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'60s war protest song is out of step in fashion ad (LAUGH ALERT)
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | September 26, 2005 | RICHARD 'DOPEY' ROEPER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

Posted on 09/26/2005 4:23:05 AM PDT by Chi-townChief

Tens of thousands marched on Washington last Saturday to protest George Bush's war in Iraq. The crowd included college-age activists, veterans of Vietnam War protests, entire families united against the war, and parents whose children have been killed in Iraq.

It was the largest protest yet against this war. Larger ones will almost surely follow.

If there had been a soundtrack to Saturday's march past the White House, you couldn't pick a much more appropriate song to kick it off than Jefferson Airplane's "Volunteers."

Released in 1969 by one of the most politically acute bands of the era, "Volunteers" was a scorching anthem for America's activist youth:

Look what's happening out in the streets

Got a revolution

Got a revolution. . . .

One generation got old

One generation got soul

This generation got no destination to hold, pick up the cry!

Come on now we're marching to the sea

Got a revolution

Got a revolution

Who will take it from you

We will and who are we?

We're volunteers of America

Volunteers of America

Volunteers of America. . . .

I was just a kid when "Volunteers" was playing on alternative radio, but years later, I remember the passion in a college teacher's voice as he projected the lyrics on a giant screen and talked about the power of rock music to galvanize a movement and to reflect the times.

More than 35 years later, it's a different war and a different time, but the American voice of dissent is still strong -- and sure enough, I did hear "Volunteers" last Saturday as that protest was under way.

However, it wasn't blaring from a loudspeaker in Washington. It was on my television, during a break from a college football game, and it was the anthem for a Tommy Hilfiger commercial, with lots of beautiful people undulating around in the name of . . . fashion.

Of course, this sort of thing is nothing new. For years, I've talked about rock songs of protest and anger that have been turned into ads for luxury cars or themes for conservative politicians.

But this has to be one of the worst. "Volunteers" for Tommy Hilfiger? How do the writers for "Saturday Night Live" come up with parody commercials these days, when the real things are so often so ridiculous?

mailto:rroeper@suntimes.com


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Political Humor/Cartoons; Politics/Elections; US: Illinois; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 1firstkeyword; aginghippies; antiwar; democrap; genx; hippies; leberals; leftis; liberalpigs; liberals; music; pigressives; rats; revolutionchic; sissyboys; the60sareover; volunteers; wannabees; war; wot
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As usual, Dopey Roeper has it backwards. A fashion ad (anti-American, of course) is exactly what "Volunteers" was at the time and still is.
1 posted on 09/26/2005 4:23:06 AM PDT by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief
Larger ones will almost surely follow.

You can just feel the hope for larger demonstrations on Dopey's part.

2 posted on 09/26/2005 4:29:00 AM PDT by Bahbah (Praying for those in the path of Rita)
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To: Chi-townChief

Beatniks are out to make it rich, bump...


3 posted on 09/26/2005 4:39:38 AM PDT by LRS (Fly Jefferson Airplane...)
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To: Chi-townChief
"The crowd included college-age activists, veterans of Vietnam War protests, entire families united against the war, and parents whose children have been killed in Iraq."


College-age activists? Gee ... That's gotta be a first!

Veterans of Vietnam War protests? What? ... you mean they get campaign ribbons for that?

Parents whose children have been killed in Iraq? So, ... Saint Sheehan was there after all.



4 posted on 09/26/2005 4:40:42 AM PDT by G.Mason
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To: LRS

As Garofalo said, it just "wasn't very hip" to protest Clinton's wars.


5 posted on 09/26/2005 4:54:38 AM PDT by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief
I doubt the song's writers are complaining too hard....LOL (assuming they still own the rights).

I heard Sweet's "Teenage Rampage" the other day on a commercial (a truck, I believe it was). That was one of nmy favorite songs growing up, by one of my favorite bands...and my first thought was "cool, they got some money coming in...".

-Eric

6 posted on 09/26/2005 4:58:42 AM PDT by E Rocc (Anyone who thinks Bush-bashing is banned from FR has never read a Middle East thread.)
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To: Chi-townChief
Nothing sadder than an old hippie reminiscing about "back in the day". Drop some Geritol, drink some Metamucil and mellow out dude!

"Volunteers" must not have been too great a song if I've never heard it. Growing up in post-hippie CA, I thought I had heard just about all of those lame-assed protest tunes forced on me by various teachers at one time or another. I always thought they were so angry and miserable because they couldn't bathe or shave.

7 posted on 09/26/2005 5:00:13 AM PDT by EricT.
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To: EricT.
"Volunteers" must not have been too great a song if I've never heard it.

I don't recall it being much of commercial success. I was still a foolish fan of the Airplane, up through their "transformation" into Starship, so yes, Kantner, Balin, Slick, etc, were still making some money off of me...

8 posted on 09/26/2005 5:06:27 AM PDT by LRS (Fly Jefferson Airplane...)
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To: Chi-townChief

Notice no Cambodians or Vietnamese were in the group, gee, I wonder what happened to all of them?


9 posted on 09/26/2005 5:08:17 AM PDT by U S Army EOD (LET ME KNOW WHERE HANOI JANE FONDA IS WHEN SHE TOURS)
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To: Chi-townChief
As usual, Dopey Roeper has it backwards. A fashion ad (anti-American, of course) is exactly what "Volunteers" was at the time and still is.

Well put, Chi. And of course Grace Slick was a fashion model herself, further bolstering your point. Wasn't it Nike that used The Beatles' "Revolution" in an ad a few years back? The "Movement" has been all show-biz, all the time. It's only the losers in the streets who take it seriously.

10 posted on 09/26/2005 5:08:31 AM PDT by speedy
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To: LRS

Remember "The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil?"


11 posted on 09/26/2005 5:10:54 AM PDT by speedy
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To: speedy

Oh, yes. "After Bathing at Baxter's". That really wasn't that bad of an LP. A little too far out for most people at the time...


12 posted on 09/26/2005 5:13:15 AM PDT by LRS (Fly Jefferson Airplane...)
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To: speedy
The "Movement" has been all show-biz, all the time. It's only the losers in the streets who take it seriously.

I remember once reading that Jerry Garcia said something along the lines of, "Sellout? Hell we've been trying to sell out for 25 years but nobody's buying."

13 posted on 09/26/2005 5:14:31 AM PDT by metesky (This land was your land, this land is MY land; I bought the rights from a town selectman!)
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To: LRS

Oh, please, somebody besides me remember Donovan, too.


14 posted on 09/26/2005 5:22:41 AM PDT by dsc
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To: speedy
I'm the guilty one who has just downloaded After Bathing at Baxter's and Crown of Creation on iTunes. Most of that music I never heard when it was new (I was an 8 or 10 year old kid at the time), but we heard it in college circa 1980 when we went through our west coast neo-psychedelic phase.

Some of the music is wonderfully loopy and strange. Crown of Creation has an absolutely unique love song: Triad, where Grace Slick is asking two guys, why can't we just be three? But the title track is a bit anemic compared to the live version that appears on the band's final album 30 Seconds Over Winterland.

Volunteers has one absolutely amazing track on it (although I do like the title track): their version of the Crosby-Stills song Wooden Ships.

Irrelevant personal detail: If you look at the back cover of 30 Seconds Over Winterland, you will see the lightshow graphics projected above the band. This was the Heavy Water Lightshow, which in later years did lightshows at a planetarium out west. I was a student intern in the planetarium and worked for the lightshow as an usher one summer. They used Wooden Ships on the soundtrack. I never got tired of the song.

15 posted on 09/26/2005 5:24:22 AM PDT by megatherium
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To: dsc

Oh, yes. I was once a Donavan fan.


16 posted on 09/26/2005 5:24:49 AM PDT by LRS (Fly Jefferson Aiplane...)
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To: LRS

No, I was begging not to be the only one who remembered it.


17 posted on 09/26/2005 5:27:33 AM PDT by dsc
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This is the very first time I have seen the words.
? I still don't think they're the right ones.

It is a great tune, but the words are weak.


18 posted on 09/26/2005 5:27:53 AM PDT by Syberyenta
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To: megatherium

Jefferson Airplane had their moments, but the group was simply too diverse in their interests to keep it going...


19 posted on 09/26/2005 5:27:57 AM PDT by LRS (Fly Jefferson Aiplane...)
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To: metesky

When these idjits started trying to "re-popularize" these 60s and 70s protest type songs, all I could see in my mind was some aging singer/songwriter thinking, "Screw this 12 Step crap - I've got drug money again!"


20 posted on 09/26/2005 5:28:31 AM PDT by Emmett McCarthy
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To: dsc; LRS

Sunshine Superman was good and Mellow Yellow was listenable but the moronic songs about Atlantis, the mountain, and his shirt are still among some of the worst music ever produced.


21 posted on 09/26/2005 5:30:40 AM PDT by Chi-townChief
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To: metesky

"that Jerry Garcia said something"

All those years, even seeing them live, and the only song they ever did that I halfway liked was "I Will Survive."

I remember when the MSM reported that Jerry Garcia was known as "Captain Trips" because he had taken LSD ten times.

It was a more naive age, in a lot of ways. Too bad that naivete translated into utter certainty in error.


22 posted on 09/26/2005 5:30:47 AM PDT by dsc
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To: Chi-townChief

The coverage I saw showed no tens of thousands of protesters.

It showed camera close-ups of 12-20 or so people....a sure sign that there was not much of a crowd there.

