Modern Poetry Edition #38, (Rebel Music)


MP #38 is in the books. Only two poems moved the needle here in the October
of 0-5: Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode got the most votes and so is the
winner, but several of our most intelligent voters went for Johnny and Mary,
a poem of human complexity and depth. Poems of complexity and depth rarely
do well in the Modern Poetry, though they were quite popular in the days of
ancient poetry. Even rarer is a quality modern poem that is also quite the
tune, and Johnny and Mary certainly qualifies. I recommend checking out
some of the Robert Palmer tunes -- Quite a bit of the stuff that didn't have
videos featuring white-pancake-face-makeup and black dresses and red lips
is really good.

But today is about welcoming in Chuck B. I didn't think he would get in
with this one; I thought it would be My Ding-A-Ling. JBG is a very good
poem, and represents the best of what MP brings to a well rounded life. As
Dan said, it was

"straight-forward and easy to understand ... [it made] sense , [wasn't too]
involved ... [and it's] a rhyming poem."

Those words are hereby declared the official, unofficial MP motto for the
next hundred years.

Rebecca chimed in that JBG is a clear story about a Southern boy who makes
good, or who will make good. Well, it's about a boy whose mama thinks he
will make good. It's all the same to me.

And many others cited the fact that the first line contains 'Louisiana' and
'New Orleans' and that the best line of the song, "but he could play his
guitar just like a ringin' a bell" is a perfect little piece of writing. So
there you go and there you are.

Next up: MP HQ addresses some egregious oversights.

--Sean

Modern Poetry #38 {Rebel Music}
[10/7/05]
Rebel Music by Bob Marley
**Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
Rebel Rebel by David Bowie
Johnny & Mary by Robert Palmer
He's A Rebel by the Crystals

**Winner of MPulitzer

-------------------------------------------------------

Hello again, guys and dolls.

You know we are behind the normal pace for publishing the Modern Poetry, so let's get your votes in quickly this time around. You know the deal: you just email in your choice to me and include your witty comments. As always, to see more MP, just go here: http://www.macdart.com/mp/default.htm 

This week, in honor of the homecoming game against the mighty Citadel Bulldogs at the University of Mississippi, we are featuring poems about Rebels, Johnnies or both. I looked high and low and but found no songs about 'Johnny Rebel' his own self, but there were many to choose from, and most are good songs as well as poems. See the whole candidate list below. Unbelievably, the song with 'Rebel' and 'Johnny' in the title (and sung by a Johnny, Cash in this case) turned out to merely be a song, not much of a poem.

Narrowing down to five turned out to be pretty easy. It was mighty tempting to include, after The Crystal's "He's a Rebel," "She's a Rebel" by Green Day. Putting those two together appeals to my sense of fairness and equality. But, though titles can gain you consideration to a themed MP, the title must be of a real poem. Check out the Green Day opening stanzas:

   She's a rebel
   She's a saint
   She's salt of the earth
   And she's dangerous

   She's a rebel
   Vigilante
   Missing link on the brink
   Of destruction

   From Chicago to Toronto
   She's the one that they
   Call old whatsername

uhh.... Next!

Full list of Johnny Rebel Songs
-------------------------------
Rebel Music by Bob Marley
Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
Rebel Rebel by David Bowie
Johnny & Mary by Robert Palmer
He's A Rebel by the Crystals
-------------------------------

She's a Rebel by Green Day
Johnny Angel by Shelly Fabare
Frankie & Johnny (Traditional, Sam Cooke, Van, etc.)
Be Good, Johnny by Men At Work
Johnnie Comes Back by James Taylor
The Rebel Johnny Yuma by Johnny Cash
Johnny Too Bad by The Slickers
Johnny Was by Bob Marley
Soul Rebel by Bob Marley
Rebel of the Underground by Tupac Shakur

So here you are, Rebel music from Bob, Chuck, Bowie, Rob and the Crystals -- just like I pictured it. Skyscrapers and everything.

Each edition of MP only includes 5 poems, so if you like one that wasn't chosen, you may vote a write-in candidate.

Have you noticed how there are lots of modern poems that start "Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo," but very few ancient ones. That is progress in the field of poetry, and we have one such in this week's batch. The official Rebel MP is here. Vote your favorite, please, and when you do it, you do it cool.

--Sean

 

Rebel Music by Bob Marley
========================================
I, rebel music
I, rebel music
Why canít we roam this open country
Oh why canít we be what we want to be
We want to be free

3 oíclock - roadblock, curfew
And Iíve got to throw away
Yes Iíve got to throw away
Yes Iíve got to throw away
My little herb stalk

I, rebel music
I, rebel music

Take my soul and suss me out
Check my life if I am in doubt
3 oíclock - roadblock
And hey mr. cop, ainít got no
(what you say down there)
Ainít got no birth certificate on me now

I, rebel music
I, rebel music
Take my soul and suss me out
Check my life if I am in doubt
3 oíclock - roadblock
And hey mr. cop, ainít got no
(what you say down there)
Ainít got no birth certificate on me now.

Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
========================================
Deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans
Way back up in the woods among the evergreens
There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood
Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode
Who never ever learned to read or write so well
But he could play his guitar just like a ringing a bell

Go go go Johnny go
Go go Johnny go
Go go Johnny go
Go go Johnny go
Go
Johnny B. Goode

He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack
Go sit beneath the tree by the railroad track
Oh, the engineers would see him sitting in the shade
Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made
People passing by they would stop and say
Oh my that little country boy could play

Go
Go Go Johnny go
Go Go Johnny go
Go Go Johnny go
Go Go Johnny go
Go
Johnny B. Goode

His mother told him "Someday you will be a man,
And you will be the leader of a big old band.
Many people coming from miles around
To hear you play your music when the sun go down
Maybe someday your name will be in lights
Saying Johnny B. Goode tonight."

Go go go Johnny go
Go go go Johnny go
Go go go Johnny go
Go go go Johnny go
Go
Johnny B. Goode

Rebel Rebel by David Bowie
========================================
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo

Youíve got your mother in a whirl
Sheís not sure if youíre a boy or a girl
Hey babe, your hairís alright
Hey babe, letís go out tonight
You like me, and I like it all
We like dancing and we look divine
You love bands when theyíre playing hard
You want more and you want it fast
They put you down, they say Iím wrong
You tacky thing, you put them on

Rebel rebel, youíve torn your dress
Rebel rebel, your face is a mess
Rebel rebel, how could they know?
Hot tramp, I love you so!

Donít ya?
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo

Youíve got your mother in a whirl ícause sheís
Not sure if youíre a boy or a girl
Hey babe, your hairís alright
Hey babe, letís stay out tonight
You like me, and I like it all
We like dancing and we look divine
You love bands when theyíre playing hard
You want more and you want it fast
They put you down, they say Iím wrong
You tacky thing, you put them on

Rebel rebel, youíve torn your dress
Rebel rebel, your face is a mess
Rebel rebel, how could they know?
Hot tramp, I love you so!

Donít ya?
Oh?

Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo

Rebel rebel, youíve torn your dress
Rebel rebel, your face is a mess
Rebel rebel, how could they know?
Hot tramp, I love you so!

Youíve torn your dress, your face is a mess
You canít get enough, but enough ainít the test
Youíve got your transmission and your live wire
You got your cue line and a handful of ludes
You wanna be there when they count up the dudes
And I love your dress
Youíre a juvenile success
Because your face is a mess
So how could they know?
I said, how could they know?

So what you wanna know
Calamityís child, chi-chile, chi-chile
Whereíd you wanna go?
What can I do for you? looks like youíve been there too
ícause youíve torn your dress
And your face is a mess
Oh, your face is a mess
Oh, oh, so how could they know?
Eh, eh, how could they know?
Eh, eh

Johnny and Mary by Robert Palmer
========================================
Johnnyís always running around
Trying to find certainty
He needs all the world to confirm
That he ainít lonely
Mary counts the walls
Knows he tires easily

Johnny thinks the world would be right
If it could buy truth from him
Mary says he changes his mind more than a woman
But she made her bed
Even when the chance was slim

Johnny says heís willing to learn
When he decides heís a fool
Johnny says heíll live anywhere
When he earns to time
Mary combs her hair
Says she should be used to it
Mary always hedges her bets
She never knows what to think
She says that he still acts
Like he is being discovered
Scared that heíll be caught
Without a second thought
Running around

Johnny feels heís wasting his breath
Trying to talk sense to her
Mary says heís lacking a real
Sense of proportion
So she combs her hair
Knows he tires easily

Johnnyís always running around
Trying to find certainty
He needs all the world to confirm
That he ainít lonely
Mary counts the walls
Says she should be used to it

Johnnyís always running around
Running around

He's a Rebel by The Crystals
========================================
See the way he walks down the street
Watch the way he shuffles his feet
My, he holds his head up high
When he goes walking by
He's my guy

When he holds my hand I'm so proud
'Cause he's not just one of the crowd
My baby, oh he's the one
To try the things they've never done
Just because of that they say

He's a rebel and he'll never ever be any good
He's a rebel and he'll never ever be understood
And just because he doesn't do what everybody else does
That's no reason why I can't give him all my love
He is always good to me, always treats me tenderly
'Cause he's not a rebel, no no no
He's not a rebel, no no no, to me

If they don't like him that way, they won't like me after today
I'll be standing right by his side, when they say

He's a rebel and he'll never ever be any good
He's a rebel 'cause he never ever does what he should
And just because he doesn't do what everybody else does
That's no reason why we can't share a love
He is always good to me, good to him I'll try to be
'Cause he's not a rebel, no no no
He's not a rebel, no no no, to me

He's not a rebel, no no no
He's not a rebel, no no no
He's not a rebel, no no no
He's not a rebel, no no no