Exhuming McCarthy

Album: Document (1987)
Play Video


  • Senator Joseph McCarthy was a Republican politician who in 1950 caused a sensation by claiming to hold a list of about 200 communists working in the State Department. He continued a 'witch-hunting' campaign until the enquiries against these officials were halted in 1954, when it was shown that McCarthy and his aides had been falsifying evidence. By this time, however, many thousands of people in public life and the arts had been blacklisted as suspected Communists or communist sympathizers.
  • Included in the song is a sound clip of the head attorney for the United States Army, Joseph Welch, rebuking Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy Hearings.
  • The typewriter heard at the beginning of this song was the very same machine on which Michael Stipe wrote all of Document's lyrics. Document was the band's first platinum album. In 2006, it was voted 49th in a Q readers' poll of the "Best Albums Ever." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for all above

Comments: 2

  • Rabbi Meyer from Central WisconsinJoe McCarthy is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Appleton, WI
  • Don from San Antonio, TxLove Document! I'm a hardcore punk, so it kinda ends there. But side 2 never left my car stereo deck. Fireplace & Lightnin' Hopkins rule it.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

John Waite

John WaiteSongwriter Interviews

"Missing You" was a spontaneous outpouring of emotion triggered by a phone call. John tells that story and explains what MTV meant to his career.

Graduation Songs

Graduation SongsFact or Fiction

Have you got the smarts to know which of these graduation song stories are real?

Jon Anderson

Jon AndersonSongwriter Interviews

Jon Anderson breaks down the Yes classic "Seen All Good People" and talks about his 1000 Hands album, which features Chick Corea, Rick Derringer, Ian Anderson, and many other luminaries.

Ian Gillan of Deep Purple

Ian Gillan of Deep PurpleSongwriter Interviews

Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan explains the "few red lights" in "Smoke On The Water" and talks about songs from their 2020 album Whoosh!

Harry Wayne Casey of KC and The Sunshine Band

Harry Wayne Casey of KC and The Sunshine BandSongwriter Interviews

Harry Wayne Casey tells the stories behind KC and The Sunshine Band hits like "Get Down Tonight," "That's The Way (I Like It)," and "Give It Up."

N.W.A vs. the World

N.W.A vs. the WorldSong Writing

How the American gangsta rappers made history by getting banned in the UK.