October 31, 2012 – 12:58 pm


Click on the graphic for the track.


By Brett Dennen

Beyond the rules of religion
The cloth of conviction
Above all the competition
Where fact and fiction meet

There’s no color lines or castes or classes
There is no fooling the masses
Whatever faith you practice
Whatever you believe

Heaven. heaven.
What the hell is heaven?
Is there a home for the homeless?
Is there hope for the hopeless?

Throw away your myth misconceptions
There ain’t no walls around heaven
There are no codes you gotta know to get in
No minutemen or border patrol

You must lose all earthly possession
Leave behind your weapon
You cannot buy your salvation
There is no pot of gold


Heaven ain’t got no prisons
No government no business
No banks or politicians
No armies and no police

Castles and cathedrals crumble
Pyramids and pipelines tumble
The failure keeps you humble
Leads us closer to peace

Heaven is found on Brett Dennen’s third album, Hope For The Hopeless, released in 2008. The single version was rerecorded as a duet with Natalie Merchant. Singer-songwriter Brett Dennen was born in 1979. He has been a part of The Mosaic Project, a San Francisco Bay Area-based nonprofit organization, since its inception. The Mosaic Project works towards a peaceful future by uniting young children of diverse backgrounds, providing them with essential skills to thrive in an increasingly diverse society, and empowering them to strive for peace.

Grateful thanks to the folks at Information Clearing House for pointing out this song.

Judging by the visitors to this site, most readers are likely to be forty and fiftysomethings. You’ve lived through the ’60s and ’70s, this century’s most optimistic period, so far. Yet just 30 years later, after the “Age of Aquarius”, the love-ins, the hippie dream and transcendental meditation, we are facing yet another economic crisis - this time of global proportions. Who could have possibly created this “****storm” if not someone from that optimistic generation?

Where did all that optimism go? Who shut out the lights? And, more importantly, are you cynical of the power of rock ‘n’ roll to save lives?

Brett Dennen is a singer-songwriter who also is a social worker. Hope For The Hopeless is his third album. Released on Dualtone/ Downtown, you can buy it here.

Your no B.S. comments will earn you a pass to free music.


Contest No. 01 / Contest No. 02 / Contest No. 03 / Contest No. 04 / Contest No. 05

Contest No. 06 / Contest No. 07 / Contest No. 08 / Contest No. 09 / Contest No. 10

Contest No. 11 / Contest No. 12 / Contest No. 13 / Contest No. 14 / Contest No. 15

Contest No. 16 / Contest No. 17 / Contest No. 18 / Contest No. 19 / Contest No. 20

Contest No. 21 / Contest No. 22 / Contest No. 23


  2. the 60s generation rock bands in particularly the late 60s bands like the airplane (but not limited to them) with classic songs like volunteers (yelling ‘got to revolution’) and screaming that we need to find a change and fix things but not actually offering a realistic specific method of how that change would happen and exactly what changes are needed kinda expresses the mood of how things evolved from that era to where it has come. ppl wanted change and the young adults of that era the hippies and soon becoming yippies who were starting to vote soon became the ones in charge and in fact they had no real answers and things went down the tubes awfully fast. too many republicans thinking they had the answers and idiots like reagan who took over the country and created 2 classes (the truly needy and the truly greedy) totally destroyed things and it made it even worse when most of the rest of those in charge who came afterwards were also republicans. nevermind that we had a democratic pres who might have fixed a few things in clinton.. he had a republican congress and was stymied and most of these men are out for their own agenda anyway. the times they are a changin.. of course as bob said and things always get worse before they improve if they ever do. i dont see things getting better and if they do it wont be by much. everyone is out for themselves and they wanna know what they will get out of it. whats in it for them. society will never recover. the mindset has changed too much from how it was from 50 yrs ago. consider how it was in the 40s vs the 50s then the 50s vs the 60s. just those tiny bits of years in between. music expressed how the ppl out here felt in the folk years with woody. then it did the same with seeger and other folk heroes of his day then dylan baez and collins and joni and jackson browne and on and on. then the 70s continued and the subjects changed but we heard from those that were most vocal who had louder voices than we out here do and other than writing to our congressmen and voting what could we do? the demonstrations and civil disobedience stand ins of yesteryear rarely worked. trust me i was in many of them and im tired of being arrested booked processed and doing time and fighting for my freedom in a society that says i have the right to express myself without being shut up / shut down / locked up and hidden away. im too old for that shit anymore. yeah the 70s and 80s are over. the weather is changing and ppl dont realize it. they dont care anymore.. and i dont only mean the physical winds of the earth. the political winds too. keep tearing down the rainforests in south america and see how many more ’sandys’ do more destruction costing 10s of billions in damage. just because it doesnt happen immediately to show us cause and reaction doesnt mean that its not so.
    and yes they are related. and yes its a politically related subject. think about it. it has to do with money. greed. income. environment. climate. the planet. people.
    i feel like im swimming in a pool surrounded by stupidity of the highest order.
    am i cynical? ha. u tell me.

