20 April 2016

‎Reasons to like America: Part 1


As Donald Trump finds ever more inventive ways in which to make America grate again, the maddest US political cycle since 1912 is becoming wearing and frightening even for some of us obsessives who find politics on the other side of the Atlantic fascinating.

Trundling into London I saw the results from the New York primary and then got half way through an article on Hillary Clinton saying something about Donald Trump not saying something, or something, and gave up after almost losing the will to live. There was only one thing for it. Tune out and turn on some life-affirming music by the true poet of rock’n’roll, Chuck Berry. ‎And listening to Back in the USA it hit me for the first time in ages what is so downright awful about this Presidential race. Other than it possibly leading to the election of someone who will blow up the world, which would be most regrettable, it is making one the greatest countries on earth look terrible. Somehow the country that produced Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman, now offers Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. So, in a spirit of transatlantic friendship here’s my list of reasons to remember why America is already great and has given us so much. It is a music-centric list, but why not? What country other than the US (and Germany and Britain) has produced more outstanding music? I hope readers will send their own reasons to remind ourselves why we like America and perhaps we can – together – get through until November. We’ll publish a selection, and the best wins a bottle of wine from California.

Here’s my list.

Chuck Berry
Miles Davis
Gil Evans
Bill Evans
Duke Ellington
Aretha Franklin
Ella Fitzgerald
Hank Williams
Frank Sinatra
The Beach Boys
Louis Armstrong
Ike & Tina Turner
Sarah Vaughan
Elvis (apart from the films)
Wilson Pickett
Muscle Shoals studio
Willie Nelson
Muddy Waters
Dolly Parton
The Maria Schneider Orchestra
Prince, until 1987
Peggy Noonan
‎New York, which let’s face it is even better than London
The 101st Airborne‎
Martin Luther King
The Simpsons
Stevie Wonder – until I Just Called to Say I Love You
John Coltrane
Joni Mitchell
Little Richard
Jerry Lee Lewis
‎Chet Baker
Woody Allen
Buddy Holly

Iain Martin is Editor of CapX.