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Music for the pre-Cold War II era

March 18, 2014 - Paul Giannamore
As often is the case, when I’m blue, worried, happy, sad or just plain worried about world events, I find solace in music.

Following the Russian official’s statement about being the only country that could turn the U.S. to radioactive ash, I thought we:

1. Have a nuke force asleep at the switch.

2. Have a president who seems to be thinking like Jimmy Carter right before the Shah fell.

3. Have not even the means to rearm ourselves without help because we’ve given away our factories, the very industrial and technical might that won World War II and went on to build the greatest equipped fighting forces in the history of the world (that thought brought on by the political victory lap in Weirton that didn’t offer photo ops near the rusting hulk once proudly called Weirton Steel).

And so, it was music time.

First, for sheer humor, I tuned up the Russian National Anthem, as I did often when things were going south at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, once Russian steel oligarch Alexei Mordashov bought the place. I’m figuring our steel magnate, who runs the Rouge in Detroit with coke made in Follansbee, might just turn up on Neville Chamberlain Obama’s next oligarchs sanction list, meaning he’ll actually be picking on the steel industry once more instead of getting back at the folks he claims to be sanctioning. Of course, the average person probably figures so long as Obama leaves Yvgeni Malkin and the other NHL Russians alone, life is good.

Then, I cued up a rousing live rendition of Paul McCartney doing “Back in the USSR” in Moscow a few years ago.

“Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out, they leave the West behind,” goes the lyric. Seems to apply somehow here.

About the only thing the lyric lacks in the current news climate would be a line like “Flew in from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Air, have no idea where I was…”

And to complete the tri-fecta of a morning music cheer-me-up was a classic, seldom heard anymore tune by Chicago, penned by Robert Lamm in the days after Watergate and quite popular circa 1975: “Harry Truman.” It includes the most correctly politically deep lyrics possible that still ring true, from the Truman era to the 1970s post-Watergate era to today, a time when there is no Ronald Reagan standing firm tellling the Russian leaders the what-for.

“America’s wondering how we got here, Harry, all we get is lies. We’re getting safer cars. Rocketships to Mars. From men who’d sell us out to get themselves a piece of power.”


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