It’s not going to be displaced anytime soon.

    The only difference is that there will be a lot more bilingual people in the country. If your not one of them maybe that says a lot more about you than them.

  138. I’m amazed no one has suggested Steve Miller’s “Living in the USA”.

  139. “Choctaw Bingo” by James McMurtry. Wish I could take credit for the idea.

  140. I see absolutely nothing objectionable in the Preamble. A flag is merely a symbol with nothing meaningful about it in a court of law unless you believe so. The flag won’t protect your rights.

  141. Are you fucking kidding me?

    The Star Spangled Banner is a GREAT song. It’s about as individualistic and pro-liberty as they come.

    A) It’s best sung by a lone individual
    B) It’s about a lone individual IN PRISON looking out a porthole, trying to retain hope
    C) What he’s trying to hold on to hope for, is the liberty of his country, because it’s a country that protects individual liberty.

    No sane libertarian should want to replace ‘The Star Spangled Banner’. Especially not with anything as insipid as ‘America the Beautiful’. Nor for anything as reekingly religious as ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’.

  142. THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER may be the best thing to come out of the War of 1812. I only know the first verse. But the music is great. An octave and a fifth! That’s a great range for a melody, though it puts it out of singing range for all sorts of people.

    But as I’ve argued before, a national anthem that is hard to sing is a nice echo to the idea of our republic — also something hard to pull off, at least well.

    I like the Jimi Hendrix performance, and I like Igor Stravinsky’s arrangement. But it’s most fun to play on the piano with all sorts of “disrespectful” dissonances.

    If we have to replace it, maybe somebody should set Robinson Jeffers’s “Shine, Perishing Republic.”

  143. American composer John La Montaine votes for AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL:

    I’ve always thought that our National Anthem should be “America the Beautiful.” It’s not a war-like thing, and it has beautiful words. I think the tune is good, too. It’s a very excellent tune. That tune is buried throughout my piece [BE GLAD THEN AMERICA]. It’s a little sneaky. After all, I am sneaky. It’s not blatant, but the whole thing does come in the grandest moment of the piece. When I was with Jackie Kennedy she said, what is your piece like? I said, “I can tell you one thing, it’s not bombastic.” She clapped her hands and said, “Oh, then I’ll like it!”

    http://www.newmusicbox.org/article.nmbx?id=2204

  144. The flag won’t protect your rights.

    As we’ve seen again and again, the Constitution won’t protect your rights either. I don’t see those four pieces of ink-stained parchment flying through the federal jails freeing all the people convicted of unconstitutional drug laws, do you? Like the flag, the constitution is powerless unless it is recognized by the people.

  145. Apparently John La Montaine is unfamiliar with the third verse of America.

    O beautiful, for heroes proved
    In liberating strife,
    Who more than self their country loved
    And mercy more than life!

    OK, not as explicit as TSSB, but the “warlike” nature of America (if that’s what one calls her drive to defend herself from foreign aggressors) is there too.

  146. How does a killer love mercy more than life?

  147. The Star Spangled Banner is brilliant — an anthem written by radicals with guns who risked death to fight an empire and build a free nation — not someone who looked out the window one day and said, “Mountains are pretty.”

    Still, a more accurate anthem today would be Rush’s “Beneath, Between, and Behind.”

    Ten score years ago, defeat the kingly foe
    A wondrous dream came into being
    Tame the trackless waste, no virgin land left chaste
    All shining eyes, but never seeing

    Beneath the noble birth
    Between the proudest words
    Behind the beauty, cracks appear
    Once, with heads held high
    They sang out to the sky
    Why do their shadows bow in fear?

    Watch the cities rise
    Another ship arrives
    Earth’s melting pot and ever growing
    Fantastic dreams come true
    Inventing something new
    The greatest minds, but never knowing

    Beneath the noble birth
    Between the proudest words
    Behind the beauty, cracks appear
    Once, with heads held high
    They sang out to the sky
    Why do their shadows bow in fear?

    The guns replace the plow, facades are tarnished now
    The principles have been betrayed
    The dreams gone stale, but still, let hope prevail
    History’s debt wont be repaid

    Beneath the noble birth
    Between the proudest words
    Behind the beauty, cracks appear
    Once, with heads held high
    They sang out to the sky
    Why do their shadows bow in fear?

