Friday, January 6, 2023


This was prepared as a chapter in my hypothetical book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1), but is not part of that project's current blueprint.

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Today, this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

THE MC5: Kick Out The Jams

Written by Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer, Fred "Sonic" Smith, Dennis Thompson, and Rob Tyner
Produced by Bruce Botnick and Jac Holzman
Single from the album Kick Out The Jams, Elektra Records, 1969

You say you want a revolution? After the assassinations of MLK and RFK in 1968, as protests against the war in Viet Nam ruptured the perceived feel-good vibe of the previous year's Summer of Love, Nixon assumed the presidency on January 20th of 1969. It was a symbolic certification of a growing dread and recognition that citizens were drawing straws to determine team line-ups in an ongoing scrimmage of US versus THEM. It was the end of the world as we knew it, and there wasn't anyone feeling fine. Brothers and sisters? Motherfuckers. Kick out the jams.

Back when the future members of the Clash were still just kids playing and laughing and dreaming idly of maybe someday rocking the casbah, the guys in the MC5 were already angry and loud, the rockin' and rollin' embodiment of sheer RAGE!!! in the '60s. As the world at large seemed set to combust in a flurry of activist anger against oppression, the MC5 were a testimonial, heralded by the fiery threat of rioting in the streets and an incendiary battle cry of Kick out the jams, motherfuckers! Cathartic anger. Irresistible anger. Anger without end, Amen.

"Kick Out The Jams" is a prototype for many a metal and punk record that followed. It's powerful and pissed-off, yet just barely polished enough to retain its belligerent, big rock groove, a statement of defiant intent as Rome and all its Romans burn. 
As relevant today as it was then.

If you like what you see here on Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider supporting this blog by becoming a patron on Patreonor by visiting CC's Tip Jar. Additional products and projects are listed here.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at You can read about our history here.

1 comment: