The Controversial Charlie Daniels Part III - Soapbox Jr.
I didn’t intend for this to be a three-part series. After the last installment, I realized there were more musical controversies, as well as some that sprouted from Dad's Twitter account.
But let's rewind to 1988 first.
That year, Dad released his first official album with Epic Records Nashville titled 'Homesick Heroes.' The album featured the hit single "Boogie Woogie Fiddle Country Blues," which climbed into the top ten on the charts.
Soon after, he released another single called "Uneasy Rider 88." It served as a thematic sequel to his original 1973 hit, recounting the tale of a hippie who experienced a flat tire in Jackson, MS, and found himself caught up in a brawl with the locals at a redneck beer joint called the Dew Drop Inn. The hippie ended up kicking one of the customers in the knee cap, fabricating lies about him, and chasing them through the parking lot in his car once his tire was fixed.
Dad had an idea for a similar fish-out-of-water story, but this time set in a more contemporary context. He envisioned two cowboys mistakenly stumbling into a gay bar and getting into a scuffle with crossdressers and other patrons. After escaping the bar, they would be pulled over and arrested by a cop who ultimately let them off with a warning at the beginning of the song.
Controversial? Absolutely. But in today's overly sensitive world, the controversy has only intensified. What many fail to grasp is that both songs poke fun at both sides of the conflict.
Initially, people assumed that Dad was merely poking fun at Southerners in the original track. However, he actually wrote it in response to fellow musicians who were petrified of venturing into the South after watching the movie "Easy Rider." Being a Southerner himself, Dad found their fears amusing because he knew they were baseless. So, both sides are satirized to some extent.
The same holds true for the 1988 remake. Dad playfully skewers the bar's clientele while also taking jabs at the oblivious cowboys, one of whom danced with a man in drag without even realizing it. Which brings to mind a Rodney Carrington song...or Bud Light’s downfall, Dylan Mulvaney."
In both songs, characters are thrust into unfamiliar environments, leading to altercations.
Despite Dad's Christian worldview and his personal opinions on homosexuality, he never intended to attack the gay community with this song, contrary to what some have suggested. Claims that the song encouraged violence against gay people which is – You guessed it – baloney!*
*For clarification, read "The Controversial Charlie Daniels Part II"
Just as the original didn't promote violence against Southerners, the 1988 remake didn't endorse violence against the gay community but the controversy proved too much, resulting in the song receiving minimal airplay and failing to chart.
Back in 1988, the song flew largely under the radar. Today, I can't imagine the backlash and calls for Dad's cancellation in our hypersensitive society, which feels like aminefield of unforgivable hurt feelings.
Fast forward to 2008, and Dad found himself entangled in a controversy not of his own making, courtesy of the video game "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock."
I received the game and found it intriguing. While I hadn't played the earlier volumes, this one looked like a blast, and it was.
The game offered different modes, but the story mode started you off in a small club, gradually progressing to larger venues as you unlocked more songs. Along the way, you battled "boss" characters like Slash from Guns 'N Roses and Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine.
But it was during the final rounds that the controversy arose. After defeating the other bosses, you faced off against a sinister-looking manager named "Lou." Later, you learned that "Lou" stood for Lucifer, and the final showdown involved a guitar battle between you and Lou, performing a speed metal version of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," recorded by Steve Ouimette. The song was incredibly fast and difficult, so unless you played it on the easiest level, the devil would likely emerge victorious.
Dad had no prior knowledge of the song's inclusion in the game, or at least didn’t know what the game would be like.
Once he saw it and realized the game’s imagery, along with the potential for the devil to win, he wasn't pleased.
To Dad, it was of utmost importance that the devil always lost in the song. It's a song about triumphing over the devil, so there should be no possibility of any other outcome.
So, what went wrong?
There was a communication breakdown with his music publisher. Dad had a clause in his contract stipulating that all song uses, or "syncs," required his approval or the approval of someone within the CDB organization.
Unfortunately, whoever issued the license to Activision, the game's publisher, from Dad's music publisher failed to obtain clearance from anyone at CDB. This necessitated some damage control from the music publisher due to their massive blunder.
Needless to say, they learned their lesson and never repeated such a mistake.
That same year, Twitter emerged, ushering in a new era of controversies for Dad and plenty of others.
In 2008 Jack Dorsey launched a new social media platform called Twitter.Upon its launch, a cousin of Dad's wisely secured the account name @CharlieDaniels to prevent someone else from snagging it. The account remained dormant for over three years.
I introduced Dad to Twitter and gave him a crash course in late April. It seemed like a perfect fit for him—an immediate connection with fans and a platform for someone unafraid to voice strong opinions.
He experimented with it, and observed how others used the platform.
Finally, on May 6, 2011, Dad tweeted "Testing…", his very first tweet. From that point forward, he embraced Twitter wholeheartedly. I even teased him about becoming a "serial tweeter."
Over time, Dad found himself entangled in a few controversies on Twitter.
In 2016, one tweet was completely misconstrued, leading to accusations of Dad being a racist - again. He had criticized college students who had never faced real hardships in their lives yet believed they knew everything. His tweet read, "There are some kids in college who should spend a year or more picking cotton".