If the media could have shown a helicopter view of tens of thousands they would gladly have done so.


23 posted on 09/26/2005 5:31:05 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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To: dsc

Too late!

Look on yonder misty mountain
See the young monk meditating rhododendron forest
Over dusty years, I ask you
What's it been like being you ?
Through all levels you've been changing
Getting a little bit better no doubt,
The doctor bit was so far out.
Looking through crystal spectacles,
I can see I had your fun.
Doing us paperback reader
Made the teacher suspicious about insanity,
Fingers always touching girl.
Through all levels you've been changing
Getting a little bit better no doubt,
The doctor bit was so far out.
Looking through all kinds of windows
I can see I had your fun.
Looking through all kinds of windows
I can see I had your fun.
Looking through crystal spectacles
I can see I had your fun.
Looking through crystal spectacles
I can see I had your fun.
Rebelling against society,
Such a tiny speculating whether to be a hip or
Skip along quite merrily.
Through all levels you've been changing
Elevator in the brain hotel
Broken down a-just as well-a
Looking through crystal spectacles,
Ah, I can see I had your fun.
Dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum dum
Dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum dum
Dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum dum
Dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum dum
Dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum dum


24 posted on 09/26/2005 5:31:18 AM PDT by LRS (Fly Jefferson Aiplane...)
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To: Chi-townChief; LRS

On the other hand, people are still doing covers of "Season of the Witch."


25 posted on 09/26/2005 5:32:40 AM PDT by dsc
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To: dsc

Oh, yeah - it goes without saying that Season of the Witch kicks ass.


26 posted on 09/26/2005 5:33:28 AM PDT by Chi-townChief
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To: dsc

Season of the Witch has been running through my brain since Cindy Sheehan appeared on the scene...


27 posted on 09/26/2005 5:34:18 AM PDT by LRS (Fly Jefferson Aiplane...)
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To: Emmett McCarthy

"When these idjits started trying to "re-popularize" these 60s and 70s protest type songs"

Yeah, but when the Doors are kicking on Roadhouse Blues they sound as good as anything before or after them.

The problem is, IMO, that nothing really new has happened in decades -- except rap, and that's a spiritual disorder, not music.

I am so sick of the lead-singer-lead-guitar-rythm-guitar-bass-drums-and-maybe-keyboards format that I could just puke.

The only things that have really appealed to me in years have been Charlotte Church and Norah Jones.


28 posted on 09/26/2005 5:38:05 AM PDT by dsc
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To: LRS

"Season of the Witch has been running through my brain since Cindy Sheehan appeared on the scene... "

Really? "Season of the Lame-ass Braindead Whiney Liberal Gink" has been going through mine.

Of course, that one wasn't as big a hit...


29 posted on 09/26/2005 5:41:03 AM PDT by dsc
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To: Chi-townChief
Tens of thousands marched on Washington last Saturday

Sorry, had to stop right there. From what I was on C-SPAN, there were not any where near that many people. Looks like someone is exagerating a bit!!! (Quite a bit)

30 posted on 09/26/2005 5:43:38 AM PDT by KosmicKitty (Well... There you go again!)
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To: dsc

Of course, I had to redo the lyrics:

She's got to be a bitch
The fools are rolling in a ditch
Oh No!
Must be the Season of the Witch...


31 posted on 09/26/2005 5:46:28 AM PDT by LRS (Fly Jefferson Aiplane...)
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To: dsc

Jerry Garcia.... best song... "Casey Jones"


32 posted on 09/26/2005 5:58:30 AM PDT by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
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To: Chi-townChief

If you can remember the 1960s and particularly the lyrics of the protest songs you probably weren't there. My recollection of these hippie peace fests was the cloud of pot smoke and utterly stoned participants.


33 posted on 09/26/2005 6:01:24 AM PDT by The Great RJ (q)
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To: Dick Vomer
Driving that train, high on cocaine,
Casey Jones is ready, watch your speed.
Trouble ahead, trouble behind,
And you know that notion just crossed my mind.

This old engine makes it on time,
Leaves Central Station 'bout a quarter to nine,
Hits River Junction at seventeen to,
At a quarter to ten you know it's travlin' again.

Driving that train, high on cocaine,
Casey Jones is ready, watch your speed.
Trouble ahead, trouble behind,
And you know that notion just crossed my mind.

Trouble ahead, Lady in red,
Take my advice you'd be better off dead.
Switchman's sleeping, train hundred and two is
On the wrong track and headed for you.

Driving that train, high on cocaine,
Trouble ahead, trouble behind,
And you know that notion just crossed my mind.

Trouble with you is the trouble with me,
Got two good eyes but you still don't see.
Come round the bend, you know it's the end,
The fireman screams and the engine just gleams...

