Like most folks living in this century, you probably associate this song with the early 2000s television series “Weeds”. The opening credits for the show were set to this track, and each episode featured a different musician covering the song.
According to her daughter, Malvina Reynolds got the idea for the song while driving through Daly City from San Francisco. She asked her husband to take over driving while she wrote the lyrics. Though she wrote and produced her own version of the song in 1962, it didn’t become popular until her friend, and fellow folk political activist, Pete Seeger covered it in 1963. Though his version is also lovely, it just doesn’t have the bone-chilling depth that Malvina’s does. Her voice is simply a treasure.
While this song was written 55 years ago, it’s more relevant than ever. Perhaps what fascinates me most about this song, however, is the fact that Malvina was able to satirize the harmful effects that suburbia has on society (like, uh, oh I don’t know, conformist middle-class folks who fear diversity, out-of-the-box thinking, and global perspectives?) and then neatly package it into a satisfyingly toe tappin' banger.
My only gripe is that the song isn’t longer :)
Oh and bonus fact, Malvina Reynolds was a political activist who became an associate of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press in 1977, an organization that works to increase communication between women and connects the public with forms of women-based media. Did I mention, I love her?!