Flying Burrito Brothers' The Gilded Palace of Sin by Proehl Bob

Flying Burrito Brothers' The Gilded Palace of Sin by Proehl Bob

Author:Proehl, Bob
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Continuum International Publishing
Published: 2008-04-14T16:00:00+00:00


Wrath: My Uncle

“See the evasions so many don,

To flee the guilt of time…”

Delmore Schwartz

There are so many issues one can take with the Eagles, but here’s one germane to the current discussion: In June 1972, the band released their debut album, cleverly titled Eagles, featuring the singles “Take It Easy” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” both of which would become signature songs for the band.57

What else was going on in the world while the Eagles were runnin’ down the road, tryin’ to loosen their loads? Nixon’s plans for Vietnamization of the war were moving slowly, with U.S. soldiers still pouring into the country by the thousands, and early indications were that the transfer of hostilities to the South Vietnamese military would be ultimately unsuccessful. As his plans abroad failed, Nixon’s plans at home flourished: He was creeping towards reelection by the second largest margin ever in a presidential election, thanks in part to a little hotel break-in that went down the same month the Eagles debuted and hindered little by the leak of the incriminating Pentagon Papers the year previous.

Despite this, the Eagles found themselves possessed by a peaceful, easy feeling that they knew wouldn’t let them down. Take it easy, they urged listeners; don’t let the sounds of your own wheels make you crazy.

As easy (not to mention fun!) as it might be to vilify the Eagles for their blissful ignorance of world events, by 1972 the marriage of rock and politics had all but ended. While R&B and funk music were becoming ever more radicalized, rock music had largely left politics behind in favor of the personal confessional styles of singer songwriters like James Taylor and Cat Stevens, the bombastic arena rock and Tolkein dabbling of Led Zeppelin or the Lovecraft-infused prog of Black Sabbath. Left coast country rockers were just as happy to leave politics out of things, and the Eagles were no exception.

But in truth, politics had been left out of country rock since its inception. “I don’t like the ‘I ain’t marchin’ anymore’ attitude,” Gram Parsons told a reporter in 1970, distancing himself from the political activism common among rock musicians on the West Coast. But when a draft notice showed up at Burrito Manor at the end of 1968, the Flying Burrito Brothers fell into step with the sentiments of the anti-war movement.

Rock music of the sixties tended towards vocal leftist politics and saw itself as aligned with the student antiwar movements. Rock music and the counterculture it represented and produced were almost inherently political and of the moment, so much so that a simple concert could be seen as a major victory in the war against oppression, a step towards getting us out of Vietnam. Dressing like a hippie was a political statement, Haight-Ashbury was party headquarters for a political movement based not around whom you voted for, but what you wore, what you ingested, and whom you slept with. Within the hippie movement, the personal, the cultural, and the musical were political.

Country music also evidence a fair share of politics.


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