Michael KreponYear-End Contest

It’s that time of year again: time for the annual (?) contest for readers whose aesthetic reach extends their technical grasp. Last year’s contest – best quip about the Bomb – was a resounding success. This time around, let’s combine wonkdom with music lyrics. Two competitions: the best lyric about the bomb, and the best stanza altered to become about the Bomb. Can you dip into your music collections to rise to this challenge? We shall see.

As before, the grand prize in each category will be an autographed copy with an inscription of your choice of a soon-to-be-remaindered book by yours truly. I have recruited my ACW co-conspirators, Jeffrey Lewis and Josh Pollack to help me with the judging. So as not to get too wonkbound on our panel of judges, I’ve wrangled the services of an external reviewer who has graciously waived his usual consulting fee. He is an avid concert-goer who knows his way around the dance floor, who introduced me to the Drive-By Truckers, My Morning Jacket, and the Black Keys, and who is helping our 15 month-old grand-daughter to polish her first dance moves. I speak of none other than The Total Package, Josh Krepon.

Oh, yes, the contest. Here’s how to play. First category: nuke-related lyric. Pick your favorite stanza from a song about the Bomb. For example, “Ape Man,” by the Kinks, a great band:

I’m a King Kong man, I’m a voo-doo man, I’m an ape man
I don’t feel safe in this world no more
I don’t want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore
And make like an ape man

ACW readers: I know you can top this. But not with “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” by Fall Out Boy which, it so happens, ain’t about the Bomb. A pity. The best stanza chosen by our panel of judges wins.

Second category: best altered lyric. Take the Kinks again. Celluloid Heroes is one of my all-time favorites. How might it be altered to become about the Bomb? Here’s the original lyric:

Everybody’s a dreamer and everybody’s a star,
And everybody’s in movies, it doesn’t matter who you are.
There are stars in every city,
In every house and on every street,
And if you walk down Hollywood Boulevard,
Their names are written in concrete.

Here’s my alteration:

Everybody’s a pundit, and everybody’s a star,
And everybody wants air time, it doesn’t matter who you are.
There are nukes in every bunker,
In every silo, near and far,
Write a book on Sound Bite Boulevard, and hitch
A ride in Jon Stewart’s town car.

I know, pretty lame. I’m counting on you, Dear Readers, to do better. Unwrap your creativity before you unwrap your presents. Please submit the original stanza as well as your adaptation. We’ll try this for two weeks (unless this contest bombs). Entries will be posted upon arrival.


  1. Scott Thomas Bruce (History)

    Awesome. Here if my contribution…

    Cease to engage, shell Yeonpyeong Island.
    Dispatch envoys with an offer to Yangon.
    You think I’m sanctioned, but I get currency
    From a wave of proliferation.

    Adaptation of:
    Cease to resist, giving my goodbye.
    Drive my car into the ocean.
    You’ll think I’m dead, but I sail away.
    On a wave of mutilation.

    On a slightly related note I am disappointed by ACW’s commentary on Secretary Clinton’s trip to Myanmar. The Secretary of State goes on a Mission to Burma and there is not one Mission of Burma reference on the site? What gives guys?

    • Jeffrey (History)

      Wait, did we discuss Mission of Burma in Tokyo? I think we did. This calls for some YouTube.

  2. anon (History)

    I have two entries for the first contest. One is quite literal (and absolutely bone-chilling when Sting sang it to open the Grammys back when we all were young:)

    From Russians, by Sting:

    How can I save my little boy
    From Oppenheimer’s deadly toy?
    There is no monopoly on common sense
    On either side of the political fence
    We share the same biology
    Regardless of ideology
    Believe me when I say to you
    I hope the Russians love their children too

    And the other is a little less obvious, but I’m certain its about nukes and its one of the songs that really moved me when I was getting into this business

    From Before the Deluge, by Jackson Browne:

    Some of them were angry
    At the way the earth was abused
    By the men who learned how to forge her beauty into power
    And they struggled to protect her from them
    Only to be confused
    By the magnitude of her fury in the final hour
    And when the sand was gone and the time arrived
    In the naked dawn only a few survived
    And in attempts to understand a thing so simple and so huge
    Believed that they were meant to live after the deluge

  3. VS (History)

    Sweet! I’ll try the altered lyrics category. I’ll take you back to 2003 for the nuclear component and even further back for the original song, which BTW needs no further introductions. It’s the 1964 classic “Mr. Tambourine Man” by the great Bob Dylan. (Sorry for the blasphemy Mr. Dylan!)

