A few years ago, John J. Miller asked National Review readers to submit their favorite rock songs with conservative themes or messages. It was a contrarian kind of request since, as he said, “at first glance, rock and roll music isn’t very conservative.” Based on reader input, though, he compiled a list of the top 50 conservative rock songs of all time, and it inspired so much feedback that an encore, 50 song list was soon added.
NR cast the net wide, and their lists included songs that questioned political revolution, supported traditional values, and affirmed religious faith, all of which are unquestionably conservative values. IMO, though, one area was under-explored, and that was the overall issue of liberty. By liberty, I mean something more than license, or the ability to do what you want without considering the consequences for yourself or others. There are lots of songs like that, and some are clearly liberty-loving. But there’s a deeper kind of liberty too - rugged individualism, taking control and responsibility for your own affairs, and resisting government attempts to run your life. These ideas also seem consistent with the spirit of rock and roll, and they’re clearly relevant to our current moment and the roiling tsunami that’s about to hit the most meddlesome political class in recent memory.
All of which may mean that it’s time for a new list – a list of liberty-loving rock songs. Call it a liberty soundtrack. Stuff you can load onto your iPod before heading to a Tea Party. Tunes to make you party like it’s 1994. Music for the restoration.
YR readers (and contributors), we want your suggestions. What are your favorite liberty-loving songs? Any ideas can be posted in the comments here or, if you’d like to submit privately, you can send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me get the ball rolling, which I’ll do by linking to the original NR list. When NR asked for feedback, I suggested a song that made the final cut (ranked at #36). This song is part of an album that itself has a pronounced, liberty-loving vibe. It came out nearly a quarter century ago, but it’s as timely today as when it was first released. More details on this mostly-forgotten album after the jump.