by carl wilson

Reagan Rock, RIP

While Ronald Reagan was a bad actor, McCarthyite, horrible politician and awful man who deserves none of the credit for character or diplomacy that he's getting this week - damn, was he ever good to write songs about. [...]

(Like his UK counterpart, Maggie Thatcher.)

Here's a little gathering of great (and less-great) songs from the era that pretty directly aim themselves at "Ronnie" - if I'd sifted more through the hardcore-punk back catalogue, I could have found ten times this many, and same goes if I'd just used a looser definition of Reagan-relevancy, as songs about the Reagan era's mentality were written all the time (in hip-hop, for example, which gets short shrift in the list below - but I'd love to hear any examples you can remember of Reagan-dissing in eighties rap).

Why does the energy of current political music pale in comparison? I imagine it's easier to write about a shift in the wind than the wind just getting steadily worse. But does Rock Against Reagan ever need to be matched by today's Bands Against Bush.

Translator: Ronnie Ray-Gun Blues
Joe Jackson: Right and Wrong
Billy Bragg: I Don't Need This Pressure, Ron
Dick Gaughn: Think Again
Gil Scott-Heron: B Movie
Van Dyke Parks: Trade War
Camper Van Beethoven: Sweethearts, Cowboys From Hollywood
Carmaig de Forest: Hey Judas
Ramones: Bonzo Goes to Bitburg
Shattered Faith: Reagan Country
Dead Kennedys: California Über Alles (In God We Trust, Inc. version)
Public Enemy: Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos
Hasil Adkins: Reagan Blues
The Minutemen: If Reagan Played Disco
Robyn Hitchcock: The President
Non Phixon: I Shot Reagan
A.P.P.L.E.: Impeach Reagan
D.O.A: Fucked Up Ronnie
D.R.I.: Reaganomics
Wasted Youth: Reagan's In
The Fartz: Battle Hymn of Ronald Reagan
Prince: Ronnie Talk 2 Russia
INXS: Guns in the Sky
Dead Kennedys: Moral Majority
D.I.: Reagan's Der Fuhrer
Prince: Ronnie Talk to Russia
Reagan Youth: Reagan Youth
Joseph Beuys: Sun Instead of Reagan
TSOL: Abolish Government/ Silent Majority
Bruce Cockburn: People See Through You
R.E.M.: Ignoreland
NOFX: Reagan Sucks
Suicidal Tendencies: I Shot the Devil
Gil Scott-Heron: Re-Ron
Violent Femmes: Old Mother Reagan
Austin Lounge Lizards: Ballad of Ronald Reagan
Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Two Tribes
Reathel Bean & The DBC (aka Garry Trudeau): Rapmaster Ronnie
Demented Youth: Assassination Attempt
NOFX - Reagan Sucks
Tesla: Modern Day Cowboy
Iron Maiden: Two Minutes To Midnite
Sick of It All: We Want the Truth
Midnight Oil: Minutes to Midnight
Loudon Wainwright III: Talking Ronald Reagan Blues
Bonzo Goes to Washington: (We Begin Bombing in) 5 Minutes
Old Skull: Homeless
CCCP: American/Soviets
XTC: Living Through Another Cuba

(Thanks to Carl Zimring and the fearnwhiskey list for the assist).

More on Punk Against Reagan here.

Read More | News | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, June 08 at 5:27 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)



There never was a better President than Ronald Reagan. He dismantled the Iron Curtain, he destroyed the Soviet Union... I'm a Pole, I live in Poland, a country that was under communist occupation for a long, long time... You think You're so smart, right? Kinky ultraliberals, that always wanted some communist-feel for themselves, right? You're nothing more than a bunch of guys & girls that now NOTHING about history, NOTHING about what communism really was (I was nearly killed by violent Militia Units, not to say that any luxuries, like meat, were hardly available since 1968), and NOTHING about Ronald Reagan's successfull tries to dismantle communism in Europe.

America: Thank You for Ronald Reagan! I go to his memorial monument everyday in Polish Gdansk (not to big, but a statue is going to be built!), and everyday I thank him for helping us, for sharing freedom...


Posted by Pawel Swiececki on August 24, 2005 7:07 AM



Would love to see some tunes about the neo-cons who seem to be winning in the current federal election! Harper is a perfect source of material but I haven't heard anyone taking on his policies in song. We may be hearing Mozart's Requiem a lot, though, after June 28.


Posted by C. Wilson on June 10, 2004 11:06 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson