Current Events

Who's Cashing In On Osama's Death? The Gatlins, That's Who

Last week Rocks Off put together a list of ten singers, most of whom are not especially shy about offering their political opinions, we thought could be the first ones to ride Osama bin Laden's death to the top of the charts.

We have a winner. Sort of.

This morning Rocks Off got a somewhat breathless email from Absolute Publicity in Nashville. We quote:

Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers have been waiting - waiting for the moment. The moment that the legendary Grammy Award-winning trio knew would eventually come. At last, on Sunday, May 1, loud and proud, that moment arrived.

This "loud and proud" moment was not Bin Laden's death, per se. It was the Gatlins deciding the perfect moment had arrived to release a song from a nearly two-year-old album to radio.

"Plain and simple, we've been sitting on this thing for a while," Larry Gatlin said via Absolute. "We've known for some time that it would take a groundbreaking, monumental event for us to release this single to radio."

Wow. Using bin Laden's death to shill a song that's been commercially available since September 2009 - now that takes some huevos.

Equally saturated with strings and patriotism, "Americans, That's Who" first appeared on Gatlin's autobiographical 2009 album Pilgrimage. For someone who is buddies with George W. Bush and no stranger to Fox News, it's pretty innocuous, apolitical, support-the-troops boilerplate. Sample lyric:

They have left their wives and babies

And marched headlong into hell

Some have paid the ultimate price

So I can stand right up and tell you how I feel about it

And what I know in my heart is true

Who are these good people?

Americans, that's who.

At least the Gatlins can still harmonize like nobody's business, especially when they cut into a chorus of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." That's why Rocks Off chooses to remember them this way. And definitely this way.

Your move, Mr. Keith.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray