Rare Earth – Hey, Big Brother

White Motowners from the early 1970s groove on Big Brother.

“Big Brother” comes from George Orwell’s 1984 novel, and was a character serving as dictator for the fictional country of Oceania. More commonly, “Big Brother” today refers to omnipresent surveillance of us, thus reducing our freedom. Electronic means of doing so are covered here by The Alan Parsons Project’s song, Eye In The Sky.

It’s not actually clear by the lyrics alone whether Rare Earth are singing about the Orwellian Big Brother. The lyrics call for a big brother (not necessarily capitalized) to get in touch with ordinary people. These common folk on the street may even be looking up to the sky, waiting for some kind of a Big Brother messiah. Maybe Rare Earth was thinking more of philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ thoughts on a benevolent ruler – Leviathan – coming to oversee and govern us. Big Brother here could also be God. These interpretations, still, may be too much and far off.

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