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Randy Newman: "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country"

  • Tuesday, January 23, 2007
    Randy Newman: "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country"

    Read the full lyrics below to Randy Newman's "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country," which appeared in an abridged version today in the New York Times.

    The song is now available exclusively at iTunes.

    Watch Randy perform it live here:


    A Few Words in Defense of Our Country

    I’d like to say a few words
    In defense of our country
    Whose people aren’t bad nor are they mean
    Now the leaders we have
    While they’re the worst that we’ve had
    Are hardly the worst this poor world has seen

    Let’s turn history’s pages, shall we?

    Take the Caesars for example
    Why within the first few of them
    They were sleeping with their sister
    Stashing little boys in swimming pools
    And burning down the City
    And one of ‘em, one of ‘em
    Appointed his own horse Consul of the Empire
    That’s like vice president or something
    That’s not a very good example, is it?
    But wait, here’s one, the Spanish Inquisition
    They put people in a terrible position
    I don’t even like to think about it
    Well, sometimes I like to think about it

    Just a few words in defense of our country
    Whose time at the top
    Could be coming to an end
    Now we don’t want their love
    And respect at this point is pretty much out of the question
    But in times like these
    We sure could use a friend

    Hitler. Stalin.
    Men who need no introduction
    King Leopold of Belgium. That’s right.
    Everyone thinks he’s so great
    Well he owned The Congo
    He tore it up too
    He took the diamonds, he took the gold
    He took the silver
    Know what he left them with?
    Malaria

    A President once said,
    “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
    Now it seems like we’re supposed to be afraid
    It’s patriotic in fact and color coded
    And what are we supposed to be afraid of?
    Why, of being afraid
    That’s what terror means, doesn’t it?
    That’s what it used to mean

    [To the first eight bars of “Columbia The Gem Of The Ocean”]

    You know it pisses me off a little
    That this Supreme Court is gonna outlive me
    A couple of young Italian fellas and a brother on the Court now too
    But I defy you, anywhere in the world
    To find me two Italians as tightass as the two Italians we got
    And as for the brother
    Well, Pluto’s not a planet anymore either

    The end of an empire is messy at best
    And this empire is ending
    Like all the rest
    Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
    We’re adrift in the land of the brave
    And the home of the free

    Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

    Journal Articles:Video
on January 23, 2007 - 6:47pm
Excerpt: 

Read along to the full lyrics of Randy Newman's "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" while watching Randy performing the song live on video. An abridged version of the lyrics appeared in today's New York Times. A recording of the song is now available exclusively at iTunes.

Copy: 

Read the full lyrics below to Randy Newman's "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country," which appeared in an abridged version today in the New York Times.

The song is now available exclusively at iTunes.

Watch Randy perform it live here:


A Few Words in Defense of Our Country

I’d like to say a few words
In defense of our country
Whose people aren’t bad nor are they mean
Now the leaders we have
While they’re the worst that we’ve had
Are hardly the worst this poor world has seen

Let’s turn history’s pages, shall we?

Take the Caesars for example
Why within the first few of them
They were sleeping with their sister
Stashing little boys in swimming pools
And burning down the City
And one of ‘em, one of ‘em
Appointed his own horse Consul of the Empire
That’s like vice president or something
That’s not a very good example, is it?
But wait, here’s one, the Spanish Inquisition
They put people in a terrible position
I don’t even like to think about it
Well, sometimes I like to think about it

Just a few words in defense of our country
Whose time at the top
Could be coming to an end
Now we don’t want their love
And respect at this point is pretty much out of the question
But in times like these
We sure could use a friend

Hitler. Stalin.
Men who need no introduction
King Leopold of Belgium. That’s right.
Everyone thinks he’s so great
Well he owned The Congo
He tore it up too
He took the diamonds, he took the gold
He took the silver
Know what he left them with?
Malaria

A President once said,
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
Now it seems like we’re supposed to be afraid
It’s patriotic in fact and color coded
And what are we supposed to be afraid of?
Why, of being afraid
That’s what terror means, doesn’t it?
That’s what it used to mean

[To the first eight bars of “Columbia The Gem Of The Ocean”]

You know it pisses me off a little
That this Supreme Court is gonna outlive me
A couple of young Italian fellas and a brother on the Court now too
But I defy you, anywhere in the world
To find me two Italians as tightass as the two Italians we got
And as for the brother
Well, Pluto’s not a planet anymore either

The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free

Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

Publish date: 
Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - 15:47
Article Type: 
featuredimage: 
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Comments

Well- Randy. I am not sure your song would do it for me. Your references to the past, while interesting, hardly convey ownership of your country’s own demise. Afterall, the citizens of the United States put Mr. Bush into the office to start with (well- perhaps a bit too much credit for his dubious win!). Also, this is not the first time in the history your country’s integrity has been questioned. In the spirit of turning pages, let’s remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and revisit the still haunting, devastating effect of the Agent Orange on the citizens of Vietnam. And has your country ever truly owned the dark history of slavery and its devastating effects on African Americans?

I think what your country needs now is not a defense of its reputation. Rather your country needs lots of courage to show the world that it can be humble and take responsibility.

Randy’s got his finger on the pulse of the nation (again). And how can a thinking person read this as anything other than a tongue-in-cheek “defense”? Thank God (whoever she is) for songwriter-poets.