Hey Ronnie! 10 best punk songs about Reagan

Categories: Lists

reagan-sdi.jpg
April 1983 issue of TIME. How could '80s lefties not kind of loathe and fear this guy?
Thirty years ago today, at 12:27 p.m. mountain time, John Hinckley, Jr., shot then-president Ronald Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Reagan, of course, survived the shooting, went on to easily win a second term against Minnesota Democrat Walter Mondale (after pwning Mondale in the debate) and had dozens of punk bands reference him in their vitriolic, riotous songs.

In that spirit -- and because Reagan is arguably the biggest punk icon of the '80s -- here are the ten best songs about Reagan, which would have never been written had one-time Evergreen, Colorado resident Hinckley Jr. succeeded in his psycho mission.


10. D.O.A. - "Fucked Up Ronnie"
Vancouver's D.O.A. got its start during the Carter years, and the band, as Kill From the Heart points out, was just as political as it was party-heavy, a combination that is all too rare these days (looking at you, Bono). Don't miss the excellent live version of this song, recorded just before the 1984 general election.


9. "Fistfight In The Parking Lot" - Crisis of Conformity/ SNL band
This sketch debuted more than a year ago in February 2010, and surprisingly, no enterprising young punk has made a bootleg single of it. This video is hilarious (thanks to Fred Armisen) and on-point musicially (thanks to Armisen's punk history). Also, main Foo Fighter Dave Grohl (former drummer of D.C. hardcore band Scream) is on drums. Crisis of Conformity has an uncanny '80s hardcore schtick. It also gets bonus points for mentioning that other classic symbol of the Right: Alexander Haig, a reference so delightfully dated and now obscure that it's funny.


8. D.R.I. - "Reaganomics"
One of the best thrash bands Texas ever produced, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles also toured on the "Rock Against Reagan" tour (you thought we forgot?) along with another member of this list, the Dead Kennedys. This track is off the 1985 classic Dealing With It LP.


7. Direct Control - "Ronnie's Dead"
Off the 2006 You're Controlled LP, Richmond's Direct Control put this song second, making sure few would miss it. Side note: This is one of the best 12-inch punk records of the decade, you should buy it.


6. Wasted Youth - "Reagan's In"
The now-iconic cover of this 1981 EP drawn by Pushead (not sure if it was released before or after Reagan was shot, but we're guessing after), was originally that of Charles Manson, but changed to Reagan. This title track is also the first on the record, and while it's not as popular as others like "Fuck Authority" or "Teenage Nark," it's a great example of early '80s hardcore out West in L.A.



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12 comments
Mamastephania
Mamastephania

You forgot Bolluck Brothers  -  The Act Became Real

Jim Beam
Jim Beam

Growing up in 80's "Raygun country" Orange County made for good fun.

TSOL - Superficial LoveShattered Faith - Reagan CountryDead Kennedys - Moral Majority Various Artists - Let Them Eat Jelly Beans compilation

and who can forget the mowing down the people shirt which showed a smilin ronnie pushing a lawn mower mowing down the people.

Adog
Adog

the entire Bedtime for Democracy album!!!

Jhaga
Jhaga

But what about the Minutemen? "If Reagan Played Disco" and "King of the Hill" with Ronnie in the accompanying video.

David Sadof
David Sadof

FYI: You've got two songs labelled as #5. Honorable mention to Prince's 'Ronnie Talk To Russia.'

rain
rain

> the Dead Kennedys explicitly mention the president by name only once in a song, in this one.

Bzzt. Try again. "We've Got a Bigger Problem Now" is all about Reagan. It was an update of "California Uber Alles", which was about California Governor Jerry Brown.

PartyRat
PartyRat

Old band = Crisis of Conformity

Nick Lucchesi
Nick Lucchesi

i included "if reagan played disco" as one of the "Honorable Mentions"

Nick Lucchesi
Nick Lucchesi

I didn't include "We've Got a Bigger Problem Now" because it was a riff off another song as you mentioned. Thanks for pointing it out though! I've had a few people mention it, i should have been clearer there.

Nick

Clash1977
Clash1977

I am emperor Ronald Reagan/ born again with fascist cravings/ still you made me president

Never goes outta style

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