Songs about JFK

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by StrawberryFields, Nov 23, 2003.

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  1. StrawberryFields

    StrawberryFields Active Member Thread Starter

    New Jersey
    On the 40th anniversary of President Kennedy's death, I couldn't help reflecting on some songs written about John F. Kennedy, some of which are quite good. Probably the greatest song written about his legacy was Brian Wilson's "Warmth of the Sun," a beautiful, dreamy, yet strangely hypnotic tune which Brian wrote immediately following the assassination. Oddly enough, the concept of the eternal warmth which the sun provides is strangely similar to the eternal flame that burns at Kennedy's grave in Arlington National Cemetary...quite a metaphor, when you think about it. Another tune which can send chills down the spine of anyone who remembers that tragic event is "He was a Friend of Mine," by the Byrds. Those are probably the two most stirring songs written about President Kennedy, but there are others. There are even songs dealing with the issue of the conspiracy (some direct and some not so direct). Dylan's "Desolation Row" is one of the most cryptic songs he ever composed, and also one that, like many Dylan songs, is open to a multitude of interpretations. Still, when you consider his references to the "Blind Commisioner" (an obvious reference to the Warren Commission) as well as "the heart attack machines" brought down by "insurance men who go check to see no one is escaping to Desolation Row" (a reference to the cover-up), it seems clear that he was pondering JFK's death and possible conspiracy with a most critical eye. What are some of your favorite songs relating to JFK? Let's compare notes. Music is always a healing agent, even 40 years after a major tragedy like this.
  2. Pat

    Pat Forum Detective

    Tampa, FL
    Reflecting on the 40th Anniversary of my 3rd Birthday...

    I'll add: Abraham, Martin and JOHN by Dion (of Belmonts fame), and P.T. 109 by Jimmy Dean (of Sausage fame;) ).
  3. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    I'm struggling here.

    There was a nice song called "President Kennedy" on Boomer's Story by Ry Cooder.

    I can't but help think of the Peter Gabriel song "No Self Control", which probably was about something totally different, but I always associated with the assasination.

    Of course, the one that really sticks in my mind is Marilyn singing "Happy Birthday".
  4. StrawberryFields

    StrawberryFields Active Member Thread Starter

    New Jersey
    Yes, Pat....great song!
  5. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    The strangest--no, eeriest--song I hever heard related to the assassination was "Song For Jacqueline" by Russell Faith, the music arranger for Chancellor records(Fabian, Avalon, Claudine Clark).....basically an instrumental, except for her name being whispered here and there...and a picture sleeve with a drawing of her on it. It did not chart, thankfully....:eek:

  6. StrawberryFields

    StrawberryFields Active Member Thread Starter

    New Jersey
    When did this come out, Ed? The song sounds oddly familiar, yet I can't be sure if I ever heard it. Was he whispering "Jackie," or "Jacqueline"?
    A ballad or more uptempo?
  7. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Released December ' of the last Chancellor 45's in my collection, if I remember correctly....and a kind of middle-of-the-road sort of thing....I'm pretty sure the whispering is "Jacqueline" and not "Jackie" but I'm not really eager to unearth it to find out....

    And let us not forget "In The Summer Of His Years"...originally recorded by british singer/comedienne Millicent Martin for the British TV series "That Was The Week That Was" and covered here by Connie Francis, who had the bigger chart hit with it.

  8. StrawberryFields

    StrawberryFields Active Member Thread Starter

    New Jersey
    Yes Ed, "In the Summer of His Years" was a notable selection here, and I always had a bit of an issue with it, sheerly from the standpoint of taste and opportunism, if you know what I mean. But you have really piqued my curiosity about the "Song for Jacqueline." I have to hear it now!
  9. teaser5

    teaser5 Cool Rockin' Daddy

    The DMV
    Weird but the only two I can remember that haven't been mentioned are humorous ones. Not really in keeping with the spirit of the thread but:
    "Glad I'm Not a Kennedy" by Shona Laing and "Jackie Onasis" by HSR are the best I can do at six AM on a Sunday

  10. ratskrad

    ratskrad Forum Resident

    Heber Utah USA
    Micky Hart did a song called Down the Road for his Mystery Box Album. One of the verses is on JFK. There are also verses for Joe Hill, John Lennon and Jerry Garcia.

    Down the road to Massachusetts driving through the night
    I thought I saw Jack Kennedy hitchhiking by a light
    I hit the brakes - backed up slow, and Kennedy got in
    I said, "It's nice to see you lookin' back in shape again
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe they gunned you down"
    He just shook his head & looked off sadly with a frown
    Said, "bullets are like waves they only rearrange the sand
    History turns upon the tides & not the deeds of man"
  11. aashton

    aashton Here for the waters...

    Gortshire, England
    I'm not sure about "No Self Control" but I have always associated "Family Snapshot" with JFK.

    Andrew :cool:
  12. joelee

    joelee Senior Member

    An obvious one:
    The Day John Kennedy Died: Lou Reed-The Blue Mask
  13. paulg61

    paulg61 Forum Resident

    The Byrds version of "He Was a Friend of Mine" (on the box set) -
    Although Dylan did it first (before 11/22/63) McGuinn added the lines "He died in Dallas Town...His killing served no purpose...a leader of a nation for such a short time .....He was a friend of mine"
  14. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    i think david crosby's "long time gone" was about robert kennedy, but JFK supposedly was in his thought as he wrote it too.
  15. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    There were so many 'exploitation' albums at the time, to be sure, mostly made up of various speeches and press conferences.....they are of some interest....

    THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS, was easily the most tasteful tribute. Normally a comedy/variety program on the BBC--David Frost made his name on it--it was decided, that night, to scrap the usual format and go with some heartfelt tribute, which is where Martin's version comes from. Curiously, although Decca put out the album version, ABC-Paramount had Martin's performance for 45 issue. (The stereo edition of the Decca Lp is rechanneled, natch).

    Also, let's not forget Tom Clay's "What The World Needs Now Is Love"/"Abraham, Martin & John" issued on MoWest in 1971. That turned up on a Motown comp some years ago that is now OOP. It'sstill a chilling listen.

  16. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown Active Member

    SLC, UT
    Saxon's Dallas 1 PM
  17. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame

    Kennedy references are in:
    Billy Joel- We Didn't Start The Fire
    Stones- Sympathy For The Devil
  18. Buckinghams - "Foreign Policy" an album track and the B side to the Columbia single "Susan".

    This song contains actual dialog from JFK.
  19. ChrisM

    ChrisM Reclusive Enabler

    SW Ontario, Canada
    Destroy All Monsters did a single around 1979 (about tbe time that I saw them open for John Cale in Ann Arbor). I have it buried away but, I think it's called "November 22nd".

  20. Jimbo

    Jimbo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Zero/Zero Island
    "In December 1963/it felt like the world would freeze/with John F. Kennedy/and the Beatles..."
    --"Life in a Northern Town," by Dream Academy

    Not to be perverse, but there have been groups called The Grassy Knoll, The Single Bullet Theory, and the Dead Kennedys.
  21. vex

    vex New Member

    Seattle, WA
    Ah, ya beat me to it! Great song, BTW :thumbsup:
  22. pdenny

    pdenny Blow up your TV

    I dreamed I was the president of these United States
    I dreamed I replaced ignorance, stupidity and hate
    I dreamed the perfect union and a perfect law, undenied
    And most of all I dreamed I forgot the day John Kennedy died
    I dreamed that I could do the job, that others hadn't done
    I dreamed that I was uncorrupt and fair to everyone
    I dreamed I wasn't gross or base, a criminal on the take
    And most of all I dreamed I forgot the day John Kennedy died
    Oh the day John Kennedy died
    I remember where I was that day, I was upstate in a bar
    The team from the university was playing football on TV
    Then the screen want dead and the announcer said:
    ' There's been a tragedy
    There's are unconfirmed reports the president's been shot
    And he may be dead or dying.'
    Talking stopped, someone shouted: ' What?! '
    I ran out to the street
    People were gathered everywhere saying:
    ' Did you hear what they said on TV? '
    And then a guy in a Porsche with his radio
    Hit his born and told us the news
    He said: ' The president's dead, he was shot twice in the head
    In Dallas, and they don't know by whom. '
    I dreamed I was the president of these United States
    I dreamed I was young and smart and it was not a waste
    I dreamed that there was a point to life and to the human race
    I dreamed that I could somehow comprehend that someone
    Shot him in the face
    Oh the day John Kennedy died
  23. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    Of course - that's the one I was thinking of. Thanks.
  24. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Alexandria VA
    Don't forget Pearl Jam's "Brain of J"!
  25. StrawberryFields

    StrawberryFields Active Member Thread Starter

    New Jersey
    Yes, "Foreign Policy" chills me to the bone. Especially the part of the JFK speech where he mentions the bit about being able to live our lives "without fear of devastation" - WOW, how ironic! This was on the original "Buckinghams Greatest Hits" LP, but they seem to have dropped it for the reissue comp CDs, unfortunately (Undoubtedly Sony felt the song was too topical and suitable only for the original boomers who bought the old collection, which is a real shame). Also, I could do without all those dreadful Buckinghams remixes on CD! Anyone know if there's any remaster of "Foreign Policy" anywhere?
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