    Hey Mr. A.Q. Khan! – by VS – 2007
    Adaptation of Mr. Tambourine Man)

    Hey! Mr. A.Q. Khan just sell a nuke to me
    I’m so freakin’ lagging in nuclear technology
    Sell me a centrifuge that really knows to spin
    For this clandestine program that I’m working on!

    Though I’ve adhered to the NPT, Nuclear States still hate me
    Why could that be?
    I guess they must be allergic to my regime
    My patience amazes me, but I made up my mind
    Doesn’t pay to be so kind
    Having nukes is the only way of deterring

    Hey! Mr. A.Q. Khan just sell a nuke to me
    I’m so f**kin’ lagging in nuclear technology
    Sell me a centrifuge that really knows to spin
    For this clandestine program that I’m working on!

    Send them on a ship, I’ll be sponsoring the trip
    My enemy is asleep
    When they see me with the nuke they will be wondering
    I’m ready to pay anything, no matter what’s your fee
    My security is at stake, the IAEA safeguards I’ll break
    I assure you that somehow I will pull off this trick

    Hey! Mr. A.Q. Khan just sell a nuke to me
    I’m so f**kin’ lagging in nuclear technology
    Don’t you remember me, I’m a friend of Kim-Yong-Ill
    Don’t you worry I’m trustworthy, I can pay your bill!

    Adaptation of:

    Mr. Tambourine Man – By Bob Dylan – 1964

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
    I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to.
    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
    In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

    Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand,
    Vanished from my hand,
    Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping.
    My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet,
    I have no one to meet
    And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming.

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
    I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to.
    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
    In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

    Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship,
    My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip,
    My toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels
    To be wanderin’.
    I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
    Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way,
    I promise to go under it.

    Well. Kinda, sorta. Thanks

  4. Melissa (History)

    To the tune of: “Whatever Lola Wants”

    Whatever Jong-il wants
    Jong-il gets
    And little bomb, little Jong-il wants you
    Make up your mind to have no regrets
    Design yourself, enshrine yourself, go BOOM!
    He always gets what he “aims” for
    And your heart’n soul is what he came for

  5. kme (History)

    For the first category, from “We Will All Go Together When We Go” by Tom Lehrer:

    And we will all bake together when we bake.
    There’ll be nobody present at the wake.
    With complete participation
    In that grand incineration,
    Nearly three billion hunks of well-done steak.

  6. kapowski (History)

    Formerly Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar on Me:

    Tryin’ to move a bomb, baby, like Abdul Q. Khan
    Livin’ like a baller ’til my cover’s blown
    Lookin’ like a scam, but I don’t give a damn
    Sell a turnkey program to someone in Iran?
    Razzle ‘n’ a dazzle in Uranium’s glow
    Better take cover, baby, it’s about to blow
    Sometime, anytime, for a small fee
    For all your ‘tomic needs, baby, just call me, yeah


    Love is like a bomb, baby, c’mon get it on
    Livin’ like a lover with a radar phone
    Lookin’ like a tramp, like a video vamp
    Demolition woman, can I be your man?
    Razzle ‘n’ a dazzle ‘n’ a flash a little light
    Television lover, baby, go all night
    Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet
    Little miss ah innocent sugar me, yeah

    • kapowski (History)

      P.S. that one line should read “Razzle ‘n’ a dazzle: my Uranium’s aglow”

      Thumbs down on the lack of post editing options…

    • Alan (History)

      And of course the very next track on the Hysteria album is Armageddon It. Def Leppard are not renowned for their cerebral lyrics of course, but was it a premonition of 8 years of IAEA and Iran dialogue that prompted this chorus?

