Playing Our Song

March 12, 2013
SB-bad-brains

A debate is raging in Massachusetts’ state house: What will be its official state rock song?

In the past month, two bills have come before the legislature — one promoting the Modern Lovers’ 1976 protopunk cult favorite “Roadrunner,” and one boosting Aerosmith’s 1973 torchy “Dream On.”

Washington, D.C., does not have an official song, according to the Office of the Secretary under the Executive Office of the Mayor. Our official flower is the American Beauty rose. Our official tree is the scarlet oak (oddly, not a cherry tree). Our official bird is the Wood Thrush (oddly, not the pigeon). Alas, no song.

That means blasting these homegrown contenders out our car windows will make them official by default: Bad Brains’ (above) 1982 punk freakout “Banned in D.C.” Mambo Sauce’s 2007 go-go jam “Welcome to D.C.” The Nation of Ulysses’ 1991 screamo serenade “You’re My Miss Washington, D.C.” Of course, Parliament’s 1975 classic “Chocolate City” (they started in New Jersey, but the Smithsonian owns the P-Funk Mothership, so I say it counts). And there’s the Magnetic Fields’ 1999 ode “Washington, D.C.,” but that band’s from … Massachusetts.

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