Who Needs the Peace Corps?

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"Who Needs the Peace Corps?"
Song by The Mothers of Invention
from the album We're Only in It for the Money
Released March 4, 1968
Recorded February 1967, Capitol, LA
Aug-Sept 1967, Mayfair, NYC
October 1967, Apostolic, NYC
Genre Psychedelic rock, satire, comedy rock, experimental rock
Length 2:34
Label Verve, Bizarre, Rykodisc
Songwriter(s) Frank Zappa
Producer(s) Frank Zappa
We're Only in It for the Money track listing
"Are You Hung Up?"
(1)
"Who Needs the Peace Corps?"
(2)
"Concentration Moon"
(3)

"Who Needs the Peace Corps?" is the second track on the 1968 album We're Only in It for the Money by The Mothers of Invention. It is also part of the soundtrack of the 1969 film Medium Cool.

The song quickly became dated when the hippie movement faded and was only performed live during the early years of the Mothers of Invention. It was briefly revived in 1988 however, as can be heard on the live album The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life.[1] In this version, Mike Keneally performs the monologue at the end of the song in a style reminiscent of Johnny Cash's, who, ironically, was very unlike the hippie portrayed in the song.

Lyrics[edit]

The lyrics of "Who Needs the Peace Corps?" mock hippies and people who follow the hippie fashion (such as wearing beads, leather bands and long hair, or "smoking dope") without caring about the social reflections and political views of the concept. It includes a monologue of a stereotypical "phony hippie" who aspires to find a rock band and become their road manager in order to become part of the hippie movement.

In his 2016 book Rock, Counterculture and the Avant-Garde, 1966-1970, Doyle Greene says:

..."Peace Corps" is not necessarily referring to the U.S. government organization, but the "peace and love corps" of the hippie movement. It is a scathing critique of the counter-culture experience as migrating to San Francisco, dressing in hippie fashions, contracting sexually transmitted diseases, getting beat up by police, and high-tailing back home.[2]

References[edit]

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