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Seven Playlists for Seven of Our Founding Fathers

What would Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin have on their iPods?

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    “It’ll kinda be like Jurassic Park,” my dad told me. During the summer of 1993, that was a powerful selling point for a 10-year-old boy, and those words were just enough incentive to get me to go with him into The Hall of Presidents attraction at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Animatronic dinosaurs, animatronic presidents. Same difference, right? Uh, no, Dad.

    More than 20 years later, you have my dad’s cunning ruse to thank for this feature, which, ironically, I’m now trying to convince you to click on and enter. Truthfully, it’s nothing like Jurassic Park. But I do remember those presidents, in all their herky-jerky robotic glory, coming to life on that stage, and I also recall thinking, “What would they think about stuff like Super Mario Bros. or my new sneakers with the pumps built into the tongues?” That’s pretty much the gist of this feature.

    For the Fourth of July this year, we decided to downplay burgers and fireworks and hark back to the seven men — George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and John Jay — who we know as the founding fathers. Our question: If they were around today, what would be shuffling on their iPods and pumping through their Beats? It’s sort of like Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It’s definitely a chance to show off for our old history teachers. But, really, it’s just a bit of historical fun.

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    So, have a happy and fruitful Fourth. Save room for your Cousin Reba’s soggy pretzel Jello. And check out our Founding Fathers Playlists. What the hell … It’ll kinda be like Jurassic Park.

    –Matt Melis
    Senior Editor

    George Washington

    George Washington

    1. P.O.D. – “Revolution”

    This one is a no-brainer. George Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, leading the forces that would pry colonial control from King George III. He definitely could’ve bumped this crossing the Delaware.

    2. Rage Against the Machine – “Freedom”

    G.W. and Rage Against the Machine are a match made in opposition to oppressive governments. Seriously, what better song for the ultimate freedom fighter than the raucous “Freedom”, right? It’s perfect fuel for bayoneting redcoats.

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    3. Clipse – “Virginia”

    The first president of these great United States of America was born and raised on a plantation in colonial Virginia. The duo Clipse was born there nearly three centuries later. The former harvested tobacco; the latter cooked coke. (Both kill.) George would be all for this anthem devoted to his commonwealth.

    4. Lil Wayne & DJ Drama Ft. Detroit Red, Freeway, & Willie Da Kid – “Cannon” (Remix)

    During the Boston Campaign, George Washington commissioned Con Henry Knox to retrieve cannons lost in fallen forts. The cannons helped fortify Dorchester Heights, and it was a major victory for Washington and the patriots.

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    5. Fort Minor – “Remember the Name”

    George Washington is far and away the most recognizable figure in all of American history. Good luck finding someone who isn’t familiar with his résumé. He earned his rep. Pay homage.

    6. J. Cole – “Dolla & A Dream II”

    This song is incredibly relatable for the inaugural POTUS who is also the face of the U.S. dollar bill. Additionally, he dreamt of a republic free from British tyranny. Safe to say he got his wish.

    7. KT Tunstall – “Black Horse & A Cherry Tree”

    When he was a kid, George allegedly chopped down a cherry tree and admitted to his father that he’d done it, proclaiming, “I cannot tell a lie,” further cementing his legend. His horse was white, but whatever.

    Sheldon Pearce

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