Cult Of Personality – Living Colour

Living Colour is an American hard rock band formed in New York City in 1983 by guitarist Vernon Reid. They rose to fame with their debut album Vivid in 1988. Stylistically their music is a creative fusion influenced by heavy metal, funk, guitar-based rock, free jazz, hardcore punk and hip hop. While being labeled “unique” by the mainstream media, they were linked to the funk metal movement of the late 1980s typified by bands such as Fishbone, Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, Primus, and 24-7 Spyz. Although the band scored a number of hits, they are best remembered for their anthemic single “Cult of Personality”, which won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1989, and “Type” – their highest charting single.

Cult Of Personality

The song begins with an edited quote from the beginning of a speech by Malcolm X. As it appears in the song, the quote is:

“. . . And during the few moments that we have left, . . . We want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand.”

The unabridged beginning of the speech is:

“…And during the few moments that we have left, we want to have just an off-the-cuff chat between you and me — us. We want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand.”

John F. Kennedy is quoted, saying “Ask not what your country can do for you,” and the song ends with Franklin D. Roosevelt saying “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/cult-of-personality.flv[/flv]

And during the few moments that we have left
I’m gonna talk right down to earth
In a language that everybody here can easily understand…

Look in my eyes, what do you see?
the Cult of Personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I’ve been everything you wanna be ohhh’
I’m the Cult of Personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I’m the Cult of Personality
the Cult of Personality
the Cult of Personality

Neon lights, Nobel Prize
When a mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You won’t have to follow me
Only you can set me free

I sell the things you need to be
I’m the smiling face of your T.V. ohh’
I’m the Cult of Personality
I exploit you; still you love me
I tell you one and one makes three ohh’
I’m the Cult of Personality
Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi ohh’
I’m the Cult of Personality
the Cult of Personality
the Cult of Personality

Neon lights, Nobel Prize
When a leader speaks, that leader dies
You won’t have to follow me
Only you can set you free

You gave me fortune, you gave me fame
You gave me power in your God’s name
I’m every person you need to be ohh’
I’m the cult of personality
I’m the cult of
I’m the cult of
I’m the cult of
I’m the cult of
I’m the cult of
I’m the cult of
I’m the cult of
I’m the cult of
personality

Ask not what your country can do for you.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Audio from the 1988 album, Vivid:

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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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