July 4, 2015

Ray Stevens and the Spirit of '76, Part 11...

Happy 4th of July to all the fans of Ray Stevens! In April of 2011 a CD from Ray Stevens emerged and it immediately became a fan favorite. Spirit of '76 contains 11 recordings from Ray Stevens and each of them feature a topical and or political slant...some songs feature both. In the earliest years of the Obama Administration and the Tea Party movement it shouldn't be overlooked that our Ray Stevens happened to be one of the most vocal amongst the music acts. Criticizing the Obama Administration and embracing the ideals of the smaller Government Tea Party advocates had an impact in the 2010 midterm election cycle.

Combining topical humor, political commentary, and patriotism became the foundation for Spirit of '76. The project featured 5 songs that became music video hits on YouTube/social media...as such this could be interpreted as one of Ray's biggest successes if you factor in the amount of video popularity associated with the songs.

I purchased Spirit of '76 as an Mp3 in April of 2011. It remained an exclusive Mp3 release until the fall of 2011...it emerged in CD format at that point in time and so I purchased the CD counterpart, too. At the time of the CD's release only a couple of songs had become video hits and then throughout the rest of the year the remaining video releases soon emerged. If one happens to examine this era of Ray's career, in hindsight, it all appears perfectly timed but yet for those like myself we know that from day to day, week to week, month to month it was pretty much a roller coaster ride for as soon as you'd reach the height of a music video's initial popularity, it would reach a valley, and then when you're least expecting it the video would soar into  popularity once again. Given the unpredictable nature of topicality a music video featuring political commentary/humor and those that center on topical events are largely at the mercy of the collective news cycle. If Obama and one of his machinations seems to be dominating the news cycle then more than likely a video by Ray about Obama gets a boost in unique views. The topic of the environment/Green Energy comes and goes...and on this CD there's "Cap'n Trade the Pirate"...a song mixing pirate lore and Green Energy that should have been made into a music video but it wasn't.
The very first release from this CD turned out to be the third track, "God Save Arizona", on August 4, 2010! That particular song in music video form emerged in the fall of 2010 during the peak of the controversies surrounding illegal immigration and the State's court battles with the Federal Government. Issued as a music video exclusive it struck the same kind of chord that a previous video about illegal immigration from Ray Stevens did. At the time of the release of "God Save Arizona" there was no talk of it being part of any upcoming CD. So, then, once Spirit of '76 became available fans noticed that "God Save Arizona" appeared as track 3 and so it retro-actively became the CD's first video release. This ballad has gotten 1,053,472 unique views. For those that may not be aware, this video created controversy during it's first day of release and was taken off-line after it had obtained nearly 100,000 discoveries. The issue surrounding the video apparently resolved itself because not long afterward the video re-emerged but the previous views had been erased and so it's rather appropriate if you want to add at least a hundred thousand to the current tally.

The CD's opening track, "The Skies Just Ain't Friendly Anymore", became a video in the early part of 2011 and ironically it, at the time, was being promoted as the first release from Spirit of '76. This amusing song/video has to do with the TSA at the airport and the body scans. The video hit in February 2011 and to date it's gotten a little more than half a million unique views at 555,404.

As mentioned previously the music videos are like roller coasters and those numbers for the video didn't come all at once. The video seen it's release a little less than 2 months before the Spirit of '76 became available.

The biggest successes from the CD centered around Obama. Several weeks after the Mp3 of Spirit of '76 became available "Obama Budget Plan" became his next video release on April 25th. The video, as one can guess from the song's title, is about the Federal budget (or lack thereof). The song comically tells the story of a man that comes up with an idea to print money from his basement. He figures if it's perfectly fine for the Government to print money and rack up trillions of dollars in debt then it shouldn't be illegal or unethical for the tax payer to get in on the money printing business. Currently sitting at 3,869,283 unique views it's the biggest hit from the CD.

The second biggest video hit from Spirit of '76 comes in the form of "Mr. President - Mr. President", a video that seen it's social media debut on September 27, 2011. In this video Ray portrays a fictional reporter stationed at the White House "asking" Obama a series of questions. The visual hook is that a video snippet of Obama appears at a podium as if Ray's really asking him questions. The song highlights the reputation Obama has of mixed up priorities. To date that particular video has gotten 1,632,890 unique views.

The fifth release from the CD came along more than a year later on November 3, 2012. "Grandpa Voted Democrat" was certainly a surprise release. It's not a surprise that it eventually became a music video but considering that more than a year had passed from the release of the previous video from the CD it wouldn't have been out of the ordinary to assume 2011's "Mr President - Mr. President" to be the CD's final video single...yet Ray emerged just prior to Election Day 2012 with the voter fraud satire "Grandpa Voted Democrat" and to date it's gotten 637,364 unique views. It's the fifth and final release from Spirit of '76 and you can purchase your copy HERE if you want to add it to your Ray Stevens collection.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Show your appreciation for the music of Ray Stevens...leave a comment...