“We Built This City” has been recognized by Rolling Stone as one of the top 10 worst songs of the Eighties and by Blender as one of the 50 most awesomely bad songs of all time. Composed by Bernie Taupin, Martin Page, Dennis Lambert, and Peter Wolf, and — for those whose memory has been impaired by mushrooms or time — originally recorded by the American rock group Starship, it was released as the group’s debut single on August 1, 1985. It made it all the way to the top of the charts.
With Obama’s great speech in Roanoke this past Friday, isn’t this a song whose time has come again? The commentary writes itself:
There are a lot of wealthy, successful rockers who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by rockers who think, well, it must be because I was such a good musician. There are a lot of good musicians out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking musicians out there.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great music teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American music industry that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a city — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.