      – Are you getting it?
      – Armageddon it.
      – Really getting it?
      – Yes Armageddon it!

      Perhaps not the double entendre they intended. I fear I may have fallen between two stools.

  7. Michel Fortmann (History)

    For the first category. “Political Science” from Randy Newman.A real classic

    No one likes us-I don’t know why
    We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
    But all around, even our old friends put us down
    Let’s drop the big one and see what happens

    We give them money-but are they grateful?
    No, they’re spiteful and they’re hateful
    They don’t respect us-so let’s surprise them
    We’ll drop the big one and pulverize them

    Asia’s crowded and Europe’s too old
    Africa is far too hot
    And Canada’s too cold
    And South America stole our name
    Let’s drop the big one
    There’ll be no one left to blame us

    We’ll save Australia
    Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroo
    We’ll build an All American amusement park there
    They got surfin’, too

    Boom goes London and boom Paris
    More room for you and more room for me
    And every city the whole world round
    Will just be another American town
    Oh, how peaceful it will be
    We’ll set everybody free
    You’ll wear a Japanese kimono babe
    And there’ll be Italian shoes for me

    They all hate us anyhow
    So let’s drop the big one now
    Let’s drop the big one now

  8. Daniel (History)

    Nuke-related lyric:
    Efficiency and progress is ours once more,
    Now that we have the Neutron bomb.
    It’s nice and quick and clean and gets things done.
    Away with excess enemy,
    At no less value to property,
    No sense in war but perfect sense at home.

    – Dead Kennedys ‘Kill The Poor’

  9. Heisbourg (History)

    For best French-language entries I would submit Guy Béart’s marvelous description of the problems of nuclear command and control under conditions of runaway escalation in his ‘Le grand chambardement’ (the great shake-up) (see http://www.lyrics85.com/Guy-Beart-Le-Grand-Chambardement-Lyrics/126777/ ) and Boris Vian’s original take on the bomb-in-the-garage and its creative doctrine on the use thereof in ‘La Java des bombes atomiques’ ( http://www.justsomelyrics.com/37880/Boris-Vian-la-java-des-bombes-atomiques).
    As befits nuclear-minded France, both of these songs made it to the top of the charts in their own time (respectively the Sixties and the Fifties) and remain popular: whistle the tune and even young people will recognize the song.Even anti-war songs (which is what they are) come wrapped in a nuclear guise in this country.

    Merry Xmas, Joyeux Noël to acw.

    François Heisbourg

  10. Kevin (History)

    Luke Kelly (RIP) and the Dubliners’ “Sun is Burning”

    The sun is burning in the sky,
    Strands of clouds go slowly driftin’ by
    In the park, the dreamy bees are droning in the flowers among the trees
    And the sun burns in the sky.

    Now the sun is in the west
    Little babies lay down to take their rest
    And the couples in the park are holding hands and waiting for the dark
    And the sun is sinking low.

    Now the sun has come to earth
    Shrouded in a mushroom cloud of death.
    Death comes in a blinding flash of hellish heat that leaves a smear of ash
    And the sun has come to earth.

    Now the sun has disappeared
    All that’s left is darkness, pain and fear.
    Twisted sightless wrecks of men go crawling on their knees and cry in pain
    And the sun has disappeared

  11. Andy (History)

    The Clash would be too obvious and would probably pander to the proprietors, so I’ll start with Ryan Adams, “Nuclear”

    This is where the summer ends
    In a flash of pure destruction, no one wins
    Go nuclear. Nuclear.
    The violets in my eyelids goin’ red
    Sentimental geek
    Shut up and go to sleep

    The calm, the beach and the remains
    Of the bathing suits and Porsches all in flames
    Go nuclear. Nuclear.
    When I saw her and the Yankees lost to the Braves
    Sentimental geek
    Shut up and go to sleep

