Saturday, July 4, 2015

'Watt' Is More American Than the Beach Boys?

That good looking guy on the left is James G. Watt, or "Twat," as he was often affectionately called. Watt was interior secretary for most (but not all) of President Ronald Reagan's first term. For music fans of a certain age, he will be forever remembered as the guy that got the Beach Boys banned from playing the Washington Mall on July 4, 1983. Watt never called out the Beach Boys by name, but he said all rock bands brought out "the wrong element," and that they encouraged drug abuse and alcoholism. So, instead of the traditional pick of the Beach Boys, that spring Wayne Newton and other "wholesome" acts were chosen for the celebration instead.

As you can guess, Watt became a villain of the highest order, and the White House switchboard was inundated with complaints. Even First Lady Nancy Reagan backed the boys from Hawthorne. In the end, due to the mounting scandal, they were eventually invited to play. However, the Beach Boys declined, and you wanna know why? Due to all of the publicity surrounding the debacle, the Beach Boys were more popular than they had been in years. Atlantic City had already called on them to play America's birthday.

So, what happened to Mr. Watt? A few months later, in the fall of '83, he resigned his cabinet position after drawing fire for his description of the coal advisory commission, saying, "I have a black, I have a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And we have talent." Ooh, you almost pulled it off with that "talent" quip at the end. Good one, Mr. Secretary. Anyway, let's listen to some live Brian Wilson on America's birthday. These songs are taken from his show at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, Ill., on June 30, 2001. He opened for Paul Simon. I know it was a great appearance because I was there.

"Brian Wilson" and "'Till I Die"
"Sail on Sailor"
"Please Let Me Wonder"
"Our Prayer" and "Heroes and Villains"
"Surf's Up"


Charity Chic said...

Twat indeed Brian.An interesting read

kevinpat said...

Hahahahahaha. I forgot about that! A tiny slice that was indicative of all that was the Reagan reign. Even Nancy "just-say-no" knew better this time. Twat. Hahahahahaha. Yup. Good 4th story Bri!

Brian said...

Hi Kevinpat. Hope you had a nice holiday. I was pretty young, but I remember this one well. CC, Probably not as big a story in your neck of the woods. Glad you found it interesting though.