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Sunday Song Lyric:
With immigration such a big issue right now I've been trying to think of an appropriate song lyric. Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" has the right title, but the lyrics have more relevance to Nordic mythology than contemporary discussion. Genesis' "Illegal Alien," on the other hand, would seem to fit the bill (and it has a funny video). Here's a taste of the lyrics:
Down at the office had to fill out the forms
A pink one, a red one, the colours you choose,
Up to the counter to see what they think
They said "it doesn't count man, it ain't written in ink"
I don't trust anybody, least not around here, 'cos
It's no fun being an illegal alien . . .

Consideration for your fellow man
Would not hurt anybody, it sure fits in with my plan
Over the border, there lies the promised land
Where everything comes easy, you just hold out your hand
Are there other immigration-relevant songs I should have considered?
JosephSlater (mail):
"Deportee."
6.3.2007 11:28am
Adam K:
"America" by Neil Diamond would seem to be the obvious choice.
6.3.2007 11:37am
BT:
"It was the third of June another sleepy, dusty, Delta day." So starts one of the worst songs ever recorded, and one that never seems to end, Ode To Billy Jo. Sorry I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I had to get this out of my system.
6.3.2007 12:00pm
Joshua:
Don't forget "Immigration Man" by Crosby, Stills &Nash (&Young?)

I wonder whether Phil Collins and company will be brave enough to perform "Illegal Alien" on their upcoming reunion tour, especially in cities like, say, Los Angeles.
6.3.2007 12:14pm
TJIT (mail):
Sting, Englishman in New York

I don't drink coffee I take tea my dear
I like my toast done on the side
And you can hear it in my accent when I talk
I'm an Englishman in New York

I'm an alien
I'm a legal alien
I'm an Englishman in New York
I'm an alien
I'm a legal alien
I'm an Englishman in New York
6.3.2007 1:32pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
The Austin Lounge Lizards: 'Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs' (1996):

It's been five years since we had a raise in pay
And they disallowed my business lunches today
Somebody must have changed the rules of the game
So we've found a convenient scapegoat we can blame

It's those teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
(They're too lazy to work)
Teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
(They're stealing our jobs)

Somebody ran this country deep into debt
I called up Congress, but nobody's called back yet
Sometimes I get so mad I can't think straight
We're looking for relief and it feels so great to hate

All those teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
(They're on the Dole)
Teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
(They're speaking espanol)

Who's to blame for the things we're so angry about?
Who's to blame for uprisings, downsizings, and the drought?
Who's to blame for the end of the good old days?
Who's to blame for that backwards-cap-wearing craze?

It's those teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
(Let's build a thousand-mile fence)
Teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
(It's just common sense)
Teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
(Like the Berlin Wall)
Teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
(Land mines and all!)
Teenage immigrant welfare mothers on drugs
6.3.2007 1:34pm
UW1L:
"Thousands Are Sailing," by the Pogues.
6.3.2007 1:49pm
Jason in TX07:
Good call Joshua, except Immigration Man was just Crosby &Nash. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Man

Then again, it's about a legal entrant (Nash himself), so it may not be the perfect fit.
6.3.2007 2:04pm
brendan green:
icky thump, the new song by the white stripes:

Icky thump
Who'da thunk?
Sittin drunk on a wagon to Mexico?

Ahh well
What a chump
Well my head got a bump
When I hit it on the radio

Redhead senorita
Looking dead
Came and said
"Need a bed?"
En Espanol

I said
"Gimme a drink a water,
I'm gonna 'sing around the collar'
And I don't need a microphone."

Icky Thump
With a lump in my throat
Grabbed my coat
And I was freaking
I was ready to go!

And I swear
Besides the hair
She had: one white eye,
One black (nk) stare
Lookin' up
Lyin' there.

On the stand
Near her hand
Was a candy cane
Black rum, sugar cane
Dry ice (and) something strange

La la la la la la la
La la la la la la la

White Americans, what?
Nothing better to do?
Why don't you kick yourself out
You're an immigrant too?

Who's using who?
What should we do?
Well, you can't be a pimp
And a prostitute too.

