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Presidential Rock

On January 20th, thousands will celebrate the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. But before that Jim and Greg wanted to host their own celebration by playing the best songs ever written about the office of Commander-in-Chief.

Here's a collection of songs to kick off this new administration:

Go to episode 164
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Music News

The verdict is in: three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been found guilty of "hooliganism" and are sentenced to two years in prison. Pussy Riot caught international notice when they performed their song "Punk Prayer" in Moscow's foremost Orthodox Cathedral in February, calling upon the Virgin Mary to“banish Putin.”The Russian government responded with a Soviet-style show trial, making Pussy Riot the darlings of the West. Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney, and Madonna are just a sampling of the pop music illuminati who have publicly supported the group. Jim's impressed that in 2012, punk music still has the power to seriously rile governments. To those who think rock music is just entertainment, he says,“think again.”Greg points out that Pussy Riot aren't the first musical act to suffer serious consequences for politically charged music. They join a list that also includes Fela Kuti, Gilberto Gil, and The Plastic People of the Universe.

In other news, the RIAA's profits are way down according to their latest tax filings. Membership dues from the major labels fell 50% in two years, reflecting the hemorrhaging of the industry as a whole. Unsurprisingly, the RIAA's executives are still doing just dandy. President Carey Sherman and VP Mitch Bainwol each pulled down million-plus salaries last year.

Go to episode 352

Music News

Songwriter George David Weiss died this week at age 89. He's behind some of music's most iconic tunes including "Can't Help Falling In Love," "What a Wonderful World" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

There was actually some controversy surrounding who actually wrote“The Lion Sleeps Tonight,”and Weiss would go on to tackle some of these ownership issues as the president of the Songwriters Guild of America. Jim thinks a great way to remember this“old-school”talent is by listening to The Flaming Lips' completely un-ironic version of "What a Wonderful World."

Go to episode 248

Music News

What's an ousted prime minister to do with all his free time? Release an album of course. Former Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi co-wrote all 11 tracks on the new album of love songs by Mariano Apicella. True Love sounds a little more Spanish than Italian to Jim, but he's mostly amused that a twice-married man who has had his fair share of sex scandals would try his hand at love ballads. In other musical-political crossovers, Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour is giving up his current career to run for office. The man Rolling Stone once named the most famous living African singer hasn‘t announced which office, but many are speculating that he’ll go for the highest one, President.

In other news, Elvis Costello is taking a unique marketing tact in promoting his new album The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook. He says,“Don‘t buy it.”At $200, Costello thinks the box set is overpriced, and he’d instead recommend you invest your money in something more worthwhile-a Louis Armstrong box set priced at less than $150.

Go to episode 314