  148. Wait a minute, seriously now:

    “Boston Tea Party”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JvHroG3u5E&feature=related

    Fish’s rendition has 150% more testicle in it, though.

  149. Hulk Hogan’s “Real American” theme song is easy to sing, patriotic and kick ass. The video must be played at all sporting events.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGuhZvO1DKg

  150. I like the words of the current anthem, but dislike the tune rather intensely. If it were up to me, we’d keep the words, but replace the tune with “The Ash Grove.” And start with the third stanza, so:

    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
    A home and a country would leave us no more?
    Their blood has wiped out their foul footsteps’ pollution!

    No refuge could save
    The hireling and slave
    From the terrors of flight
    Or the gloom of the grave!
    And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

  151. I’ll second the vote for “U.S. Blues”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPBLfzTPCDc

  152. Either Eminem’s “We as Americans” or AC/DC’s “For those about to rock (we salute you)”.

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  154. We need something classier. Maybe a patriotic melody from Joseph Haydn.

  155. No one likes us;
    I don’t know why.
    We may not be perfect,
    But heaven knows we try;
    But all around,
    Even our old friends put us down.
    Let’s drop the big one and see what happens…

    We give them money,
    But are they grateful?
    No, they’re spiteful,
    And they’re hateful.
    They don’t respect us,
    So let’s surprise them:
    We’ll drop the big one
    And pulverize them!

    Asia’s crowded,
    And Europe’s too old;
    Africa is far too hot,
    And Canada’s too cold;
    South America stole our name.
    Let’s drop the big one;
    There’ll be no one left to blame us…

    We’ll save Australia;
    Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroo.
    We’ll build an all-American amusement park there;
    They got surfin’, too!

    Boom goes London,
    And boom Paris;
    More room for you,
    And more room for me;
    And every city,
    The whole world round,
    Will just be another
    American town.

    Oh, how peaceful it will be;
    We’ll set everybody free.
    You’ll wear a Japanese kimono, babe;
    There’ll be Italian shoes for me.
    They all hate us anyhow,
    So let’s drop the big one now!
    Yeah, let’s drop the big one now!

  156. Will Smith.

    Getting jiggy wid it.

    /Thread.

  157. God Save the Queen

  158. America….

    Don’t you wish you were On Something?

  159. Replace the ” Star Spangled Banner?”

    The way we’re trending, the ” Volga Boatmen’s Song” might be the appropriate substitute…

  160. I love the Star Spangled Banner. It’s set to a drinking song, it has a glorious wrong note in it (the Lydian raised fourth) — and it’s a question! (Hey, did anybody check to see if the British are done kicking our asses yet?)

    It’s the anthem of a young country, drunk and picking fights it’s not big enough to finish — and yet it lives to see the day.

    Goddam, I miss that country. It never learned to avoid bullies; it just became one (at home and abroad). I’ll celebrate the chance to remember when we were the underdog, and we toughed it out (and, we’re very lucky, to boot).

  161. With the direction the country’s heading we will be using something by Abba or Wham! before too long.

  162. As we’ve seen again and again, the Constitution won’t protect your rights either. I don’t see those four pieces of ink-stained parchment flying through the federal jails freeing all the people convicted of unconstitutional drug laws, do you? Like the flag, the constitution is powerless unless it is recognized by the people.

    No shit, I didn’t say it guaranteed it. But the flag doesn’t have a law written on it, it’s some colorful blocks of red and white. It’s powerless whether recognized by people or not.

  163. B-52s: “Butterbean”

  164. We are a band of freeman; our blood’s begun to boil
    Fighting for our liberty, with treasure, blog and toil
    And when our rights were threatened, the cry rose near and far
    Hurrah for the Flag of Black that bears the Golden Dollar.

    Hurrah! Hurrah!
    For Laissez Faire, hurrah!
    Hurrah for the Flag of Black that bears the Golden Dollar.

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  180. It’s the anthem of a young country, drunk and picking fights it’s not big enough to finish — and yet it lives to see the day.

  181. Couldn’t agree more…Had a post already written about this too, (good job i checked around first)never mind.It is a really good tune though.
    Here’s hoping more labels wise up and do this.

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