    For part II I’m using Cake’s “The distance” Original lyrics:

    Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
    engines pumping and thumping in time.
    the green light flashes, the flags go up.
    churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.
    they deftly maneuver and muscle for rank,
    fuel burning fast on an empty tank.
    reckless and wild, they pour through the turns.
    their prowess is potent and secretly stern.
    as they speed through the finish, the flags go down.
    the fans get up and they get out of town.
    the arena is empty except for one man,
    still driving and striving as fast as he can.
    the sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
    and long ago somebody left with the cup.
    but he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns.
    and thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

    he’s going the distance.
    he’s going for speed.
    she’s all alone
    all alone in her time of need.
    because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
    he’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse,
    he’s going the distance.

    And now my lyrics:

    The missile is crouched, the launch is on line,
    the fuel is pumping and thumping in time.
    the green light flashes, the rocket goes high
    churning and burning, it tears through the sky.
    it deftly maneuvers and muscles for rank,
    Mox burning fast on an empty tank.
    reckless and wild, it hits the apogee
    its package is ready to spread mass agony.
    as its speeds to the finish, the package heads down.
    the people have no time, they can’t get out of town.
    the bunker is empty except for one man,
    still sitting, and thinking, his face in his hands.
    the sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
    humanity now just a drop in a cup.
    in the bunker he watches the clock as it turns,
    while thinking of someone as the city burns.

    it’s going the distance.
    it’s going for speed.
    it’s all alone
    all alone for the final deed.
    because it’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
    on its way to deliver the ultimate force,
    it’s going the distance.

  12. Steeljaw Scribe (History)

    Submited for the Nuke related category – the lyrics from “Armageddon” by Prism:

    There was a full moon over Memphis
    National Guard outside thousands wait for Elvis
    Waitin’ ever since he died for a miracle gonna happen
    His eminence to restore
    The sound of thunder crackin’
    Signals the beginning of the war to end all wars
    Armageddon carry me home
    Armageddon carry me home
    Jerry and Linda in the whitehouse
    President sleepin’ in his shoes red phones ring in the blackout
    Ain’t got time to lose you-boats off New England
    Enemy submarines from Boston to Miami
    On a red alert, you better scramble all the F-15’s

    (Elvis, jwerry Brown, Linda Ronstadt and nuclear war in one song — what more could you ask for? Oh and bonus — listen to the song for the opening scramble and intercept r/t at the end…)

  13. Andrew Tubbiolo (History)

    Hummm. I have to submit my fav. Don’t know if it was submitted least year…. I humbly sibmit another “Dubliners'” diddy calling notice to the now legendary “Protect and Survive”.

    I’m not sure if this is kosher, but I also include the work of one of my fav YouTube character who has his own bent of of the song combined with some rather classic Cold War cinema.


    In the words of Maj Jaded. “Ahh…the perfect mating of Irish folk and nuclear holocaust!”

    “Protect and Survive” by “The Dubliners”
    Well the government’s made a document
    To help prevent embarrassment
    And in the event of an accident
    Catching us with our trousers down
    It’s no use to you when you’re dead
    Nor even when alive
    And the name of this piece of paper is
    Protect and survive

    So when the nukes come raining down
    It’s great to be alive, well
    World War Three can be such fun
    If you protect and survive
    Protect and survive

    Well a nuclear strike can be recognised
    It would stand out in a crowd
    There’s a flash, then a bang, then a blast of heat
    Then a bloody great mushroom cloud
    So if you happen to see one at the end of your street
    Would you please pick up the telephone
    And inform your local police

    So when the nukes come raining down
    It’s great to be alive, well
    World War Three can be such fun
    If you protect and survive
    Protect and survive

    Put sticky tape on your windows
    Block your ears and close your eyes
    But it won’t make a blind bit of difference
    You won’t have to watch yourself fry
    If you find yourself in the target zone
    And you haven’t got a shelter
    Take a spade into the garden
    And dig like merry hell, sir

