X “4th Of July” (1987)

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Last year’s Independence Day choice was a tuneful ditty named “4th of July” by Shooter Jennings. This year, another song with the identically appropriate title by the simplest group ever to alphabetize in your record collection: X.

X was an L.A. band, among the first wave of late ‘70’s punk, and had as it’s original members some of the best rock names I know: vocalist Exene Cervenka, bassist/vocalist John Doe, drummer D.J. Bonebrake, and guitarist Billy Zoom. Their first album, “Los Angeles,” was produced by Doors keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, and both of their first two records have been listed by Rolling Stone as among the 500 greatest albums of all time. By the time this not exactly celebratory song was released in 1987, however, Billy Zoom had sped out of the band to be replaced by Dave Alvin, on leave from The Blasters, who wrote it for X and recorded it with them (but does not appear in the accompanying video). X’s ‘4th of July’ track also gained notoriety after appearing on The Sopranos, where it played over the end credits of the 2006 episode “Live Free or Die” in the show’s final season.

May everyone’s 4th of July day realize a better fate than that found by Tony Soprano at the end of his last scene (whatever that actually was).


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