Icky thump
Handcuffed to a bunk
Robbed blind
Looked around
And there was nobody else

Left alone
I hit myself with a stone
Went home and learned how
To clean up after myself
6.3.2007 2:31pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
There's Black 47's "Five Points" about those long lost days when immigrants came to this country and quickly assimilated to the culture and were accepted by the native-born.


D'ya remember back in the Five Points
When the fire was in the air
And the streets were hot as the hob of hell
And the bodies was everywhere
Then ould Johnny jumped up on a burnin' plank
He roared out to the sky
"I didn't come here to America
To give up the ghost and die"

I didn't come here to America
Across the ragin' foam
To die like a slave in a pigsty
I came here to find a home
Where I could live with dignity
And hold me head up high
So don't go messin' with me or me family
Or I'll blow these Five Points to the sky.


Black 47 has several other songs relevant to the immigration question, such as Czechoslovakia:


One bright and sunny mornin' down on Avenue B
As I was returnin' home from a night of debauchery
I met me landlord Boris, "Yo," sez he,
"Would ya ever go over to Czechoslovakia,
Marry me daughter for me?"

He waved a pistol and 5000 dollars in me face
"She better be a virgin, when she hits the states"
I told him I had some business with the pope in Rome
so he threw in a ticket to Italy on me way back home

"Would you ever go over to czechoslovakia, marry me daughter for me
She's the finest girl in Prague, you'll ever see
Her name is citizen Gertie, a communist is she
She wants to come to America, be a capitalist like me."

When I landed in Slovakia, I drank a dozen pints
But when I caught a glimpse of Gertie I nearly died of fright
She was 6 feet in her stockings, she viewed me with dismay
"Is this the best they can do for me in the dear old USA?"

But despite me splittin' headache, I wooed her like a man
And very soon thereafter we were married in Prague
I remembered Boris' pistol and me vow of chastity
But when she pinned me to the bed that night, I gave up instantly.

Bright and early next mornin' I went to see the pope in Rome
Gertie left for America, make New York her home
She landed down on Avenue B lookin' for a mansion grand
Boris was drunk, the building stunk, the city was mad
she'd been had,
This was the height of depravity - not what she'd seen on MTV!

I wasn't farin' much better with the holy father in Rome
some Turkish wiseguy whacked him and he wasn't even at home
so I landed back in New York oh so sad
Stared down the barrel of Boris's gun, jeez was he ever mad
He accused me of buggerin' his daughter but to make matters worse
She'd spent over 20 grand in Macys and in Saks
She sat there in her underwear, gave me a dirty wink
But when i thought about the credit cards me love began to shrink.

So we drove her out to Kennedy 14 trunks and all
And we said a prayer for the holy father back in Rome
But as her plane rose over Rockaway, Boris he said to me
"Would you ever go over to Czechoslovakia and marry me daughter for me..."
6.3.2007 3:00pm
Can't find a good name:
"The Immigrant" by Neil Sedaka:


Harbors open their doors to the young searching foreigner
Come to live in the light of the big L of liberty
Plains and open skies billboards would advertise
Was it anything like that when you arrived
Dream boats carried the future to the heart of America
People were waiting in line for a place by the river

It was a time when strangers were welcome here
Music would play they tell me the days were sweet and clear
It was a sweeter tune and there was so much room
That people could come from everywhere

Now he arrives with hopes and his heart set on miracles
Come to marry his fortune with a hand full of promises
To find they've closed the door they don't want him anymore
There isn't anymore to go around
Turning away he remembers he once heard a legend
That spoke of a mystical magical land called America
6.3.2007 3:03pm
Hattio (mail):
UW1L,
Good call on Thousands are Sailing. How about We're All Going Down to Dixieland by Steve Earle? Granted it's about the civil war. But it also brings up the truth that our military has depended on foreign immigrants many many many times over the course of our histoy.
6.3.2007 3:25pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
"Born in East L.A."--the Cheech and Chong song about a Hispanic American who is mistakenly deported and sneaks back into the country. Made into a movie which I rather like.
6.3.2007 3:49pm
TLB (mail) (www):
I can't think of any right now, but I'm sure our great Rock 'n' Roll poets have written songs about people using highly emotional propaganda to steal you blind, right? Perhaps someone else can suggest some tunes along those lines.
6.3.2007 4:47pm
JonC:
In his song, "Superhero," singer-comedian Stephen Lynch sings:

If I could be a superhero
I'd be Immigration Dude
I’d send all the foreigners back to their homes
For eating up all of our food
And taking our welfare and best jobs to boot
Like landscaping, dishwashing, picking our fruit
I’d pass a lot of laws to get rid of their food
‘Cause I’d be Immigration Dude
6.3.2007 6:43pm
zqfmgb:
Paul Simon, "Trailways Bus"

A passenger traveling quietly conceals himself
With a magazine and a sleepless pillow
Over the crest of the mountain the moon begins its climb
And he wakes to find he’s in rolling farmland

The farmer sleeps against his wife
He wonders what their life must be
A Trailways bus is heading south
Into Washington, D.C.

Mother and child, the baby maybe two months old
Prepare themselves for sleep and feeding.
The shadow of the capitol dome slides across his face
And his heart is racing with the urge to freedom.

The father motionless as stone,
A shepherd resting with his flock,
The trailways bus is turning west-
Dallas via Little Rock.

O my darling, darling Sal!
The desert moon is my witness.
I’ve no money to come east,
But I know you’ll soon be here

We pull into downtown Dallas by the side of the grassy knoll
Where the leader fell and a town was broken.
Away from the feel and flow of life for so many years
He hears music playing and Spanish spoken

The border patrol outside of tucson boarded the bus
"Any aliens here? You better check with us.
How about you son?
You look like you got Spanish blood.
Do you ’habla ingles,’ am I understood?"

"Yes, I am an alien, from Mars.
I come to earth from outer space.
And if I traveled my whole life
You guys would still be on my case
You guys would still be on my case"

But he can’t leave his fears behind,
He recalls each fatal thrust
The screams carried by the wind,
Phantom figures in the dust
Phantom figures in the dust
Phantom figures in the dust.
6.3.2007 6:48pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
TLB-

I can't think of any right now, but I'm sure our great Rock 'n' Roll poets have written songs about people using highly emotional propaganda to steal you blind, right? Perhaps someone else can suggest some tunes along those lines.

Great topic. I can only think of one lyric that's close, but there should be a bunch of them. Here's a verse from "Tomorrow" by Silverchair:

"You say that money, isn't everything,
But I'd like to see you live without it.
You think you can keep on going living like a king.
Oohh babe, but I strongly doubt it."

There's got to be more out there. There's a song called - I think - "We don't want your money, we want ours" but I don't know the artist.
6.3.2007 8:03pm
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Revonna-

They're workers not waiting with outstretched hands. Probably just seems that way to entitled grandchildren, and great grands, etc. who can't understand when they get beat in honest competition by immigrants. Hard work, not handouts.

When they actually work for it, fine. But when they steal from or defraud other people they are lazy, dishonest thieves just like anyone else. Using scams, false claims, slip and fall swindles, etc. isn't "hard work" - its dishonesty and theft. And I'd say this no matter what race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, etc. someone happens to be. Don't say you became successful by "hard work" when it was theft, fraud, lying, swindling, corruption, etc.

And this is a seperate issue from how vigorously you think the immigration laws should be enforced.

PS: Somehow I think the Indigo Girls would change their tune if someone got rich off their intellectual and other property while they were penniless. But somehow celebrities seem immune from hypocrisy.
6.3.2007 8:15pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"Down at the office had to fill out the forms
A pink one, a red one, the colours you choose,
Up to the counter to see what they think
They said 'it doesn't count man, it ain't written in ink'"

Don't know about the immigration theme, but THAT described a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for any disabled person who uses assistive technology.
6.3.2007 11:43pm
StrategyUnit (mail) (www):
Gogol Bordello has a great song called "Immigrant Punk". If you guys don't know, Gogol Bordello gypsy punk band headed by Eugene Hütz (originally born as Evgeniy Nikolaev in Ukraine). He played Alex in the movie "Everything Is Illuminated". While based in New York, most of the band members are Eastern European immigrants.

I love the song, though I have to say I feel infinitely more American than identifying with an immigrant identity (despite my non-US birth).


Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk
Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk
Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk[x2]
Punk!

