The Rascals – People Got To Be Free

Five weeks on the top of the Billboard chart, in 1968, the Rascals sing of tolerance for their long hair and freedom for them to tousle it about. It’s a micro call for liberty in the USA where constitutionalism has long protected more essential rights, but also a slam against conservatism in the hippy days.

The general lyrics can have broader conclusions drawn from them concerning freedom from interference… though the song was inspired by an encounter the band had with some folks less amenable to the sixties counter culture, when their tour bus broke down.

The song covers off a number of clichés about freedom trains, love moving mountains and making blind men see, and may trip up in its collectivist logic typical of the 1960s, by recommending that a poor person be helped by an individual and not society and/or the government. Or perhaps the tune could be co-opted as a libertarian anthem.

The Rascals, né The Young Rascals, are often tagged as being a blue-eyed soul group, and required African American musical acts to also be on the lineup at festivals.


One thought on “The Rascals – People Got To Be Free

  1. Pingback: Richie Havens – Freedom | Political Tunes

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