Friday, January 13, 2006

Songs for MLK Holiday: What am I missing?

MLK Songs, roughly in chronological order:

1. Stevie Wonder – “Happy Birthday” (Hotter than July, but not available on iTunes and generally left off the collections except for “At the Close of the Century”). Probably the song that was most influential in turning the tide in favor of the holiday. Can’t listen to it any more after it was emasculated by the man himself at the Atlanta Olympics

2. Various Artists – “King Holiday” (original single) – doesn’t seem to be available from iTunes, but “Sing Sing Celebrate” still echoes and I like this one more than the “all-star” tribute that was made after the holiday passed Congress.

3. U2 – “Pride (in the Name of Love)” (The Unforgettable Fire) – U2 at their most earnest, Brian Eno at his most accessible

4. Public Enemy – “By the Time I Get to Arizona” (Apocalypse ’91…The Enemy Strikes Black) – the most relevant track to the holiday itself

Some songs (e.g., The Neville Brothers’s “Rosa Parks,” Run-DMC’s “Proud to be Black”) honor King indirectly, but aren’t really tributes. And archive.org has the text of the Capitol Steps speech, but not, apparently, the audio.

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