An album cover with words white on black at top The Kinks and Where Have all the good Times gone and then an oval below with yellow background with four young men with brown hair

Where's the soundtrack? You can't have a revolution without the right music.

In high school I wanted to join the S.D.S. So bad and I loved Abbie Hoffman and here's a few of my hate-my-father's-Republican-guts revolutionary playlist:

The MC5's "Kick Out The Jams," though I never knew the words was by its very explosive punk-soul jail-guitar-doors was Detroit proletariat punk rock revolutionary. Now the Left hate's the working class--go figure.

The Jefferson Airplane's 'Volunteers' and 'We Can Be Together' were totally right on musical manifestos for life in Year One of the New Order – co-ops, weekly love-ins, pig-free zones encompassing entire states, no hassles, organic everything and weed, weed, weed. Free of course.

The Stones' 'Streetfightin' Man' for the omelettes that needed broken.

Thunderclap Newman's laconic, no-doubt-stoned-to-the-bone 'Something In the Air' ('because the revolution's here').

Great stuff. I loved it all. When John Lennon gave his primal scream intro to 'Revolution' in the Beatles accompanying video – presented by the distinctly ossified antiquarian Ed Sullivan on his Sunday night show, I knew the gig was on. Though by the end of the song Lennon had me thinking, maybe there are different kinds of revolutions. Oh, John, where are you when we need you, buddy?

I mean, 'ain't it amazin' all the cis white males I meet' is not the stuff of clenched fist-pumping inspiration. 'Gender-fighting Man''? ‘Kick Out the White Supremacists'? Let's think this over.

OK, let's go back to soul music of the time. We could adapt the Temptations' Ball of Confusion.


  Bathroom confusion

   what bakery you usin'?

   President Tweet's a-goofin'

   The defense is kneelin'

   Hillary's feelings need healin'

   Nork uranium needs stealin'

   Harvey Weinstein's peelin'

   The Beatles new reissue's a gas

   Male-female a thing of the past


Look, I hate to rain on your revolution (Oh, that's a lie-Ed.). Our best hope is everything old will be new again.



I was walking down to the coffee shop a lazily late Sunday morning when I heard something passing for music coming from over the trees a block-and-a-half away. Sounded like Sabbath-minded 9th-graders doing a Kinks song. I was already forgiving them. Youth.

I turn the corner: oh, shit! It was a six- or seven-man band of middle-aged guys playing...Where Have All The Good Times Gone for that stupid marathon that paralyzes Columbus for way too many hours every autumn. They were killing it – as in making it sound like Black Sabbath vinyl with a terrible repetitive skip – those main two chords, rights?

Dudes, I thought, squinting in pain as I walked past. Have you ever or never actually heard the song? That's not how you play it. First, play it like you like it, not like you're punishing some kid at the car wash for scratching your SUV. Second, when the heck are you going to go into the chord change between the verse's first two lines and the chorus? Mindlessly extended...until finally...

Right here:


   Wondering if I'd done wrong

   will this depression last for long?


   Won't you tell me....


Oh my god, what a relief to hear them get off the sliding two-chord main figure. Of course they treated chorus like an ugly hooker. And to my Christian credit I tried to have mercy: street corner, cop directing traffic, mid-Sunday morning, stupid marathon, Grandview.

But when they returned like a posse of farting cowboys to kicking those two simple, sliding chords around like sadistic Papa Joe's bouncers booting a drunken Michigan frat rat on all fours, I cursed aloud.

Still, it was a weird, wonderful revelation: Ray and Dave Davies wrote the song with an exquisite English feng shui rock'n'roll: perfect chording, perfect arrangement, perfect serious message beneath a perfect pop-rock Brit Invasion sensibility– I was seriously impressed how the chord changed on the third and fourth lines outflanked the clodhopper treatment it was being given that morning and its classic-ness shone through the elements of bummer musicianship.


   Let it be like yesterday

   please let me have happy days


   Won't you tell me....


Because you cannot kill a great song (which is always built on a superior superstructure of a chord change). Not on a cheesy marathon morning or any other time. Not when it is as well sculpted as the King Edward's beautifully sculpted chantry chapel over his tomb in Westminster Abbey where someday the Davies should lay for eternity.

That may be the revolutionary moral of our time – enlightened infrastructure.

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