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thing of the past | thing to come

What: "The Walls Came Down," The Call's declaration of war against the military-industrial complex off its 1983 album Modern Romans.


Why: In 1983, just as now, the world looked like it was coming apart. As the Soviet Union and United States staked out their respective positions as evil empires in each other's eyes, the center could not hold. Meanwhile, America began to learn what the word "terrorism" meant, as its embassy in Lebanon and the U.S. Senate were bombed. We were facing an uncertain future, and Michael Been of The Call distilled that tremulous uncertainty into an unignorable klaxon based on the battle of Jericho. "They blew their horns, and the walls came down," Been sang, following it with the punch in the gut: "They'd all been warned, and the walls came down." More than any other song of protest, "The Walls Came Down" spelled out the consequences of not listening to the disenfranchised.

Impact: The song was a cult hit, followed up by modest successes such as "Everywhere I Go" and "I Still Believe". But importantly, the revolution didn't happen in America. Instead, the walls actually did come down, in Berlin and elsewhere. Because the Russians and Yanks blinked, the revolution here was delayed throughout a period of prosperity unequaled in history. It was only in late 2008, when, propped up by derivatives tossed like candy by corporate criminals, Wall Street came crashing down. But as Been notes, the corporate criminals still have the tanks. The Occupy movement seems inclined to stare them down. Here's a song to inspire them through the uncertain times ahead.

Personal Connection: At first, I admit I didn't understand the Occupy movement. As the owner of a business and a firm adherent of the capitalist ethic, I don't actually want the walls to come down. But even I can't ignore how metastasized the cancer in the system has become. Tipped by regime topplers in the Arab world and capitol squatters in Madison, the folks in Zuccotti Park, in McPherson Square, in Westlake Mall, and everywhere else in the world have figured it out. The organized system of crackdowns has tried to take away their voices, but through tactics like hand signals and the human microphone, they have shown their determination to heed the call. Let the day begin.

Other Contenders: Occupy Wall Street is getting a soundtrack, so I won't presume to know what its equivalent of Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" will be. I'm partial to Ry Cooder's "Wall Street Part of Town", but I expect it'll come from some voice we've not heard. Maybe it'll be Lupe Fiasco's rap poem "Moneyman".

Comments

( 9 comments — Agree or disagree? )
ezekiel_stryker
Nov. 27th, 2011 03:04 am (UTC)
Where I don't disagree, my personal preference is for the following:



Minus the whole crowing bit- which is part of the whole C&C story. But I think it's a kick ass revolution song.
selinker
Nov. 27th, 2011 03:17 am (UTC)
The only C&C I really know is the Music Factory. But I can see why you might like this.
tahnan
Nov. 28th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
Wow, I'd utterly forgotten this song. (Though I've never forgotten "I Still Believe". What a fantastic song.)
tahnan
Nov. 28th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
...oh, also, I meant to mention that I hadn't known that OWS was getting a soundtrack, though I would have personally been fine had the article you linked to not ended by saying,
Ironically, while Nash is correct in that the movement has been relatively peaceful, some of the sites have turned violent in the past month -- namely in Oakland -- and the cost of policing the movement has resulted in a $13 million of spending in cities to maintain the movement
Because, really? We measure First Amendment rights in their cost to cities? And it was the movement that turned violent in Oakland, as opposed to, say, that $13 million worth of police presence?

Sorry.
selinker
Nov. 29th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
The cost to cities of Occupy Wall Street is nothing compared to the cost of continuing on the path we're on.
davechristian
Dec. 21st, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)
Two things come to mind...
But they have no bearing on anything other than this song (The Walls Came Down) and other music around that time.

Mike - I've always liked your taste in music and believe it must have been, like mine, influenced by college radio of the early/mid 80s.

With that being said, let me offer up 2 songs that "The Walls Came Down" bring to mind.

Cruiser's Creek - The Fall
Ink and Paper - Modern English

Both "B" grade songs by otherwise semi-popular artists.
selinker
Dec. 24th, 2011 01:54 am (UTC)
Re: Two things come to mind...
I like both those bands a lot. "Ink and Paper" is a particular favorite.
debrawillis
Dec. 27th, 2011 09:16 am (UTC)
Yes! I agree. I liked the song in 1983 (I didn't know it came out over twenty years ago) and I like it now. Blow that horn Occupiers.
selinker
Dec. 28th, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)
It feels a lot more recent. I can't quite say why.
( 9 comments — Agree or disagree? )

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