With Al Gore’s “Live Earth” festival of enviro-scolding rock stars now scheduled for Giants Stadium in New Jersey (BRUCE!) to replace the hoped-for concert at the U.S. Capitol, it’s time to wish them all good luck. Especially now that the “Live Earth” headliner, the bigoted, hate-mongering, misogynistic, foul-mouthed convicted felon and thug rapper Snoop Dogg, will be dropped from the line-up. He will be dropped, won’t he? He does face four years in prison for drugs and weapons violations.
Anyway, since a spot is opening up — it is, isn’t it? — we offer this Top 10 list of alternative acts and songs for “Live Earth,” performances that could really bring Al Gore’s message to earth. Or at least enough to get the words “heat” or “sun” into the obligatory live concert recording.
To qualify, the bands must be alive (no Marvin Gaye, “Mercy, Mercy Me, the Ecology” alas) and still performing, or at least able to perform.
10. Three Dog Night, “Out in the Country.” A classic of the 70s sentimental-environmental-mental genre. “Before the breathin’air is gone/Before the sun is just a bright spot in the nighttime…” Three Dog Night could take a break from the oldies circuit to hit the “Live Earth” stage. Better Three Dog than Snoop Dogg, we always say.
9. INXS, “Melting in the Sun.” Inspirational lyrics: “I’m melting in the sun/And this is what they call the life.” You betcha!
8. Martha Reeves, “Heatwave.” Martha could throw together any old Vandellas and still rip the place up. She’s a Detroit city councilwoman these days. What politician could turn down a venue like “Live Earth?”
7. Graham Parker, “Heat Treatment.” “Heat treatment, baby/sweet treatment, baby/heat treatment/while the flames are burning…” Well, who can disagree with that? Barely edges out Parker’s other seminal odes to environmental consciousness, “Mercury Poisoning” and “Waiting for the UFOs.”
6. De La Soul, “3 Feet High and Rising.” Hip hop without the cursing and semi-automatic gunfire. Update the lyrics to reflect more extreme coastal flooding forecasts: “20 Feet High and Rising.”
5. Smash Mouth, “Walking on the Sun.” It’s been a while since we heard that song, over …and over …and over again.
4. The Thermals, “Our Power Doesn’t Run on Nothing”: “Our power doesn’t run on nothing/we need the land you’re standing on, so let’s go/move it…” Phew. Portland, Oregon’s great pop-punk band is off to tour Europe, where they are beloved for their dislike of extractive industries. Bring ’em back, Al. (Although Gang of Four will do in a pinch.)
3. They Might Be Giants, “Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas).” For a band on the Moveon.org side of things, They Might Be Giants sure have a good sense of humor. And science: “The sun is a mass of incandescent gas/a gigantic nuclear furnace/where hydrogen is built into helium/at temperatures of millions of degrees.”
2. Bad Religion (a tie), “Kyoto Now!” and “Los Angeles is Burning.” Socially conscious, didactic and polysyllabic. And somehow, they still rock. Lead singer Greg Graffin even has a Ph.D. in evolutionary paleontology from Cornell. You get two lectures in one!
And, No. 1, the best group, the best song, to perform at “Live Earth.” Not just a jingle for a Wendy’s hamburger commercial…
1. The Violent Femmes, “Blister in the Sun.”
Add it up, Mr. Vice President. With Snoop gone, daddy gone, here are 10 other great acts to choose from as a replacement, all guaranteed to burn down the house…metaphorically, that is.
Snoop IS gone, isn’t he?
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