    So when the nukes come raining down
    It’s great to be alive, well
    World War Three can be such fun
    If you protect and survive
    Protect and survive

    They’ve got strategic ICBM’s
    Both theatre and tactical
    With independently targeted
    Multiple re-entry vehicles
    Backfire bombers, Polaris sub’s, cruise missiles
    And the boys who hang around the Pentagon
    Can’t wait to use these toys

    So when the nukes come raining down
    It’s great to be alive, well
    World War Three can be such fun
    If you protect and survive
    Protect and survive

    When Armageddon gets underway
    And the rockets come pouring down
    All the bloody politicians who started it
    Will scuttle off underground
    And when they finally re-emerge
    With no life to be found
    They can administrate the rubble
    And they can order each other around

    So when the nukes come raining down
    It’s great to be alive, well
    World War Three can be such fun
    If you protect and survive
    Protect and survive

    For they give us a four-minute warning
    When the rockets are on their way
    To give us time to panic and Christians time to pray
    So when you hear the siren’s going
    Place your head between your thighs
    Whilst maintaining this posture
    You can make a final gesture
    And with a little muscular pressure
    You can kiss your arse goodbye

    So when the nukes come raining down
    It’s great to be alive, well
    World War Three can be such fun
    If you protect and survive
    Protect and survive
    Protect and…

  14. Steven (History)

    Josh Ritter – “The Temptation of Adam”

    If this was the Cold War we could keep each other warm
    I said on the first occasion that I met Marie
    We were crawling through the hatch that was the missile silo door
    And I don’t think that she really thought that much of me

    I never had to learn to love her like I learned to love the Bomb
    She just came along and started to ignore me
    But as we waited for the Big One
    I started singing her my songs
    And I think she started feeling something for me

    We passed the time with crosswords that she thought to bring inside
    What five letters spell “apocalypse” she asked me
    I won her over saying “W.W.I.I.I.”
    She smiled and we both knew that she’d misjudged me

    Oh Marie it was so easy to fall in love with you
    It felt almost like a home of sorts or something
    And you would keep the warhead missile silo good as new
    And I’d watch you with my thumb above the button

    Then one night you found me in my army issue cot
    And you told me of your flash of inspiration
    You said fusion was the broken heart that’s lonely’s only thought
    And all night long you drove me wild with your equations

    Oh Marie do you remember all the time we used to take
    We’d make our love and then ransack the rations
    I think about you leaving now and the avalanche cascades
    And my eyes get washed away in chain reactions

    Oh Marie if you would stay then we could stick pins in the map
    Of all the places where you thought that love would be found
    But I would only need one pin to show where my heart’s at
    In a top secret location three hundred feet under the ground

    We could hold each other close and stay up every night
    Looking up into the dark like it’s the night sky
    And pretend this giant missile is an old oak tree instead
    And carve our name in hearts into the warhead

    Oh Marie there’s something tells me things just won’t work out above
    That our love would live a half-life on the surface
    So at night while you are sleeping
    I hold you closer just because
    As our time grows short I get a little nervous

    I think about the Big One, W.W.I.I.I.
    Would we ever really care the world had ended
    You could hold me here forever like you’re holding me tonight
    I look at that great big red button and I’m tempted

  15. Reed (History)

    For the first category:

    Rust in Peace…Polaris

    Tremble you weaklings, cower in fear
    I am your ruler, land, sea and air
    Immense in my girth, erect I stand tall
    I am a nuclear murderer, I am Polaris
    Ready to pounce at the touch of a button
    My system locked in on military gluttons
    I rule on land, air and sea
    Pass judgement on humanity
    Winds blow from the bowels of hell
    Will we give warning, only time will tell
    Satan rears his ugly head, to spit into the wind

    • Smith (History)

      What a great song. I always got the impression that Mustaine was confused about the Polaris, though (rotten egg, air of death?) – do nuclear weapons smell?

