Sunday, February 05, 2017

Lady Gaga, Woody Guthrie, Politics and Super Bowl LI - WATCH: Halftime Show (FULL VIDEO)

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Lady Gaga performed a great Super Bowl LI Halftime show; I'd say one of the best Super Bowl performances of all time. She opened her set with the patriotic anthem God Bless America and then slyly segued to Woody Guthrie's classic folk song, This Land Is Your Land, which has an interesting political history (watch the video of Lady Gaga's Halftime spectacle below).

American folk singer/songwriter and balladeer, Woody Guthrie (1912 - 1967) wrote the lyrics to This Land Is Your Land in response to his dislike for God Bless America (by Irving Berlin). Guthrie felt that the message conveyed by the lyrics of God Bless America represented a sense of complacency and was unrealistic about the USA.

This Land Is Your Land originally included lyrics that instantly bring to mind the 'Mexican wall' that Donald Trump and the Republican Party want to build:
"There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me. The sign was painted, said 'Private Property.' But on the backside, it didn't say nothing. This land was made for you and me."
Another original lyric from This Land Is Your Land:
"One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple, by the relief office I saw my people. As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if God Blessed America for me."
Due to the danger of possible imprisonment in the early 1950's by House Un-American Activities Committee leader, U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, that verse was never released or recorded by Woody Guthrie. The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?

I was pleased to see that during the Super Bowl, Lady Gaga sang her unapologetically political LGBTQ anthem, Born This Way ("Don't hide yourself in regret, Just love yourself and you're set"). It was a personal highlight for me, as I feel it has even greater meaning today than it did when first released in 2011.

Lady Gaga's Super Bowl LI Set List:
God Bless America
This Land is Your Land
Poker Face
Born This Way
Just Dance
Million Reasons
Bad Romance