Friday on My Mind: Election Day

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind. Our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News. The 2012 Election is just around the corner, so this week we are looking at songs for Election Day.

It’s everyone’s civic responsibility to vote. The US Election will be taking place next Tuesday, November 6th. This Election Day will be one of the most important in recent history for Washington State along with 2012 marking another national Presidential election. The results of this election will really make a statement about where we see our country. A little voting background and history… November was chosen as the month for voting because back in the day the country was largely agrarian and rural, so November made sense because crop harvesting was usually completed by this time, and harsh winter weather had yet to hit, therefore more people would be able to make the journey to vote. There is a bit of current irony right now as the East Coast digs itself out of terrible weather conditions. In many states early on in history, only white male landowners over the age of 21 could vote and thankfully over time the passage of various legislation has extended voting privileges to more people, although recently a disturbing trend has been taking place to make voting more difficult for certain groups of people in our country which hopefully all parties will agree is a terrible thing. So to reiterate – Go Vote! To help motivate you, here are a few songs to serve as your voting soundtrack:

Arcadia – Election Day

A Duran Duran side project that came together while the band was on a short hiatus in 1985. There was a different side project featuring the other members of Duran Duran (Andy and John Taylor) called The Power Station. Arcadia featured Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor doing their Duran Duran thing but in an artier sort of way. They only released one album called So Red the Rose. The album included guest appearances from Herbie Hancock, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and Sting. “Election Day” was the big hit single off of their sole album. It made both the US and UK top ten charts. Grace Jones lent her voice to the narration. Duran Duran re-convened shortly without Andy Taylor on guitar.

Patti Smith – People Have the Power

Patti Smith is considered by many to be one of the most important voices in modern rock music. During the 70’s, The Patti Smith Group released four classic albums, Horses, Radio Ethiopia, Easter, and Wave. Earlier in 2012 she released Benga, her 11th full length. “People Have the Power” is the anthemic song written for the 1988 elections off of the album Dream of Life. This version was performed during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in 2007. Patti gets help during this rendition from Eddie Vedder, Ronnie Spector, and a whole host of other artists old and new.

The National – Mr. November

The final song from their 2005 album, Alligator, “Mr. November” was originally written by The National about John Kerry’s 2004 Presidential candidacy. The band have been very vocal supporters of Barack Obama and in July of 2008 had a t-shirt designed with the words “Mr. November” used along with Barack Obama’s image. All shirt proceeds went towards Obama’s 2008 campaign. A later song by The National, “Fake Empire” was used during Obama’s 2008 campaign as well as during the 2008 Democratic convention with their blessing, which is why they were none too happy when a recent pro-Romney campaign ad made use of the song without their permission. Politicians should use this handy equation when thinking of using music without permission. Indie rock = Democrats, Southern Rock = Republicans.

Honorable Mention:

Alice Cooper – Elected

Alice Cooper is considered to be the first heavy metal artist to introduce aspects of horror to heavy metal performance making him a precursor to bands like KISS and the New York Dolls. He still remains busy. He has a released a total of 25 albums during his career, his most recent being the 2011, Welcome 2 My Nightmare. He has his own syndicated radio show called “Nights with Alice Cooper”, has been seen in a boatload of movies over the years included a recent appearance in the Tim Burton film Dark Shadows, and he also continues to tour. He’ll be nearby Seattle, playing the Emerald Queen Casino on November 18th.

The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again

The final song off of the 1971 album Who’s Next, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” clocks in at 8 minutes and 30 seconds. Pete Townshend initially wrote the song as a part of his Lifehouse rock opera, which never had the chance to be fully realized. “Won’t Get Fooled Again” along with many of the other Lifehouse songs ended up on Who’s Next. The song incorporated sequencers and synthesizers early in the game, with the synthesizer representing revolution. The song became a standard for the band at their concerts, usually being the final song performed.

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