The Taliban Song

Album: Shock'n Y'all (2003)


  • "What if you were a good guy and the wrath of your world was coming down on you because of the Taliban, and you were just a teapot out there, and you had to leave town because of the Taliban?" That, says songwriter Scotty Emerick, was the scene that he and co-writer Toby Keith were kicking around in their heads when they wrote this song. "We were actually at a charity golf tournament out in Palm Springs right after 9/11. We were in our little bungalow where we were staying, and we were watching CNN at about 2 in the morning," he says, "and the US was invading Afghanistan. So I just started this little beat, and we just started singing, 'I'm just a middle aged Middle Eastern camel-herding man.' We just kind of made an observation of it that way."
  • The live version on Toby Keith's album Shock'n Y'all, and another live version they performed on the nationally syndicated radio show Bob and Tom, are the only versions Scotty and Toby recorded of this song. They have not recorded it in a studio setting together, however, "I demoed it with the Coral Reefer Band, Jimmy Buffett's band, when we first wrote it," says Scotty. "So I've got a little demo of it with Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band, and that's the only studio recorded version. I've got it on a CD somewhere." (Check out our interview with Scotty Emerick.)
  • On his website, Toby Keith says, "I was watching CNN and thinking about those everyday people surviving the bombardment in Afghanistan. You know, what if you're a peace-loving guy in Afghanistan and you're watching Taliban TV, and they're trying to tell you, 'It's all under control,' while American planes are dropping bombs? You don't want any part of that. So it's a 'get the hell out of Dodge' song for an Afghan man. We recorded it on the road in Alabama."
  • Ruling most of Afghanistan from the period of 1996 until 2001, the Taliban (a word originally known as the plural Pashto word for "student") are a fundamentalist Sunni Muslim and ethnic Pashtun movement. In 2001, after the attack on New York's World Trade Center buildings on September 11, Northern Alliance ground forces and American aerial bombardment removed the Taliban leaders from power.

    The Taliban, while in power, implemented and enforced the strictest interpretation of Sharia law ever seen in the Muslim world. They were globally known for their barbarian treatment of women, which included public flogging and execution for violating the Taliban's laws.

    During its reign, the Taliban was responsible for implementing stifling edicts and bans, which included flying kites, any display of pictures or portraits, shaving beards, music, keeping pigeons, and not praying when it was prayer time. Additionally, if women were found to be attending any cultural celebration, the celebration was called to a halt. If it was a men-only celebration, a 9:00 p.m. curfew was strictly enforced.

    "Of course we realize that people need some entertainment, but they can go to the parks and see the flowers, and from this they will learn about Islam," said Taliban official Mullah Mohammed Hassan.

Comments: 2

  • Mallory from Vineland, NjI agree with you. My husband was a soldier and he loved Toby Keith. He got a kick out of this song too...
  • Darrell from Thomasville, GaI heard a USAF general say on the capitol steps of Keith's home state of Oklahoma that he hoped the Taliban knew that some of those bombs bringing hellfire upon them were delivered by American women who were allowed to attend university, a big no-no in Bin Ladenville. Not his exact words, but pretty close. Toby is a soldier's songwriter and they love him for it!
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