34 posted on 09/26/2005 6:02:48 AM PDT by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
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To: dsc

I used to like "Catch The Wind" and he had a few others that were listenable -- "Jennifer Juniper" was harmless enough. But he did seem to become increasingly empty-headed as he went along, leading up to, as was mentioned, "The Continent Of Atlantis" or whatever the official title was. How about "I Like My Shirt." Not sure what hallucigen induced that one. Just thought of a few others -- "There Is A Mountain" and "Universal Soldier" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man."


35 posted on 09/26/2005 6:04:29 AM PDT by speedy
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To: dsc

"Catch The Wind"? I remember Donovan, the 2nd rate Bob Dylan.

I may even have had a Donovan LP, but I was more Rolling Stones than flower power.


36 posted on 09/26/2005 6:07:35 AM PDT by garyhope
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To: speedy

Yeah, he just got smaller and smaller as he receded in the distance, off in the direction of loony land.


37 posted on 09/26/2005 6:08:27 AM PDT by dsc
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To: Dick Vomer

"Jerry Garcia.... best song... "Casey Jones"

Well, in the immortal words of Dr. Hook in their pre-hit days, "Some folks like ham hocks, and some folks like pork chops, and some folks like vegetable stew. Roland the Roadie loves Gertrude the Groupie, but Gertrude the Groupie loves groups."


38 posted on 09/26/2005 6:10:35 AM PDT by dsc
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To: megatherium

I just went over and checked by original vinyl of the "Volunteers" album. I had forgotten that David Crosby and Stephen Stills perfomred on there, along with Jerry Garcia. Also have my "Surrealistic Pillow" and "Bless Its Pointed Little Head" albums, although I don't think I have listened to them in over 30 years. Now "3/5 Of A Mile In Ten Seconds;" there's one that isn't for everybody.


39 posted on 09/26/2005 6:13:09 AM PDT by speedy
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To: Chi-townChief

I couldn't help but smile when I first saw the commercial. LOL. A fashion song. Too funny.


40 posted on 09/26/2005 6:13:13 AM PDT by Enterprise (The modern Democrat Party - a toxic stew of mental illness, cultism, and organized crime.)
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To: Chi-townChief

When President Reagan demolished the Berlin Wall and destroyed the iron curtain, I was finally able to sign "We Shall Overcome" with Peter, Paul, & Mary.


41 posted on 09/26/2005 6:13:32 AM PDT by S.O.L.
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To: dsc

Yup. More than once I heard him described as someone who truly wasted his talent. But I'm sure it kept him in drug money.


42 posted on 09/26/2005 6:14:14 AM PDT by speedy
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To: Bahbah

Good observation.

The story was tuned more towards promoting more war protests.

The writer takes liberties that there are many who do not support the operation in Iraq.

Typical liberal Bu!! $hit.

They have ugly old Cindy is the poster girl for the liberal left.


43 posted on 09/26/2005 6:17:13 AM PDT by OKIEDOC (There's nothing like hearing someone say thank you for your help.)
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To: metesky

At least he was being honest about it. Unlike John Lennon singing "Imagine all the people sharing all the wealth." I loved The Beatles, but I didn't see John living a lifestyle anything close to the average.


44 posted on 09/26/2005 6:17:17 AM PDT by speedy
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To: Chi-townChief
Released in 1969 by one of the most politically acute bands of the era, "Volunteers" was a scorching anthem for America's activist youth:

Politically acute? Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, and Marty Balin? I think they were primarily acid heads.... They did make some good music though!

45 posted on 09/26/2005 6:19:03 AM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: dsc

Just call me Mellow Yellow!


46 posted on 09/26/2005 6:21:28 AM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: speedy

"But I'm sure it kept him in drug money"

Till he died.


47 posted on 09/26/2005 6:22:27 AM PDT by dsc
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To: dsc

You've got me there. I did not know he was dead. Now we really can call him Mellow Yellow (Quite Rightly.)


48 posted on 09/26/2005 6:27:01 AM PDT by speedy
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To: speedy

"Also have my "Surrealistic Pillow"

Had that in vinyl, had it in cassette; haven't bought it in CD.

A couple of years ago I saw an interview with Grace Slick on a VHS about the Doors in Europe...what a sanctimonious, air-headed, arrogant...I could go on, but why?

When I think back to those days, I just have to wonder: how did so many people get so wrong about so much so quickly? I mean, we thought we were better than any people who ever came before us, that we were the next step in the evolution of humanity -- and everything we knew was wrong.

I thank God that reality squoze that out of me. But for the Grace of God, I could have been like Beelzebubba and the Hildebeeste, and never have come out of it.


49 posted on 09/26/2005 6:29:05 AM PDT by dsc
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To: speedy

"You've got me there."

Naw, I ain't got nothin'. I thought you were talking about Jerry Garcia.


50 posted on 09/26/2005 6:29:57 AM PDT by dsc
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