    By darth on Oct 31, 2012

  3. The death of all ideologies didn’t lead us to peace and mutual understanding, it caused chaos and confusion. In this confusion we’re all selfish, concentrated on our belly and nothing more. The only flag we carry around nowadays has got our own face on.
    Rock’n'roll has never saved a life, it just makes life bearable.
    Still, I believe there must be a light somewhere, out there

    By frank capra on Oct 31, 2012

  4. Yeah - the children/teens of the 60s and 70s maybe had a clouded view of reality. everything was ‘peace and love’ and quite often pursued unrealistic goals. I am worried more than anything else on the attiudes and ethics of the children / teens of today.Materialistic to the highestdegree, self centred, no respect, inflexible - and all fully supported by the parents who pander to their every whims. I fear for them when they gat to an age where they have to fend for themselves. They won’t cope because everything is done for them.They expect it, they think it is their right. Attitudes change and the change from the 60s/70s kids to today’s is marked and sinister. What will the next generation be like?
    Music on the other hand has always been there. It has changed and new genres apeear daily - does it affect attitudes though? Maybe but not to the extent that it can change life ethics and standards. If there is an undiscovered genre out there that will do this, let’s discover it pretty quick.

    By Daij on Oct 31, 2012

  5. Rock & Roll has saved my life, but I’m not sure it can save the world anymore.

    By Phil on Nov 1, 2012

  6. Rock & roll could never save the world but it can motivate people to think & therefore possibly change things.

    Musicians often follow events with comment & this is often taken for protest. Sometimes the comment is a heartfelt protest but other times it’s just reporting or bandwagon jumping.

    By TheOtherGuest on Nov 1, 2012

  7. Rock and Roll is my only solace some days. Yes, I was one of the “peace through music” & “all together now” children of the 60’s and 70’s. Although I don’t believe music can change the world (and probably didn’t really, truly believe it back then) it has and will continue to, at the very least, bring attention to what is right/wrong with our world.
    Any song that can make me feel a little better on any given day or make me think about something I may have not given any thought to is, in my opinion, doing what it needs to do to keep myself and many others moving forward.

    By rondelrio on Nov 1, 2012

  8. Money and power corrupt…even the idealists of the 60s. Rock & Roll can inspire young people to do great things but by the time they have the power and money to accomplish more, most have been corrupted, become jaded, give in to despair…etc

    By steve22 on Nov 2, 2012

  9. Great letters from the past!!!

    By Rochacrimson on Nov 3, 2012

  10. Yeah, I’m cynical. For me, the years from 1964 to 1969 were just great years. The music was great, the cars were great, we walked on the moon, the Beatles, the Stones. There was a consciousness and a vibe that we could do good things and save the planet. I don’t know where that went. The kids graduated with their MBA’a and became greedy. I don’t understand that seemingly a large number of Americans plan to vote for a guy like Romney and validate what he stands for. Music can still lift me but I am older; my sister has cancer and I have to contemplate her and my mortality. The world will keep going until it stops. I can’t change anything, but I am glad I got to be a part of the sixties and have those hopes and maybe even dreams that rock music gave me.

    By Mackster on Nov 4, 2012

  11. Born in the late 50s, cut my teeth on The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, The Jefferson Airplane, etc. Loved how the music evolved so quickly from the early to the late 60s… from surfer music, to trippy psychedelic Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead. I call the 60s the “Incubator” since that’s where some of the greatest music was conceived. But, it was really the early to mid 70s that rock really shined. Rock and roll was growing up. Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, ELP, Genesis, Yes… It was flourishing… until… DISCO came along! That began to de-rail good music IMHO. Sure great bands like the Stones and the Dead adopted the disco beat, but by then, disco had done its dirty deed. Thankfully, disco is long dead, and rock (in some form or another) is still alive! Hail hail rock and roll!

    By logjam on Nov 4, 2012

  12. While the hippie population were certainly the most photogenic and visible segment of the younger generation of the 60s/70s, I still believe it was a very small minority of the whole. Those kids that didn’t groove or drop out and kept on in the same old path as Grandpa and Daddy are what lead to the present world situation. And I’m not just talking about the States here. It’s a World Phenomenon and in that world the peace & love crowd didn’t really amount to any kind of percentage at all. They were just a very loud, but very small, voice crying out for change.

