I’m a singer-songwriter. I favor songs with actual melodies and words you can understand … and sing in polite company.
So I never cared for “rap.” Hearing some of it in its earliest days, I thought somebody had left one letter off its name.
I understood, and somewhat appreciated, that most of it came from a subculture that perhaps didn’t have music instruments but still wanted a method of expressing ideas and sentiments; thus it created a rhythmic “rant” that grew popular with the young. Ironically, research showed that most of that “ghetto” music became more popular with kids who lived in better circumstances but were fascinated with the seamy, underprivileged “underworld” of the rappers.
The irony was that “gangsta” rappers were sometimes from more normal environments and became wealthy – singing “ghetto” music, living in Bel Air and driving Rolls Royces. But millions of young people of all ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds were being “infected” with the unbridled anger, racial “blame games” and outright calls for violence, much of it directed at the police!
Some of the lyrics, yelled over loud rock music, actually called on listeners to “off the pigs,” to find and kill police! Now, as much as 20 years later, one or more of those early, extremely violent groups have been “honored” as pioneers, brave leaders of worthy movements toward economic and racial equality.
And practically every day, our media outlets interrupt with “breaking news” about the attacks and assassinations of police – men and women killed only because they are police. Dallas, Baton Rouge, Milwaukee, New York, big and small towns all over our country are reporting mindless, unprovoked killings of society’s first line of defense: our brave men and women in blue.
Back when all this began, I saw red, not blue. As a singer-songwriter, I wrote and recorded songs “humanizing” the police, reminding listeners that these law enforcement people were husbands and wives and professional working people with families, doing dangerous vital jobs, responding to emergencies and calls for help – not asking for the color or race of those in danger, but racing to their defense, at the risk of their own lives!
I felt very strongly about the necessity of music that would speak sanity to young minds inflamed with anti-police, usually misguided rhetoric. I included the songs in my albums, but there was no interest at the radio level, so only those who bought my albums ever heard the songs.
Finally, a couple of years ago, I offered a four-song disc to the U.S. Deputy Sheriffs Organization to use as a fundraiser for their wonderful efforts to support police and their work and families, especially in smaller communities across America, where there isn’t as much funding for modern equipment and training as big cities have.
Happily, the songs helped raise significant funding, but were still largely unknown anywhere else.
Then came the massacre in Dallas last July, where a terribly misguided, unsettled ex-soldier, undoubtedly infected with the poisonous anti-police rhetoric, ambushed and killed police who were protecting a “Black Lives Matter” parade and demonstration!
Quickly, in procession, more assassinations took place, in Baton Rouge, then Milwaukee and across the U.S. A madness, unimaginable in the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Somebody at a local radio station began to play my recording of “Part of America Died Today,” and almost overnight, stations of almost every genre – Christian, Country, Adult Contemporary, Top 40 – and talk shows everywhere began playing that song.
Hear “Part of America Died Today”:
“Won’t Be Home Tonight for Dinner, Darlin'”:
“He’ll Never Walk Alone (Empty Uniform)”:
The fourth song of the set is “Can’t We Get Along?” a song I wrote and recorded based on Rodney King’s profound, plaintive question when he faced the press while recovering from the police beating he took when he resisted arrest while high – the beating that precipitated the violent L.A. riots in 1992. Instead of blaming the police or making any excuses, King pled for human understanding and compassion – and I dedicated my song to him.
“Can’t We Get Along?”
I made videos of each song – embedded herein – and they and the recordings are, of course, available at PatBoone.com and on iTunes and Amazon. I so want these songs (which to date are still the only ones so written) to be in every American home, to educate and inspire our young people to admire and honor our men and women in blue and to realize deeply that they are our first line of defense in our society, that they go to war on our behalf every day, not in the Mideast, but here in our streets and communities.
Each of us needs to ask, very honestly: In a time of real emergency, who will we call for help? A rapper? A protester? A “flag kneeler”? Or the men and women in blue, who will come quickly, armed and ready, to rescue and defend us?