Today’s Music Monday selection — “Hypnotize” by System of a Down — marks the date on which the Tiananmen Square protests were violently ended 23 years ago today in 1989 in Beijing, China by the People’s Liberation Army.

"Tank Man" stops the advance of a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, in Beijing. This photograph, taken by Jeff Widener of the Associated Press, became one of the most famous images of the 20th century, and an international symbol at the end of the Cold War era.The demonstrations, which had begun on April 15, were inspired by astrophysics professor Fang Lizhi who, upon his return from teaching at Princeton University, began speaking out about liberty, human rights, and separation of powers.

Notably, Fang — who in a 1988 article in the Atlantic Monthly was dubbed “Chinas’s Andrei Sakharov” for his characteristic flouting of norms and outspoken beliefs about thinking individually — died on April 6, 2012. An obituary about him in the New York Times provides an insightful overview of his life and impact.

Fang’s ideas inspired students who initiated protests in December 1986. The chief issues included demands for economic liberalization, democracy, and rule of law. The Chinese government was greatly concerned by these activities and accused the students of fomenting turmoil.

Unrest finally culminated on June 4, 1989 when the Chinese Army was dispatched to Tiananmen Square with orders to clear the square by 6:00 am.  By 5:40 am — after the Army had wounded and killed several hundred students who had refused to disperse — the Square had been cleared.

One of the more iconic images that emerged from this unfortunate ordeal was a picture (included in this blog post) of an anonymous man dubbed “Tank Man” who stood in front of a Chinese Type 59 tank on June 5, 1989 (the morning after the Chinese military forcibly removed protestors from Tiananmen Square).

Hypnotize” — which was the lead single for the System of a Down’s album of the same name, was released on November 22, 2005 — was chosen as today’s Music Monday because Tiananmen Square is mentioned in the lyrics (see below).

Additionally, there is also a portion of the lyrics that proclaim “propaganda leaves us blinded.” According to the Wikipedia article about the song, “Another meaning that can be taken from the chorus is that while reality-distorting political propaganda is rampant, everyday life continues as usual.”

Hypnotize Lyrics

Why don’t you ask the kids at Tiananmen square?
Was Fashion the reason why they were there?

They disguise it, Hypnotize it
Television made you buy it

I’m just sitting in my car and waiting for my…

She’s scared that I will take her away from there
Her dreams that her country left with no one there

Mezmerize the simple minded
Propaganda leaves us blinded

I’m just sitting in my car and waiting for my girl
I’m just sitting in my car and waiting for my girl

I’m just sitting in my car and waiting for my girl
I’m just sitting in my car and waiting for my…
Girl

Since yesterday was Father’s Day in the United States, today’s Music Monday celebrates the special bond between dads and their kids.

There are many songs that capture this unique relationship, but a song that was always powerful and poignant to me was one of Paul McCartney’s lesser known pieces: Put it There. Released in 1990 as a single to McCartney’s 1989 album, Flowers in the Dirt (affiliate link), the song reached number 32 on the UK singles chart.

flowers-in-the-dirt

McCartney’s eighth solo studio album, Flowers in the Dirt was considered a major return as its release inaugurated his first world tour since his Wings Over the World tour in 1975/1976. The album’s musical quality was widely celebrated, earning McCartney his best reviews in years.

I share the same thoughts as those reviews, having always found the album beautifully written and masterfully performed. Notably, the album has added meaning because I attended the April 1, 1990 show of the Paul McCartney World Tour at UC Berkeley‘s California Memorial Stadium. I even found a setlist from the concert (complete with links to YouTube clips of each song performed)!

Having always found “Put it There” a touching tribute to a unique father/son relationship, the track took on added meaning when I became a dad to my two sons. If you listen to the lyrics (and/or read them — they are included below), you will understand the sweet, yet understated emotion of what the song is communicating: unconditional love.

Sometimes, as the song explains, simply having someone to hold your hand can fix any problem — or at least make you feel better while you confront it. Shamefully, the importance of fathers is often overlooked, but at least in my experience, my father (and, in fairness, my stepmother too) has made all the difference in my life recently.

In my own experience, knowing someone is unconditionally in my corner has made all the difference. My grandfather filled that role for me and I plan to do the same for my sons. Surely as they grow older their problems won’t be as easily resolved as they were as they are as children, but knowing they are loved and supported without question will always be essential to their well being.

Although my connection with my Dad was, unfortunately, interrupted for several years, I am grateful to have a renewed relationship with him. I am also thankful my sons can “put it there” — not just with me, but with my Dad as well.  Likewise, I look forward to continuing this tradition with my son’s children in the future.

And so, if you are thankful for your father, put it there!

Put it There Lyrics

Give Me Your Hand I’d Like To Shake It
I Want To Show You I’m Your Friend.
You’ll Understand If I Can Make It Clear
Its All That Matters In The End.
Put It There If It Weighs A Ton,
That’s What The Father Said To His Younger Son.
I Don’t Care If It Weighs A Ton,
As Long As You And I Are Here, Put It There.
Long As You And I Are Here, Put It There.

If There’s A Fight I’d Like To Fix It,
I Hate To See Things Go So Wrong.
The Darkest Night And All It’s Mixed Emotions,
Is Getting Lighter Sing A Song.

Given that it’s Memorial Day in the United States today’s Music Monday post is the appropriately titled song “Memorial Day” from the album “Going Out in Style” (affiliate link) by one of my favorite bands — Quincy, Massachusetts’ own Dropkick Murphys:

Of interest: the album on which this track appears, “Going Out in Style,” is a concept album combining the band member’s experiences and family folklore into the story of a fictional character named Cornelius Larkin.

According to the band’s bassist/vocalist, Ken Casey, “Cornelius has passed on to the other side, and the album becomes a retrospective of his life”.

If you’re not familiar with the band and their unique sound, Dropkick Murphys are an Irish-American Celtic Punk band that formed in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1996. Quincy was also the birthplace of former U.S. Presidents John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams, in addition to statesman John Hancock.

It is also adjacent to Braintree, Dropkick MurphysMassachusetts — which is where I lived for the first three years of my life.

As for the band, you might be familiar with their 2004 single “Tessie” — an EP release (affiliate link) which was their first and one of their biggest charting singles.

The original song on which it was based is the longtime anthem of the Boston Red Sox. The Dropkick Murphy’s EP of the song was used as a fan anthem for the Boston Red Sox historic 2004 and 2007 World Series victories.

If you’re not familiar with “Tessie” you have almost certainly heard the popular track off of “The Warrior’s Code” (affiliate link) and one of the band’s biggest singles: “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.”

Notably, this song was featured in the Academy Award-winning movie “The Departed“(affiliate link). It is also frequently used as an anthem for Boston sports teams.

Wishing you a wicked pissah Music Monday!