  16. Smith (History)

    GWAR wins this easily with “Bring Back the Bomb.” This is only a snippet of the gem that is “Bring Back the Bomb.”

    Why should the fire be shared with so few?
    Let bombs explode, ’cause that’s what they do
    Nuke Mecca, New York, the Vatican too
    Give me a bomb, I’ll drop it on you
    Why stop at only two?
    You showed the world just what it can do
    What a waste not to destroy
    Come play at war, man, and bring your best toy

  17. Nick Ritchie (History)

    Didn’t John McCain already win this with his Persian influenced rendition of the Beach Boys’ (or perhaps Bomb Boys)’Barbara Ann’ in ’07? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-zoPgv_nYg

    • RE (History)


    • krepon (History)

      Powerful argument, Nick. But the competition this year is fierce.

    • Hairs (History)

      Originally I was going to go for “Mother” from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, but it seemed so obvious that I thought *thousands* of you would beat me to it. To my surprise I haven’t seen it yet – so here it is…

      Mother do you think they’ll drop the bomb?
      Mother do you think they’ll like this song?
      Mother do you think they’ll try to break my balls?
      Mother should I build the wall?
      Mother should I run for president?
      Mother should I trust the government?
      Mother will they put me in the firing line?
      Mother am I really dying?

      However, however, however: I’ve just gotta agree now with Nick Ritchie – it’s John McCain’s “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” all the way!

      It’s topical, it’s got a catchy tune, and it scares your socks off because it’s not clear if the intended audience (or maybe even McCain himself) take the idea seriously. And just to top it all, McCain is one of the more intelligent and rational people involved in US security-policy debates – I mean, what would Rush Limbaugh be singing!?!

  18. Kevin (History)

    LOazlo Bane’s “Peace is our Profession” was not as I recall ever a “hit” and I never ever heard it on the radio, but it has a nice Strangelove homage. The video is top notch, too.


    Know you’ve heard it all before
    You can’t believe everythin’ you hear
    I never trusted you
    God please help

    Do you know who’s side your on
    Cause when it all hits the fan
    You’re gonna need a friend to
    Put your faith in

    You were the first to cast the stone
    You can hear them saying

    Peace is our profession
    but we all love the bomb
    It’s a strange kind of
    Peace is our profession
    But we all love the bomb
    It’s a strange kind of love

    Don’t forget to say your prayers
    Somethings gone very wrong down here
    Dear john is on the way
    God please say

    We were the first to cast the stone
    You can hear them saying

    Peace is our profession
    But we all love the bomb
    It’s a strange kind of
    Peace is our profession
    But we all love the bomb
    It’s a strange kind of love


    The doom device is set to go
    Where will your garden grow?

    We were the first to cast the stone
    Now we’re all here singing

    Peace is our profession
    But we all love the bomb
    It’s a strange kind of
    You know that these are our confessions
    That we all love the bomb
    It’s a strange kind of love
    It’s a strange kind of love

  19. Theo Kalionzes (History)

    Subterranean Nukesick Blues:

    Yukiya’s in VIC
    Mixing up the deluge
    I’m on the pavement
    Thinking about the centrifuge
    The man in the dulband
    Hands up, who me?
    Ahmadinejad says its for peaceful energy
    Look out kid
    Its somethin’ they did
    They ain’t gonna duck down the alley way
    Lookin’ for a new way
    Everyone knows the NAMs still an ally
    The man in the White House
    With the big pen
    Wants eleven dollar bills
    They’ve got twelve man.

    Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dylan:

    Johny’s in the basement
    Mixing up the medicine
    I’m on the pavement
    Thinking about the government
    The man in the trench coat
    Badge out, laid off
    Says he’s got a bad cough
    Wants to get it paid off
    Look out kid
    It’s somethin’ you did
    God knows when
    But you’re doin’ it again
    You better duck down the alley way
    Lookin’ for a new friend
    The man in the coon-skip cap
    In the big pen
    Wants eleven dollar bills
    You only got ten.

