American Idol drops Neil Young verse from "Sweet Home Alabama"
Last night on the insipid televised travesty called "American Idol", where so called "talent" embarrasses themselves and audiences should be paid to watch, a contestant named Bo Bice performed Lynyrd Skynyrd's song "Sweet Home Alabama".
However, the song's most key lines referring to Neil Young were cut from the performance for no apparent reason. Similar to the debacle at the 2005 Grammy Awards when country music's proud trailer trash heart-throb Gretchen Wilson sang the key lines, the desecration of the song and its meaning continue to escape fans.
Yet, Thrasher is really somewhat tired of server crashes every time the song "Sweet Home Alabama" seeps into the world's conciousness as folks "Google" the deep symbolism of Lynyrd Skynyrd without a clue whatsoever.
Cluelessness like Sweet Carolina Girl on Our Man Clay:
"To be honest, I'd never paid much attention to the lyrics of SHA. Mostly I just heard over and over "where the skies are so blue" and "I'll be comin' home to you." I guess I should have listened more carefully."
And over on The Color of Us and Canadian Idol discussion groups:
Violet Skye: "Yeah, I've been hearing that song all my life and never gave it a single thought beyond the 'Watergate does not bother me, does your conscience bother you?' line. I always thought it was a strange song (what kind of idiot sings Watergate does not bother him?), and 'In Birmingham they love the gov'nah...' I always had a vague notion this song was wrong, but I never thought too deeply about it."
jhr0208:"I have sung that song a 1000 times and NEVER thought about it either ~ this has DEFINATLY changed my view on that song."
BDotGirl"I didn't know it did that....guess I never listened to the words...it's just kinda fun!"
And the insanity continues with Fox's Bill O'Reilly TV show where American Idol winners and losers becomes a red state vs blue state issue. Essentially the argument goes that the American Idol program competition was a victory for the red states because the loser sang "Sweet Home Alabama", while the winner Carrie Underwood sang "I Want to Be Inside Your Heaven". The former is a liberal song and the latter is the conservative number.
On the Bob Dylan discussion list, Nate posts on Fox's red/blue state analysis:
"Are you kidding me? If there exists a conservative rock and roll song... Look no further than Sweet Home Alabama. That song is the very epitome of conservative values... Now Watergate does not bother me, does your conscience bother you? Who is this idiot anyway? I wanted to call in and tell him what a fool he was making of himself and how ignorant he sounded by trying to push Lynard Skynard as a liberal's rock and roll band. They bash Neil Young in that fuckin' song -- now if that's a liberal thing to do... So is hiring someone based on their merit and ability."
This red vs blue, liberal vs conservative argument over the song has been analyzed before in the context of the 2004 U.S. election. Again, very sad.
Some hate the song. Like Mannahatta:
"I had to listen to this awful song piping out the windows of one too many Range Rovers at my Atlanta high school. All the preppy little boys spitting tobacco into the water fountain. So bizarre."
If ever there was an appropriately named forum, over on Television Without Pity, the ignorance of American Idol viewers about American history knows no bounds. Read it and weep.
"Sweet Home Alabama" "was and is a strident anthem about the pride of a region and the politics of a particular place and time", writes Kevin McDonough in The Morning Call.
Not enough? Here kids, try a little history lesson on Lynyrd Skynyrd, Neil Young, slavery, racism and rock-n-roll.
UPDATE June 4, 2005: Probably not the last word on the subject but an article in today's Tennessean reports that Neil Young walked onstage at Tootsie's on Lower Broadway in Nashville and performed "Sweet Home Alabama" with the house band. Young was in town working on a new album and meeting with film director Jonathan Demme on a soundtrack.