Thursday, December 06, 2007

I miss the Cold War (not that I remember it)

So as I was researching and attempting to complete my Cold War essay last week (the one I'm likely to fail), one of my many Wikipedia digressions led me to the entry on Popular Culture During the Cold War (or some shit like that). The page is woefully barren, sad to say and if I had the inclination I'd spruce it up some, like I could probably do with dozens of Wikipedia entries.

Anyways, it got me to thinking as to what some good Cold War songs are and without further adieu I shall present my totally subjective list of the Top Ten Cold War Songs.

10. David Hasselhoff - Looking For Freedom. The song that was played as the Berlin Wall fell and it always seems to be associated with that event. It was a big hit in Germany (for some reason) but rightfully not anywhere else, so far as I know. I'm only putting it on the list because I pretty much feel obligated to do so. I feel like I've wasted an entry.

9. The Ramones - My Brain is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg). The reason that "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" is only the song's subtitle is because Johnny Ramone was actually a staunch right-wing Republican and in fact idolized Ronald Reagan. Upon his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he ended his speech by remarking "God bless President Bush and God bless America". Any wonder he's my favourite punk rocker?

8. Scorpions - Wind of Change. Yes, they may be guilty of having the most tasteless album cover of all-time, but it's hard to go wrong with this rather lovely track. And for a bunch of German metal heads, the lyrics are actually not totally mindless!

7. Jesus Jones - Right Here Right Now. A MUCH better song chronicling the end of the Cold War by these one-hit wonders with a pretty good band name. Why didn't they play this far better (and more appropriate) track when the Wall came down instead of that awful Hasselhoff thing?

6. Barry McGuire - Eve of Destruction. Another one-hit wonder. This guy hit number one with this classic protest song in 1965 and never touched the top 40 again. A great sort of mid-1960s doomsday parable, summing up all the fears at the time and shit. Bonus points for being the only song to ever work the word "coagulating' into its lyrics...and rhyming it!

5. Sting - Russians. Mr. Sumner hopes that "the Russians love their children too" but guess what? They don't. They're godless and evil. He may not subscribe to Mr. Reagan's point of view, but should still know that them commies would have sold their own kids out to the state if given half the chance.

4. The Beatles - Back in the U.S.S.R. Really only a Cold War song in the loosest sense, it's really just a pretty clever Beach Boys send up. And maybe those Ukraine girls do leave the West behind, but we'll never know, because we're not allowed in! Which leads me to...

3. Elton John - Nikita. Poor Elton falls in love with a guard on the dismal side of the Iron Curtain, but thanks to stupid politics, they can never be together. In the video it's a she, but I'm pretty sure that Nikita is a man's name in Russian (i.e. Nikita Khrushchev). This was also from that fuzzy period when Elton wasn't really flamboyant anymore, but not officially gay.

2. Neil Young - Rockin' in the Free World. Written by another of Reagan's admirers, which will probably surprise many given his intense dislike of the current Republican administration. But no, Neil was greatly distressed at the fact that so many of the kids in the East never really got the chance to experience the greatness of Rock and Roll like we did. At least that's my interpretation.

1. Nena - 99 Luftballons. Given that the song is in German, I'm not actually sure what it's about, but I've been told that it has something to do with the Cold War and the arms race, fear of mutual destruction, that sort of thing. And the song rocks. Okay, so I went and read the English lyrics. And yeah, it works pretty well and the song is great, Captain Kirk reference and all.

I had a few others shortlisted that didn't quite make the cut either because I didn't like them as much or they didn't have as much relevance to the topic. But let me know if there are any you can think of that I've forgotten, so I can put my Cold War compilation CD together ASAP and have it blasting on my car stereo!


I am a total dumbass and my list is unbelievably faulty. Somehow I totally missed David Bowie's "Heroes" which should actually be number one. Yes, I somehow totally forgot about this awesome song that is actually probably the best Cold War song ever. I really am an idiot and have no idea how I just plain overlooked it. So move everything down a notch and forget that the awful Hasselhoff song was even mentioned.


Blogger Daphne said...

I had to scroll down to see what your #1 was before I read the rest of the post - if Nena hadn't won the top spot, I would have been very disappointed.

December 07, 2007 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Comrade Kiev" by Corey Hart. I cannot BELIEVE this didn't make it on your list. I mean, sure it's horrible, but seriously... Corey Hart.


December 07, 2007 1:02 PM  
Blogger Kid Icarus said...

Ugh, I already included one awful song, no way I'm putting another on. But bonus marks that the song actually spells it "Komrade Kiev" with a 'K'!!

December 09, 2007 10:56 PM  

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