  20. John Lopresti (History)

    Please, don’t drop that H bomb on me,
    Please don’t drop that H bomb on me
    Please don’t drop that H bomb on me:
    Drop it

    The above stanza was added at the end of an antiwar song performed by a circa 1967 rock and roll band, whose leader is happily informed that the stanza lyrics have been sent to [ACW].

    As originally composed 40+ years ago, each lyric phrase has an generic lugubrious hymn-like structure; the sequential lyric lines are preceded and followed by a counterpoint of merrygoroundish, Bach-inspired instrumental with ascending melody taking the standard form of caliope music. As the stanza nears the ending couplet, multi-voiced fugue harmonies appear to attempt to obliterate the antipodal lyric hymn. The melody originally was composed solo on a chromatic harmonica in C, with the harmonica player singing the lyrics between each instrumental crescendo. Other keys might be possible, though harmonicas produce different characteristics in other keys, and the chromatic C offers the advantage of allowing the required three-voiced, counterpoint harmony, by virtue of its outsized form factor. The way I have heard the stanza online in Modern times is as a standalone a capella, comprised solely of the hymnal inspired lyrics.

    The visual conceptual inspiration for the stanza was a head painted by Picasso, appearing inconspicuously along the lower marginm in the 10′ long Guernica painting, which, in 1966, hung in the Prado museum, about 250 miles distant from the city of Guernica.

  21. Re (History)

    This is starting to feel a little rock-heavy, so I must give a shout out to the late GURU of the rap duo Gangstarr. He is probably the only rapper to ever use the phrase ‘nuclear fallout’ in a song — specifically “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight” from their 1991 album, Step in the Area:

    Original invincible
    That’s how I’m lookin’ at it
    I use my rhymes like a Glock automatic
    Any means necessary, I’m goin’ all out
    Before the rains bring the nuclear fallout
    So let me ask you, is it too late?
    Ayo, who’s gonna take the weight?

    Despite this, I am going to have to go with something a little more contemporary — Iron Maiden’s “Brighter Than a Thousand Suns.” The whole song is about nuclear weapons, but I’ve reproduced some choice verses below:

    Out of the the universe, a strange light is born
    Unholy union, trinity reformed

    Yellow sun it’s evil twin
    in the black the winds deliver him
    We will sleep to souls within
    At a siege a nuclear gust is riven

    Out of the the universe, a strange light is born
    Unholy union, trinity reformed

    Out of the darkness, brighter than a thousand suns (x6)

    Burying our morals and burying our dead
    Burying our head in the sand
    E equals MC squared, you can’t relate
    How we made God with our hands

    Whatever would Robert have said to his God
    About he made war with the Sun
    E equals MC squared, you can’t relate
    How we made God with our hands

  22. Diamond Dave (History)

    Surprised to see a couple of standouts not taken:

    OMD: Enola Gay

    It’s 8:15, and that’s the time that it’s always been
    We got your message on the radio, conditions normal and you’re coming home

    Enola Gay, is mother proud of little boy today?
    This kiss you give, it’s never ever gonna fade away

    Pink Floyd: Two Suns In The Sunset

    In my rear view mirror the sun’s going down
    Sinking behind bridges in the road
    I think of all the good things that we have left undone
    And I suffer premonitions, confirm suspicions
    of the holocaust to come

    The rusty wire that holds the cork
    that keeps the anger in gives way
    And suddenly it’s day again
    The sun is in the east even though the day is done

    Two suns in the sunset
    Could be the human race is run

    Like the moment when the brakes lock
    and you slide towards the big truck
    You stretch the frozen moments with your fear
    And you’ll never hear their voices
    And you’ll never see their faces
    You have no recourse to the law anymore

    And as the windshield melts and my tears evaporate
    Leaving only charcoal to defend
    Finally I understand the feelings of the few
    Ashes and diamonds, foe and friend
    We were all equal in the end

    Also worth a mention is Steve Stevens’ use of Blandy’s ‘Atomic Playboy’ speech on the album and track of the same name – although as the best line to come out of that is “Atomic playboys, we are radiation Romeos” perhaps not a winner in the lyric contest…

    • frogspawn (History)

      Diamond Dave beat me to the Final Cut; all I got is Nena.

