"California Über Alles" as written by Michael Franti, Jello Biafra and John Greenway....
I am Governor Jerry Brown
My aura smiles and never frowns
Soon I will be president

Carter power will soon go 'way
I will be Führer one day
I will command all of you
Your kids will meditate in school
Your kids will meditate in school

California Über Alles
California Über Alles
Über Alles California
Über Alles California

Zen fascists will control you
Hundred percent natural
You will jog for the master race
And always wear the happy face
Close your eyes, can't happen here
Big Bro' on white horse is near
The hippies won't come back, you say
Mellow out or you will pay
Mellow out or you will pay

California Über Alles
California Über Alles
Über Alles California
Über Alles California

Now it is nineteen eighty-four
Knock-knock at your front door
It's the suede denim secret police
They have come for your uncool niece

Come quietly to the camp
You'd look nice as a drawstring lamp
Don't you worry, it's only a shower
For your clothes, here's a pretty flower

Die on organic poison gas
Serpent's egg's already hatched
You will croak, you little clown
When you mess with President Brown
When you mess with President Brown

California Über Alles
California Über Alles
Über Alles California
Über Alles California


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"California Über Alles" as written by John Greenway Jello Biafra

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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California Über Alles song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentJerry Brown was Governor of California in the 70's, and had a reputation for being somewhat of a left-wing kook, into the hippie culture. He was nicknamed "Governor Moonbeam".

    In 1976 he tried to unseat Jimmy Carter as the Democratic nominee for President, but to the surprise of no one, was unsuccessful. Basically, this is a satirical song imagining what a Jerry Brown presidency would be like. It's funny to imagine a laid-back guy like Brown trying to forcibly assimilate the entire country into his laid-back hippie culture using Nazi-esque tactics, with "suede denim secret police" and "organic poison gas" etc.

    That's the message. If you don't know about politics, you won't understand this song.
    J.J.on April 10, 2004   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI think one of the major things this song is about is how corruptive power becomes. Like how even a seemilngly laid-back hippie like J.Brown can turn into Hitler if he's given the resources, one thing i've noticed that supports that:

    "Serpent's egg's already hatched" -- i think it's a direct reference to the play Julius Caesar, where Brutus says "think him as a serpent's egg, Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mischievous, And kill him in the shell." Basically, what's going on in the play (and in real life, to some extent) was that Caesar was a really popular leader, and Brutus was his closest friend, but brutus feared that caesar wsa too ambitious and power-hungry, and so giving him too much power would go to his head and turn him into a tyrant (that's just a crude summary of the play). IN the line i quoted, brutus is basically saying that caesar may seem all harmless and innocent now, like the egg, but that if he's left to grow more powerful, he'll eventually hatch into a serpent. I think that's what jello's saying in the song about Jerry Brown in particular, but also about power and politics/leaders as a whole.

    A bit wordy, but i figured i'd mention it since noone else has.
    shadowwiththeeyeson July 02, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Commentonce again DK;'s are brilliant, showing how dangerous uber liberalism is.
    stick to your gunson September 16, 2006   Link
  • +3
    Song Meaning"California Ãœber Alles" was the first single by the Dead Kennedys. The record was released in June 1979 on Optional Music with "The Man with the Dogs" as the b-side. The title track was re-recorded for the band's first album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980), and the latest version that appeared on this single, as well as the single's b-side, and the video games: Tony Hawk's American Wasteland and the Rock Band series are available on the rarities album Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death (1987).
    The lyrics were written by Jello Biafra and John Greenway, and Biafra composed the music in one of his rare attempts at composing on bass.
    It is also sampled in a song by the dance-punk/big beat trio The Prodigy, "Dead Ken Beats". The song was also featured in the 2010 film The Social Network.

    The title is an allusion to the first (and no longer sung) stanza of the national anthem of Germany, which begins with the words "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles." (literally, "Germany, Germany above all.")
    The song focuses on Jerry Brown, the Governor of California 1975-1983 (and later 2011—present), and is sung from his perspective. An imaginary Brown outlines a hippie-fascist vision for America, in which his "suede denim secret police" kill un-cool people with "organic poison gas" chambers. Lines such as "Serpent's egg already hatched" (a reference to a line from William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar) comment on the corrosive nature of power. The line "now it is 1984" refers to the totalitarian regime of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, describing a future (from 1979) where Jerry Brown has become President Brown presiding over secret police and gas chambers.
    The song is an early example of the Kennedys' trademark use of menace and musical tension. It fades in with sinister military-styled drums, joined by an ominous bass riff. Biafra paints the scene in low, sneering tones before bursting in manic chanting chorus: "California Ãœber Alles [x2], Ãœber Alles, California [x2]". After two verses and choruses, the song shifts into a slower middle eight section set to a martial drum beat over which Jello Biafra imagines the nightmarish actions of Brown's SS-styled secret police ("Come quietly to the camp; you'd look nice as a drawstring lamp," a reference to the claim that lampshades were sometimes made from human skin during the Holocaust. The pace speeds up as it approaches the last iteration of the chorus, closing with a repeated chord sequence accompanied by a final burst of explosive drums.
    German-American author Gero Hoschek was inspired by the song to title a 1988 magazine piece about the "Golden State" in the prestigious German Zeit Magazin weekly titled "Kalifornia Ãœber Alles!" (sic), as well as a never produced screenplay. Biafra complained, got and liked a copy of the movie script, understood that there was no copyright violation, and used the same spelling for the song's 2004 remake with Melvins, "Kalifornia Ãœber Alles, 21st Century".
    sepultura1987on May 13, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI take this song to speak more generally about liberals in general. I feel like it is a criticism that beneath the veneer of love and equality lies a fascist impulse. "mellow out or you will pay". Haven't you ever been around a bunch of hippies and felt like they put pressure on you to be mellow, which seems like a contradiction Jello expounds on in this song. Anyways, i dont care whether you agree, songs are meant to be accessible to different personalities and perspectives.
    vagintronski82on April 07, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think people use signs and symbols like language to project a false reality. They do this also by the clothes they wear ect... Some people think it is enough to project and signal certain ideals and live in that kind of metaphysics, only to actually act fascistly. This songs is a warning to look through such tools of liberal rhetoric. California being the state that personifies it and Jerry Brown as the figurehead.
    vagintronski82on April 07, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDeuschland (or however you spell that) Uber Alles was also used by the Nazis as one of their 'theme songs.'
    SonicDeathMonkeyon June 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOld School Punkrock's finest!
    ethanfowlerrockson May 13, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song, but what exactly did Jerry Brown do? Sounds like some nazi hippie freak...
    Squall3600on May 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song kicks ass! love it a lot! :)
    way2goalpoon May 27, 2002   Link

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