Monday, October 27, 2008

Reading into the lyrics: Joe Visconti's "America"

I don't know if I have to say this again, but I'm new here. So, from my total outsider perspective, Joe Visconti, West Hartford Town Council member and current Republican candidate for the First Congressional District of Connecticut, comes across as a total character. I mean, how many candidates for Congress have their own CD?

Wait, did anyone out there not know this?

Yes, over at, you can not only look at some pretty boss photos of Mr. Visconti in his "artist" pose, but you can purchase his brand new album. You can also watch the video for his single "America."

I'm watching it right now. There's the American flag, flapping proudly in the air. Black and white photos are beginning to fade in and out, showing the history of our great nation. And, here comes Mr. Visconti's voice. "America," he starts. "The pipes are calling."

Hey, hold up a minute! These lyrics seem VERY familiar. I think I've heard these words before. In fact, I'm positive I've heard these words before.

Time for a little internet digging . . .

Okay, here we go.

The following is the first verse and chorus of Joe Visconti's "America." After each line, I have included songs and musicians who use the exact same lyrics as Joe in their own, well published and often-times very popular songs:

America (Neil Diamond, Simon and Garfunkel, Bernstein/Sondheim)
The pipes are calling (Danny Boy)
From the rock of ages (Def Leppard, Grant Lee Buffalo, "Rock of Ages" traditional hymn, and countless others)
Can you see the dawn's
Early light? ("Star-Spangled Banner")
You were there (Amy Grant, Babyface, Michael Jackson)
You were there
When my eyes had seen the glory ("Battle Hymn of the Republic")
As I walked
Through the valley of the shadow of death (well, besides Psalm 23:4, Nas, Kanye West, Coolio, Megadeth, and just about a million others)
Liberty belongs
To everyone
Freedom is a song
(Sinead O’Connor)
That must be sung (Peter, Paul & Mary)
Love is all we need (a little outfit called The Beatles, but, you've probably never heard of them. They're British.)
To understand
That brotherhood and peace (Mac Davis)
Are right at hand

There are a lot of similar lyrics in this song, aren't there? Someone is guilty of sloppy song writing, if you ask me.

Now, I'm not saying that Mr. Visconti cribs all of his notes from the big boys out there in the music world, but can anyone in this day and age get away with singing "love is all we need" and NOT carry the last name McCartney or Starr? Oh, but in The Beatles' song, the lyric is "love is all YOU need." This could be another Vanilla Ice/Queen dispute over originality (in their case, it was over the rhythm to "Ice Ice Baby" sounding awfully familiar to "Under Pressure"). But, something tells me the Fab Two are too busy to care. 

Something also tells me that Mr. Visconti has very little chance in winning the popular vote eight days from now. It's a shame, really, because I'm sure he'd come up with a pretty interesting acceptance speech. Maybe something along these lines . . .

I haven't had an orthodox career, and I've wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me! Reverend clergy, fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom - symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning - signifying renewal, as well as change. O God, our gracious Heavenly Father, help us to see the insights that come from this new nation. Help us to follow Thee and all of Thy creative works in this world, and that somehow we will discover that we are made to live together as brothers And that it will come in this generation: the day when all men will recognize the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. I am the king of the world! 

In case you were wondering, that speech is a combination of the following: Sally Field's academy award speech from 1985, JFK's inaugural speech from 1961, Martin Luther King's "Birth of a New Nation" speech from 1957, and James Cameron'c academy award speech from 1998.

Of course, I'm just having a little bit of fun here. Regardless of his talent as a musician, I'm sure Mr. Visconti is a viable candidate. I may not be a Republican, but I can't fault anyone for taking on the enormous task and responsibility associated with a run at a major office. Plus, our nation may have a first-term governor/hockey mom from Alaska as our 2nd in command, so why can't Joe be a Congressman? 

I wish Mr. Visconti, as well as all of the candidates, the best of luck in the election.

But, man, a rockin' and rollin' Congressman would certainly help kick the uptight image of Connecticut, wouldn't it?


Surry said...

That's awesome - love the lyric analysis - too funny.

And adding on to Joe's "rockin-n-rollin" cred; his best freind on the town council is former Guns n' Roses drummer Steven Adler!

Ben said...

If only that was the same Steven Adler, that would make an amazing dynamic duo! Though, picturing West Hartford's Steven Adler on drums for GnR is pretty great, as well.