      99 Red Balloons

      You and I, and a little toy shop
      Buy a bag of balloons with the money we’ve got
      Set them free at the break of dawn
      ‘Til one by one, they were gone

      Back at base, bugs in the software
      Flash the message, “Some thing’s out there”
      Floating in the summer sky
      Ninety-nine red balloons go by

      Ninety-nine red balloons
      Floating in the summer sky
      Panic lads, it’s a red alert
      There’s something here from somewhere else

      The war machine springs to life
      Opens up one eager eye
      Focusing it on the sky
      Ninety-nine red balloons go by

      Ninety-nine Decision Street
      Ninety-nine ministers meet
      To worry, worry, super-scurry
      Call the troops out in a hurry
      [| From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/n/nena-lyrics/99-red-balloons-lyrics.html |]

      This is what we’ve waiting for
      This is it boys, this is war
      The President is on the line
      As ninety-nine red balloons go by

      Ninety-nine knights of the air
      Riding super high-tech jet fighters
      Everyone’s a super hero
      Everyone’s a Captain Kirk

      With orders to identify, to clarify and classify
      Scrambling in the summer sky
      As ninety-nine red balloons go by
      Ninety-nine red balloons go by

      Ninety-nine dreams I have had
      Every one a red balloon
      Now it’s all over and I’m standin’ pretty
      In this dust that was a city

      If I could find a souvenir
      Just to prove the world was here
      And here is a red balloon
      I think of you and let it go

  23. Sven Hannes (History)

    There´s no need to debate, first category: Heaven 17, “Let´s all make a bomb” (“Penthouse and Pavement”, 1981).



    Take one hundred scientists or more
    Place in a room and lock the door
    Let them confer for half their lives
    Unlock the door, go in and see
    What they have made for you and me
    A brand new toy to idolize

    Hey! There’s no need to debate
    It’s time to designate your fate
    Take the M out of M.A.D.
    Let’s all make a bomb

  24. Spirit of '62 (History)

    As far as I know, there is only one great song about The Bomb:

    I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it,
    I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
    I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’,
    I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’,
    I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,
    I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,

    I met a young child beside a dead pony,
    I met a white man who walked a black dog,
    I met a young woman whose body was burning,
    I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow,
    I met one man who was wounded in love,
    I met another man who was wounded in hatred…

    And I’ll tell it and speak it and think it and breathe it,
    And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it,
    And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’,
    But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’,
    It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

  25. Mandrake (History)

    “Mr. Reagan has a thing about arms control”
    “That’s what I’m angry about.”

    “Yes, the world is headed for destruction.
    Is it a nuclear war?
    What are you asking for?
    This is a world destruction.”

    Time Zone, World Destruction


    KMFDM’s “Oh Look”: (on Spotify”

    “Oh Look, the orchestra is getting ready. Dance with me George. George, I wonder if
    we’ve thought this through. I’ve afraid for you George.”
    “Non-sense my sweet.”
    “Ye-Yes George. Please. My fiancee Luther Marshall…”
    We interrupt our normal programming in the interest for security and civil defense
    measures as requested by the United States Government.
    “Attention, Attention. This is an official civil defense warning. This is not a test.
    The United States is under nuclear attack! Take cover in an nearby fall out shelter.
    Repeat, the United States is under nuclear attack.”
    Duck and cover.
    Duck and cover.
    Duck and cover.
    Duck and cover
    “This is an official civil defense broadcast. Enemy aircraft are over Canada and headed
    this way.”
    Duck and cover.
    Duck (Duck and cover)
    “The United States is under nuclear….”


    And how about Max M’s “Atomic Playboy” which samples in part from Blandy’s comment about bomb effects and his non playboy status.


    Can’t find the full lyrics though. Fail!