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Song Parodies -> "Barack"

Original Song Title:


Original Performer:

Leonard Cohen

Parody Song Title:


Parody Written by:

Patrick McWilliams

The Lyrics

Someone did a parody of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" the other day. I looked up another Leonard Cohen song, and to my surprise, no one has used it yet. Last night, on my local PBS station I heard Cohen performing "Suzanne", so I was able to check the printed lyrics against his rendition. The version I remember from the radio was recorded by Noel Harrison. If you're not familiar with it, look it up on youtube. Haunting melody.
Barack took an oath, then he sold us down the river
You can hear the falsehoods fly
He will spend the country bankrupt
But the public was half crazy
And that's why they voted for him
So he'd feed them all on food stamps
Paid with borrowed funds from China
And just when you try to tell him
That you have no more to live on
He saddles you with Health Care
And he lets Pelosi grumble
That you've always been a racist
And you wish you could impeach him
Wish that you could turn back time
Before he made you trust him
Speaking from his teleprompter to your mind

Mohammed was a prophet
From a land with little water
And fanatics still invoke him
When they pillage, rape and slaughter
And if he'd known for certain
Just how violent men would use them
Could he have changed his verses
So that they would not abuse them
All God's commandments broken
Soon the Earth will burst asunder
The power of the atom
Will leave not standing stone upon a stone
We're supposed to understand them
We're supposed to sympathize
But it's so damned hard to trust them
When you've seen the falling towers with your eyes

To Barack stretch your hand
He is such a gracious giver
And we eat our daily dinner
At Salvation Army kitchens
And our wealth still flows like honey
To the Wall Street money changers
While we scavenge through the garbage
And compete for scraps with strangers
There are soldiers in the graveyards
There are children never borning
Men are reaching out for jobs
But they'll be unemployed forever
While Barack dangles favors
But the sheeple still adore him
There are those who follow blind
But you know you dare not trust him
For he seeks not just your body, but your mind

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Matches Pace of
Original Song: 
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Voting Results

Pacing: 4.6
How Funny: 4.0
Overall Rating: 4.0

Total Votes: 5

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   0
 2   0
 3   0
 4   2
 5   3

User Comments

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Tommy Turtle - March 13, 2010 - Report this comment
DKTOS, but the free-verse form is refreshingly different.
In all fairness, the words of other prophets, including Moses and Jesus, have been used to justify atrocties -- in fact, there is a saying (Christian origin, I believe) that "The Devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.) Sadly, quite true. Killers will hide behind anything.

Otherwise, continues to nail the current problems and the lack of solutions coming from Washington - mostly, ways to make it worse. I'll trust your pacint -- 555.
Patrick - March 15, 2010 - Report this comment
I am surprised people are not more familiar with the song. Cohen is a known, respected singer/songwriter. Noel Harrison's version was played extensively on the radio (at least in Kansas City). Neil Diamond and Judy Collins both recorded it. There was a teen novel "Dave's Song" which made extensive reference to it. In the original song, the second verse speaks of Jesus and the fact that men do not see him until they are in danger. I changed it to Mohammed because the biggest danger facing the world today is the possession of atomic weapons by Muslim fanatics. The old Soviet leaders and ours had a common desire to survive and enrich themselves by bleeding the peasants. The Iranian mullah's would gladly blow themselves up if they could take the infidels with them. Almost before the dust of the Trade Center had settled, the politically correct party line was that "Islam is a peaceful religion", despite abundant evidence to the contrary. A couple people voted, but I don't know whether they took exception to my writing or to my political message. I wish more readers would leave comments. I attempted to follow the original very closely for style and vocabulary, and consider it perhaps my best effort in that regard. I always appreciate your critiques because you are highly knowledgeable about language and musical structure, and a first-rate songwriter. If someone doesn't like my politics and wants to condemn them, well, I am certainly used to that. Barack Obama did come from being a complete unknown to President of the United States in less than two years. Somebody ought to be able to make a song out of that. It is a genuine achievement. Though you can see my interpretation of it above.
TT - March 15, 2010 - Report this comment
Cyrus the Great of Persia is honored in the Hebrew Bible for freeing Hebrew slaves from Babylon and allowing them to return to their homeland. He is the only non-Jew in the Old Testament to be referred to as "Messiah" (deliverer)

During the Dark and Middle Ages of the West, Persia was the world's leader in science and technology -- look it up. (about 6-700 AD to about 1000-1200 AD. Strongly suppressed in our schools -- you;ll be shocked.) Apparently, the Caliphate rule was tolerant of other religions, which hasn't always been true of some other religions when they held power.

There have always been radical fanatics in any group. 370 self-identified Muslims died in the Twin Towers. It wasn't about religion, it was about hate. Lots of interesting history and theology to read, if you can get past the warmongers on all sides -- and maybe if the US hadn't been meddling in the Mid-East for the past 60+ years, propping up the Shah of Iran to get cheap oil, the Saudi Kings so we could have air bases closer to the USSR, and minded our own business... food for thought.

ps Glad you enjoy my dissertations. Not everyone does. As for BO, I'd say that rather than an achievement, an unqualified upstart with almost no high-level experience parlayed a gift for oratory, the race card, good looks, and the media's fascination with the event -- mostly, the "historical first" angle -- into a job well over his head.
Patrick - March 16, 2010 - Report this comment
Jews lived peacefully under the Moorish regime in Spain. Shortly before Columbus' voyage, the Moors were driven from the country. The Jews left too, or disguised their faith in a practice known as crypto-Judaism, disguising traditional practices under the guise of Catholicism. I once heard a radio interview with a rabbi in Sarajevo on NPR. After a couple seconds I realised he was speaking Spanish. This was Ladino, the language of Jews of the 1400's Diaspora. My reference to Mohammed is to how he might have reacted to the way that later men would interpret his words. Jesus foresaw that his teachings would be twisted to justify persecution and hatred.

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