Predictably, it sparked a storm of replies, with one person claiming that white people had no history of picking cotton, so he felt it was a racist statement.
This individual was oblivious to the fact that Dad himself had picked cotton in his younger years in North Carolina. He had also toiled in the state’s tobacco fields. In essence, this genius inadvertently proved Dad's point—he thought he knew everything when, in reality, he did not. Perhaps a dose of hard work would have done him some good, precisely what Dad had intended to convey.
Dad was also outspoken about the NFL's kneeling controversy, which nearly tore apart the game he loved—professional football. While we were Dallas Cowboys fans during my childhood, we repented of our sins when Jerry Jones fired Tom Landry in the late 1980s. Landry had been the only coach the Cowboys had ever known at the time.
So the Cowboys were out now, but our second favorite team was the Houston Oilers, who eventually moved to Nashville and became the Tennessee Titans.
Dad became an inaugural season ticket holder, and we still hold those seats. However, had things not improved with the disrespect for the Anthem, I suspect he would have sold them or let them go.
One of Dad's tweets on the subject pondered, “Wonder how Vince Lombardi would have reacted to his players kneeling during the anthem” and it garnered a lot of responses, of both the positive and the "shut up" variety
Nevertheless, Dad never shied away from expressing his opinions, particularly on current events. He possessed a well-read mind and stayed attuned to the world's happenings, all within the original 144-character limit of Twitter.
Dad eventually developed a routine of daily tweets. He would start with a scripture and a prayer, which he improvised on the spot, followed by the following tweets:
“Pray for the blue”
“22 VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE EVERY DAY!!”
“125,000 innocent unborn babies will be murdered by abortionists around the world today” – a figure backed up by the World Health Organization’s own website from 2008.
On that note, he also suggested that some cities declare themselves sanctuaries for the unborn and refuse to enforce federal abortion laws, highlighting the hypocrisy of cities declaring themselves sanctuaries for illegal aliens.
But the tweet he became best known for was "Benghazi Ain't Going Away!"—a phrase steeped in controversy.
Like many Americans, Dad was outraged when the then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uttered the words, "WHAT DIFFERENCE, AT THIS POINT, DOES IT MAKE?" during Senate hearings. This statement came after the Obama administration hastily blamed the attacks on an anti-Mohammed video—a video that I would argue 99-100% of those involved had never even heard of—ignoring the fact that the attack occurred on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.
To this day, it feels like there's more to the story than we know. Why was Ambassador Chris Stevens even there?
Dad was friends with Mark "Oz" Geist and had met Kris Paronto and John Tiegen, survivors of the Benghazi attack. After reading "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi," he took to Twitter to proclaim "Benghazi Ain't Going Away," regardless of the Clintons and the Obama administration's hopes that it would.
However, many on Twitter swiftly aligned themselves with the Democrat leadership, dismissing it as just another Republican witch hunt—a waste of seven million dollars. As far as witch hunts go - that sounds like a bargain compared with more expensive recent witch hunts. Inflation, maybe?
So, because some swamp creatures were unwilling to investigate other swamp creatures as thoroughly as they should have, it was all chalked up to a Republican delusion.
Ah, here comes that "B" word again.
But regardless of where you stand on the matter, Dad wanted to keep the Benghazi issue in the public eye. Hence, he tweeted "Benghazi Ain't Going Away" from September 2012 until the day before he passed away. He did take a break from tweeting it for a while, maybe six months to a year, but eventually resumed.
With only a few exceptions, Dad's Twitter account continues to tweet the phrase daily. We even added an image to accompany it—a T-shirt design we created shortly after Dad's passing. In September 2022, we updated the image to include "2012-2022" in honor of the tenth anniversary of the attack.
Needless to say, that move sparked its own controversy.
Some brilliant individuals insisted that tweeting the image on 9/11 was shameful because it was completely unrelated to the day's events. They conveniently ignored the fact that the attack occurred on 9/11/2012, marking the tenth anniversary. But it seems some people seem to be happy living in their oblivious little bubbles.
Dad's daily controversial tweets continue like clockwork, barring the occasional slip-up when I'm pulled in multiple directions and forget to schedule them in advance. But I always get back on track, and the Twitter world is righted once again.
As I’ve said many times before, Dad never shied away from controversy, and I don’t either. I still stand behind his worldview and his values, and I’m not ashamed to say that Benghazi ain’t going away on my watch, either.
What do you think?
Let’s all make the day count!
Pray for our troops, our police, the Peace of Jerusalem and our nation.
God Bless America!
— Charlie Daniels, Jr.
PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU POST
Feel free to comment on soapboxes, but please refrain from profanity and anonymous posts are not allowed, we need a name and you MUST provide a valid email address. If you provide an email address, but leave the name as "Anonymous" we will pick a name for you based on your email address. No one other than website administrators will see your email address, not other posters. If you post without a valid email address, your comment (whether positive or negative) will be deleted. — TeamCDB
Check Out The Charlie Daniels Podcast!
Check out "Geechi Geechi Ya Ya Blues" from Beau Weevils - 'Songs in the Key of E'