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This song was written in reference to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968. The times were very violent, and riots were threatened at the Convention. The mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, basically told the police to use all necessary force to keep order. They did, with a vengeance. Civil rights and the Vietnam War were major issues, and there were many protesters at the convention. There were lots of arrests, with the police basically beating into submission anyone who had the nerve to speak out. (thanks, Andrea - Denton, TX)
Some of the lyrics refer to the "Chicago 7" trial, where protesters at the convention were charged with intent to incite a riot. The first line of the song refers to Bobby Seale, the only black plaintiff and the eighth member, who was actually gagged and bound to a chair in the courtroom. He was later removed from the trial, leaving 7. The 3 most famous names from this trial are Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. (thanks, rosebud - oregon city, OR)
Newman makes it look easy these days, but in this 1974 interview, he reveals the paranoia and pressures that made him yearn for his old 9-5 job.
Leslie West of Mountain
From the cowbell on "Mississippi Queen" to recording with The Who when they got the wrong Felix, stories from one of rock's master craftsmen.