Rolling Stones songs: Sweet Neo Con
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
It’s liberty for all/ ‘Cause democracy’s our style/ Unless you are against us/ Then it’s prison without trial…
Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: Studio France, West Indies, Nov. 2004; Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles, USA, March 7-9 and June 6-28 2005
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This song is a political song about George Bush, gasoline, Dick Cheney and conservatism. It speaks out against the Bush administration (a “Neo Con” is a “New Conservative”); there was concern that The Rolling Stones’ sponsors would drop them for taking a political stand against the president, but there were no repercussions.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Sweet Neo Con” follows in a direct line from “Dangerous Beauty.” This
time, the target is not the US Army, but the Bush administration. You call
yourself a Christian/I think that you’re a hypocrite/You say you are a
patriot/I think that you’re a crock of shit: these words seem to be addressed
to George W. Bush, although Mick Jagger has since denied it. More
generally, the Stones singer has the president’s neoconservative advisers in
his sights. These include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who,
following the September 11 attacks, threw themselves into a relentless war
on terrorism and transformed the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts into a battle
of the civilizations. The neoconservatives present themselves as the
defenders of democracy, but, sings Jagger, if you’re not with them, it’s
prison without trial. What motivates them in reality is petroleum, money,
and world domination—the notion of a unipolar world. They have no need
of foolish friendships (by which we are to understand old Europe and the
UN). And the Stones singer grinds his point home: How come you’re so
wrong?/My sweet neocon. Keith Richards, who has no great interest in
political matters, initially wondered about the appropriateness of this frontal
attack on Bush’s politics on the album: “I said to Mick, ‘Are you sure these
guys are worth a Rolling Stones song?’ But he felt strongly about it.… I
said, ‘If you feel like that about it and you feel it needs to be said, then I’m
backing you up, pal.’” The act of a gentleman!
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