song of the day – “President Gas” | THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS | 1982.

It’s January 20, 2017 – Inauguration Day here in the U.S. – and just hours away now from the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States – Donald J. Trump. 

I know friends and family members who voted for Trump, looking for change in American politics and a change for America from a non (or not yet) politician, but I just can’t wrap my arms around the whole thing – any of it.  I want to have faith and believe that everything will be alright, and that he’ll even surprise me and things will be better than I ever expected, but I’m not there.  I can’t even refer to him as President Trump.  I just can’t do it. 

There’s too much at risk, too much at stake, too many things to be concerned about, most of all the future of my family and friends.  Maybe I’m overreacting, maybe I should just give him a chance, but I’m not there.  In the months leading up to the election and since, I’ve also been concerned for free speech, community radio, the LBGTQ community, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, those with insurance losing insurance (though I don’t think people should be penalized for not having it or not wanting it or needing it), an alliance with Russia and potential war with whoever for whatever.

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In Prince’s brilliant 2015 song, “Baltimore,” mostly about the wrongful death of the 25-year-old Black American man, Freddie Gray, Prince sings, “Peace is more than the absence of war,” a quote I believe was lovingly paraphrased from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Peace is not merely the absence of war, but the presence of justice, of law, of order – in short, of government.”

It was a change in government and a new president (the 40th U.S. President, inaugurated in 1981, and one of Donald Trump’s heroes, Ronald Reagan) that inspired today’s “song of the day” – “President Gas” by The Psychedelic Furs. 

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The original U.K. cover of FOREVER NOW.

“President Gas” was the opening song off of the P-Furs third studio album, FOREVER NOW (produced by Todd Rundgren).  The album was recorded in 1982, and released in September of that year.  It was certified Gold here in America.

Written specifically with Ronald Reagan in mind (“He comes in from the left sometimes / He comes in from the right / It’s so heavily advertised that he wants you and I / It’s a real cowboy set, electric company / Every day is happy days / It’s hell without the sin…”), “President Gas” compliments its smart lyrics with the ballsy use of a cello (courtesy of Ann Sheldon) in a New Wave song.

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When Columbia Records changed the cover art for the U.S. release of FOREVER NOW (seen here), Richard Butler apparently burst into tears from disappointment.

Interesting how it’s been nearly 35 years after the song’s release, and people are thinking about this song again (because of Donald Trump), almost, if not, exactly in the way The Furs wrote the song about Ronald Reagan. 

I had read somewhere on an Interweb chat board about “President Gas” that The Furs’ Richard Butler was “pointing out that everyone who gets to the top in a political system is going to be someone whose only value is his ability to get to the top.  Reagan was horrible, but whoever replaced him in 1984 would be horrible too.” 

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This was reminiscent (in a way) of this past Presidential election here in America, with two (mostly) unpopular candidates in a very ugly campaign.  Hillary Clinton wasn’t my first choice, but I voted for Hillary because (1) I didn’t want Trump in there, and (2) I believed she would take this country in a smart, wonderful direction.  More than half of the country thought that too, as she won the popular vote.  But, for the second time in five elections, the popular vote was not, well, popular enough…

I’m wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ that everything will be alright for everyone I care about and the country I love during the next four years, and that history (in this case, “President Gas”) doesn’t repeat itself…

“Don’t cry, don’t do anything / No lies, back in the government / No tears, party time is here again / President Gas is up for president…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WNeYFSdjS8

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