Upon arriving to the melting pot
I get penciled in as a goodamn white
Now that I am categorized
Officer gets me naturalized

Immigrant Punk
Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk

Now that I'm living up in God knows where
Sometime it gets hard without a friend
But as I am lurking around
Hoptza! I see another immigrant punk!
There is a little punk rock mafia
Everywhere you go
She is good to me and I am good to her...

Legalize me! Realize me!

Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk
Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk
Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk

Despite the living up in USA
I'm still holding up in all my ways
I gotta friends, we gotta band
We still make sound you can't stand
Without banging on some big old pot
Without getting out of bed
But I'm relaxed, I'm just lurking around
Hoptza! I see another immigrant punk!
There is a little punk rock mafia
Everywhere you go
She is good to me and I am good to her...

Legalize me! Realize me!
Party!

Of course we immigrants wanna sing all night long
Don't you know the singing salves the troubled soul?
So I'm relaxed, I'm just lurking around
I got a method and you don't
You got a dictionary kicking around?
Look up the immigrant, immigrant, immigrant punk!

Punk
Immigrant Punk
Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk
Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk

Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk
Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk
Immigrant, immigrant, immigrant Punk

Punk! Punk! Punk! Punk!
I Punk!
6.4.2007 2:07am
Orielbean (mail):
Gogol is awesome. That is some great vinyl to pick up. East Infection is a lot of fun and has a dynamic beat the whole way through.
6.4.2007 12:23pm
Jeff Hallman (mail):
You have to hear Willie Nelson sing this to appreciate it's power:

LIVING IN THE PROMISELAND (David Lynn Jones)

Give us your tired and weak and we will make them strong
Bring us your foreign songs and we will sing along
Leave us your broken dreams we'll give them time to mend
There's still a lot of love living in the Promiseland

Living in the Promiseland our dreams are made of steel
The prayer of every man is to know how freedom feels
There's a winding road across the shifting sand
And room for everyone living in the Promiseland

So they came from a distant isle, nameless woman faithless child
Like a bad dream
Until there was no room at all, no place to run, and no place to fall

Give us a daily bread we have no shoes to wear
No place to call our home only this cross to bear
We are the multitudes lend us a helping hand
Is there no love anymore living in the Promiseland

Living in the Promiseland our dreams are made of steel...
And room for everyone living in the Promiseland
6.4.2007 1:19pm
TLB (mail) (www):
Just to make this clear, my comment above was mostly refering to those who profit from massive illegal or legal immigration, and only to a lesser extent to some segment of immigrants of any kind.
6.4.2007 5:34pm
sonicfrog (mail) (www):
Zep's "The Immigrant Song" of coarse!
6.5.2007 11:18am
Chris Land (mail):
The Great American Melting Pot, from Schoolhouse Rock.

My grandmother came from Russia,
A satchel on her knee;
My grandfather had his father's cap
He brought from Italy.
They'd heard about a country
Where life might let them win,
They paid the fare to America
And there they melted in.

Lovely Lady Liberty,
With her book of recipes,
And the finest one she's got
Is the great American melting pot.
The great American melting pot.

(America was founded by the English)
(But also by the Germans, Dutch and French)
(The principle still sticks, our heritage is mixed)
(So any kid can be the president!)

You simply melt right in,
It doesn't matter what your skin.
It doesn't matter where you're from,
Or your religion,
You jump right in
To the great American melting pot.
Great American melting pot

Oooh what a stew,
Red white and blue.

America was the new world,
And Europe was the old.
America was the land of hope,
Or so the legend told.
On steamboats by the millions,
In search of honest pay,
Those 19th-century immigrants sailed
To reach the U.S.A.

Lovely Lady Liberty
With her book of recipes
And the finest one she's got
Is the great American melting pot.
The great Anerican melting pot.

What good ingredients:
Liberty and immigrants.

They brought their countries' customs,
Their language and their ways.
They filled the factories,
Tilled the soil,
Helped build the U.S.A.

Go on and ask your Grandma,
Hear what she has to tell,
How great to be an American
And something else as well.

Lovely Lady Liberty
With her book of recipes
And the finest one she's got
Is the great American melting pot.
The great American melting pot.
The great American melting pot...
6.6.2007 2:53am