    By golgo hakase on Nov 4, 2012

  13. Cynicism and skepticism are essential tools of survival in the new millennium. Don’t leave home
    without them. That doesn’t mean that optimism and higher belief have gone the way of the wind.
    Believers believe, absolutely and positively…

    By Billy Jack on Nov 5, 2012

  14. we will each offer our own view of WHY the age of aquarius was DOA, and i guess most of us will be right in part.
    my perspective on it is that a small hardcore of idealists actually put there money where their mouths are and work to achieve their dreams.
    the vast majority of the followers did so because it was the cool thing on that day. lets rebel against society ‘cos its got boring rebelling against mum and dad.
    there wasn’t a “generation” of peace-loving decent folk, just a rent-a-mob acting cool for a few years. then they grew up, tasted the joys of the salaried lifestyle, bought cars, scented riches if they walked roughshod over enough of the less privileged…
    and they grew up, as selfish, self-centred, egotistic and full of shite as the day they were born, expecting the world to treat Them favourabll and screw the rest.
    they carry on sucking at the tit, draining it dry, and depleting the resources we all (the animals and plants included) all need to survive.
    they carry on bombing the shit out of each other because it’s kinda neat watching those little clips on youtube and, anyway, muslo-blacko-slitty-eyed-stan is FAR away from Their backyard, why should they give a f— Who gets vaporised next?
    actually DOING something, Taking a Stand, requires some energy, and often it needs money as well… so they sit on their broad arses instead and watch the world go to shit around them.
    and i haven’t even mentioned the go-getter scum, the putins, the romneys, the mafia ganglords and the Lehman brothers suit scum who rake in the big shekels by manipulating and exploiting the middlemen sell-outs…

    cycnical? yes. because homo sapiens is, for the most part, a parasite that is destroying the Earth - too greedy, too lazy, or too pissweak complacent to do the right thing.
    Screw the lot of them. That asteroid cannot arrive too soon…

    By Tony on Nov 5, 2012

  15. now musicians can earn shedloads for not doing much, they protest too little, the reason we all download for free is we really know they are unemployable parasites that suck up money doing the opposite of what they suggest for us.. fuck ‘em

    By Liam NSW on Nov 6, 2012

  16. Lets face it the Hippie Dream is over. Even Hippies like Neil Young and Kieth Richards are multi millionaires charging $250 per ticket. Not very hippie like….. :(

    By john on Nov 7, 2012

  17. There were some truly altruistic rock ‘n’ roll bands during the 60s and 70s, but at one point Mick Jagger was asked about wearing expensive clothing and he answered that it was never about being poor.

    The Beatles drove psychedelic Rolls Royces, but they were still Rolls Royces, and they had mansions and all the trappings of wealth and stardom.

    Record companies raped the artists (and still do, if they can). Every generation develops its own music, its own culture and its own angst. Music has always been a part of a generation’s culture. I honestly can’t cite a single popular act - they aren’t part of -my- culture.

    I was one of the long-haired 60s kids. But at one point, “turning on, tuning in and dropping out” didn’t seem like the way to solve the world’s ills. The Chicago Seven put on suits and ties and went to work on Wall Street.

    “If you want to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.” Isn’t that the saying? What we have today is the result of the hippies and revolutionaries all grown up. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn - confessed bombers and terrorists, are personal friends of the President of the USA.

    Anyone ever see the movie, “Wild In the Streets?” In short, Generation X takes over the reins of government and turns it into a tyranny. But watch out - Generation Y is growing older…

    Music can’t save the world. It never could. At best, it’s a great distraction.

    Yeah, I guess you could say I’m cynical.

    By Fred on Nov 10, 2012

  18. The current generation is only going to be worse. At least here in the U.S. Though I’m a natural born cynic. I do still believe rock’n'roll can change lives, certainly music in general. Less so the artists themselves though, they’re human and all have their faults just like the rest of us, putting them on a pedestal is just a set-up for failure. Especially when so many are little more than poseurs and attention whores to begin with, and are so well rewarded for it.

    By JohnB on Nov 10, 2012

  19. First off, our “beloved” politicians and corporate lobbyists are responsible for making us cynical. They have taken a great idea (the republic)and made a farce of this governing system.We can no longer have an American Dream unless we are associated with those ruling classes. Only by taking back our governing process can we achieve true freedom.

    Next, music has made life tolerable. But I am afraid it has also made us too complacent. We opt to put our heads (and ears) into rock and roll instead of working to take back our voices in government. Wake up, America, or the freedom to listen to music will be gone as well.

    By Tom Billings on Nov 10, 2012

  20. Some great comments here. The 60’s was in a way a convulsion but several of the explosive things that happened during that era, especially civil rights, have had a lasting effect. While things are not perfect in that area, there has still been continued progress.

    Also, while Obama is certainly not perfect, he is a good man who has done (and will do) some good things. His reelection has given me a sliver of hope that those who opposed him will get the idea that being divisive and seeking to control people instead of harnessing their power is a counter-productive strategy for everyone.

    Obama was our first president to be born in the 60’s so maybe that has something to do with it!

    By Jeremy Shatan on Nov 15, 2012

  21. It all starts within each one of us. Clean that up and we’ll be all right. When we point fingers outside or look to something “out there” to save us, we have no chance.

    Same as it ever was.

    By Tom Jackson on Nov 18, 2012

  22. Cynics aren’t born, they’re made!

    By elvislives on Nov 24, 2012

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