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Annotated Song Lyrics

The lyrics of Lester Bangs's songwriting often draw from his politics, philosophy, personal exploits, and literary affinities, which explains their frequently mature content and occasionally offensive language.* Bangs's love for Free Jazz, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac inspired lyrics, especially his improvisational compositions, that were as free-flowing and raw as some of his most celebrated writings.

The collection of lyrics provided here have been rendered from published LPs and CDs or transcribed from the original recordings. Some may be approximate only or contain omissions marked by a bracketed question mark ([...?]), either because the recording quality of the original source prevented a reasonable translation or because Lester's diction was unclear. Furthermore, only the songs whose existence can be authenticated have been included. For instance, in "John Coltrane Lives," Bangs names several original song titles—“Please Don’t Burn My Yoyo,” “A Race of Citizens,” “He Gave You the Finger, Mabel,” “After My Misspent Youth,” and “Barracuda Anthem"—which, until their existence can be confirmed, are not represented here.

*Note: Language deemed unnecessarily offensive by the Archive management has been redacted from these lyrics, but with careful respect to maintaining the integrity of all content and subject matter.

Last Updated: 05/01/2019




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