A Song About War Worth Your Attention

Oct 1, 2013 by

Barry Keenan3Barry Keenan

(A regular feature on the Bill of Responsibilities website is acknowledging people’s products and behavior that we believe deserves recognition.)

Barry Keenan is a well-known and critically-acclaimed LA singer/songwriter. His song “Our Comfortable Lives” is a tribute to the men and women in the military who sacrifice their comfort so that we may preserve our own. Sometimes our comfort insulates us from the contributions made by others. Sometimes to the point that those contributors become invisible.

Barry’s song has touched tens of thousands of people. It was the #1 song on Neil Young’s “Living With War Today” website for 62 weeks in a row and currently ranks #1 again. This fact says a lot about the song’s power because the site ranks the popularity of more than 3000 songs.

The song was published this year in a French textbook that included the lyrics of Woody Guthrie, Eminem, Paul Stookey, Tom Paxton, Pete Seeger, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ray Davies, Freddi Mercury, among many others.

BOR musicDespite his rock star appearance and being the author of a “war protest song,” Keenan, the father of three, ranging from 8 to 19, is not easily labeled politically. “While I believe the government is responsible for its actions, I also believe each individual is responsible for his or her actions as well. I also believe that parents are responsible for their children. There will come a time when my kids are responsible for their own actions. Until then I do my best to provide them the best tools with which to build a good life. Today more than ever children need parents to be parents. Parents influence their children’s behavior, whether they intend to or not. For me, being a parent–being there for my kids–is the most important thing I do.”

Our Comfortable Lives

I saw a man wounded/The physical kind
He had shrapnel in his head/It severed his mind
It’s so terrible war/People suffer and die
While we go on living/Our comfortable lives

 Now the folks on the hill/Have their cocktails at eight
The finest of food/Is served on their plate
They dine and decide/Your future and fate
You have to be special/To get through their gate

For thousands of years/We can’t get it right
We torture and maim/And kill when we fight
It’s a terrible war/People suffer and die
While we go on living/Our comfortable lives

 I think a cease fire/Would serve us all well
It’s time to bring peace/And love to this hell
Death after death/It’s the toll of the knell
It’s time we start ringing/The new freedom bell

 I saw a man wounded/The psychological kind
He had hate in his head/And death on his mind
It’s a terrible war/The innocent die
While we go on living/Our comfortable lives

“Doing radio for so long, I have heard some of the best songwriters.
This is a well-crafted song, written by a brilliant songwriter.”
- Roz Larman, Host/Producer, FolkScene Radio, July 2010
“Barry–very powerful, and moving too!”
- Drey Samuelson, Chief of Staff for US Senator Tim Johnson
“The song is great! If it can only be played in every language and in every country in the world!”
- Michael CY Tsang
“This song is the most relevant social song for this or any other war generation that I’ve heard.”
- Gene Herd
“The lyrics are very powerful and timeless. This song moves my soul and makes me proud to be an American.”
- Michelle Williams

Click here to hear the song


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