For Teddy: Our Favorite Dead Kennedys Songs

That's right, we went there. Longtime Massachussetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy, better known as Teddy, passed away late Tuesday night at age 77. News media sites have already gone to Defcon 2 - "A Famous Person Not Named Michael Jackson Has Died" - so Rocks Off thought we'd take a different approach.

Seeing as how the last of the Camelot brothers has finally shuffled off his mortal coil, we decided to take a look at some of the more infamous songs by the band who - if not for the assassinations of Teddy's older brothers JFK and RFK - would probably still be calling themselves the Pink Twinkies.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Dead Kennedys.

"Stars and Stripes of Corruption": Ronald Reagan really brought out the best in people, and his second term helped motivate DK front man Jello Biafra to write his most scathing criticism of the government yet, albeit combined with a laundry list of things we can do to bring about social change. It seems unlikely many people got past the reference to the Washington Monument as Klansman, however.

"Pull My Strings": It was the DKs' Elvis Costello moment, halting a performance of "California Uber Alles" at the 1980 Bay Area Music Awards to segue into this critique of the music industry - more specifically, how success seems to hinge on the presence of a big cock and a small brain. The Knack, whose "My Sharona" gets skewered here, can at least take some comfort in the fact that logic would seem to dictate that they all have extremely large penises.

"Police Truck": We'll admit, we were bigger fans of this "Holiday in Cambodia" B-side than "Holiday" itself. Growing up on the mean streets of College Station, we knew all about police oppression, maaaan.

"Kill the Poor": What the hell ever happened to the neutron bomb? So what if the urban regentrification potential outlined here was never realized? Surely there are pest control or extreme pressure washing applications to be explored.

"Too Drunk to Fuck": One of the marks of good satire is how long it takes for the subject to realize it's being made fun of. Judging by the non-ironic love this song has generated among the binge-drinking crowd for the last 30 years, we'd have to say "2D2F" scores pretty highly.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar