A shadu la ilaha illa Allah

by | Dec 8, 2005

High time to get past the Grateful Dead v. Their Fans thread. Like DK said in a comment here, there is so much great music happening today. Ergo, it’s time we salute the finer workings of Steve Earle’s mind.

Earle has some massive balls to come out with a song called “John Walker’s Blues” in post 9/11 Amerika. I love that in an artist, or in any American citizen, for that matter.

Here are the lyrics:

John Walker Blues

I’m just an American boy raised on MTV
And I’ve seen all those kids in the soda pop ads
But none of ’em looked like me
So I started lookin’ around for a light out of the dim
And the first thing I heard that made sense was the word
Of Mohammed, peace be upon him

A shadu la ilaha illa Allah
There is no God but God

If my daddy could see me now — chains around my feet
He don’t understand that sometimes a man
Has got to fight for what he believes
And I believe God is great, all praise due to him
And if I should die, I’ll rise up to the sky
Just like Jesus, peace be upon him


We came to fight the Jihad and our hearts were pure and strong
As death filled the air, we all offered up prayers
And prepared for our martyrdom
But Allah had some other plan, some secret not revealed
Now they’re draggin’ me back with my head in a sack
To the land of the infidel

A shadu la ilaha illa Allah
A shadu la ilaha illa Allah

It’s truly a beautiful song. Of course not everyone agress with my assessment. According to CNN, Nashville radio talk show host Steve Gill said “it celebrates and glorifies a traitor to this country.” But what does this Gill guy know? He’s probably never even heard the song.

Here’s some more from the CNN piece:

“I’m not trying to get myself deported or something,” said Earle. “In a big way this is the most pro-American record I’ve ever made. I feel urgently American.”

Danny Goldberg, CEO of Artemis Records, the company releasing “Jerusalem,” has rallied to Earle’s defense.

“The song does not glorify John Walker Lindh.” said Goldberg. “It would be a pretty shallow culture if songwriters only wrote about nice people.

“Anyone who listens to the ‘Jerusalem’ album will discover that Steve Earle remains a thoughtful singer who has chosen to incorporate current events into his poet’s vision.”