Tuesday, November 29, 2005

yes my conscience bothers me

lynyrd skynyrd got inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. FUCK lynyrd skynyrd. they deserved to die, those racist nard-garblers. do people realize what the lyrics of "sweet home alabama" pertain to?

aside from trashing neil young, the song hails former alabama governor george wallace, who physically stood in front of the entry to the university of alabama to prevent two black girls from entering in the face of desegregation. president kennedy had to mobilize the alabama national guard to move him.

the lyrics to "sweet home alabama":

Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the Southland
I miss Alabamy once again
And I think its a sin, yes

Well I heard mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don't need him around anyhow

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you

In Birmingham they love the governor
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you
Here I come Alabama

Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers
And they've been known to pick a song or two
Lord they get me off so much
They pick me up when I'm feeling blue
Now how about you?

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you

Sweet home Alabama
Oh sweet home baby
Where the skies are so blue
And the governor's true
Sweet Home Alabama
Lordy Lord, I'm coming home to you
Yea, yea Montgomery's got the answer

contrast these lyrics with those to neil young's "alabama":

Oh Alabama
The devil fools
with the best laid plan.
Swing low Alabama
You got spare change
You got to feel strange
And now the moment
is all that it meant.
Alabama, you got
the weight on your shoulders
That's breaking your back.
Your Cadillac
has got a wheel in the ditch
And a wheel on the track
Oh AlabamaBanjos playing
through the broken glass
Windows down in Alabama.
See the old folks
tied in white ropes
Hear the banjo.
Don't it take you down home?
Alabama, you got
the weight on your shoulders
That's breaking your back.
Your Cadillac
has got a wheel in the ditch
And a wheel on the track
Oh Alabama.
Can I see you
and shake your hand.
Make friends down in Alabama.
I'm from a new land
I come to you
and see all this ruin
What are you doing Alabama?
You got the rest of the union
to help you along
What's going wrong?

it utterly bothers me that "sweet home alabama" still pervades the american conscious so prominently. granted, most people probably just like the chorus and don't realize what the song is about, but it's still a blight on our national identity.

on the big plus side, the sex pistols, black sabbath, and blondie were also inducted. god bless sid vicious.


Evan said...


I was humming along to that song one day several years ago when I finally actually listened to the words. When I went home and read the lyrics, I just kind of sat there and said, "Wow, I'm a dumb fuck for ever having liked that song."

So now I yell at people when they play it on a jukebox or whatever.

BTW, glad you're back on blogspot...I don't have any of that myspace/freespace/personalspace/sign-up-to-opine stuff, so this is much more fun for me. And, well, everything is about me.

bunny said...

I didn't know about the lyrics either. eee. Luckily, not a big Skynard fan. Really I'm just posting to second evan's comment. Go Blogspot.

jenny said...

it's like springsteen's born in the usa. who knows what that song's about? all you hear is people humming the tune like "huu ooa hmm... i was _born_ i the usa.. i was _born_.." and so on. i don't think lyrics matter that much to people in general. sadly.

Ian McGibboney said...

Actually, "Sweet Home Alabama" is a direct refutation of Neil Youn'g "Southern Man." That's what really got their goat. I'm glad someone's finally noticed the bizarre lyrics of this song. I feel like I've been on a one-person crusade for years.

Supposedly, the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd who were killed, Van Zant in particular, were pissed about the band's pigeonholed image as Southern conservatives. I read that in Blender, though I don't know how to reconcile that with "Sweet Home Alabama." I do think they were a talented band whose songs weren't all incendiary.

True story: my sister's high school recently did a "Sounds of the South" concert, and "Sweet Home Alabama" was sung in part by a black guy! He even did the line "and the governor's true." Proof positive that no one sits down and listens to these lyrics. The song is catchy and that's all that matters, apparently.

A said...

The only prerequisites for a popular song are
1) "it's got a good beat and I can dance to it"


2) a catchy chorus

Nico said...

The line, "...in Birmingham they love the governor" is sarcasm.

There's a huge divide in the state of Alabama between Birmingham (the main city) and Montgomery (the capital).

Nico said...

But yeah, parts of that song are whacked out.

Like somebody else said though, the chorus is just so catchy.

I'm from Alabama (as is my wife), in an interracial marriage, and my non-white wife loves that song.

It's much easier to ignore the questionable bits and latch onto "Sweet Home Alabama" as a super catchy bit of nostalgia for home (in our case) than to crusade against it. I'm sure hardly anyone thinks of the song in that terms anyway.

Heck, think about how many kids songs ("Ring Around the Rosie" for instance) are about death. People have been ignoring lyrics for ages and ages and ages.

Phillip said...

they lyrics are almost indiscernable in that song anyway, plus i doubt a majority of people would understand the historical context even if they knew the words.

all good points.

Satisfied '75 said...
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