Drunk History (2013) s06e10 Episode Script

Legacies

1 Lomax and Lead Belly's thousand hours of music changed the blues, and it changed rock 'n' roll.
- You want to take your boots off? - Yeah.
Ouch! Nixon thinks he'll get reelected if he deports John and Yoko.
- Ono.
- Oh, yes.
Sam Cooke is, like, going on tour.
They go to his motel.
- Motel, hotel.
- Holiday Inn! You blacker than I thought, Derek.
I got my eye on you.
[laughs] [patriotic music] [stirring music] - I'm gonna put it on.
- What a great character choice.
- Yeah.
Thought so too.
- Giddy-up.
Giddy-up.
[laughs] Hello.
My name is Preston Flagg.
I'm gonna do a story about Lead Belly and Lomax.
It's about the blues.
Story begins in the South, in the 1930s.
African-Americans are suffering from Jim Crow segresa segregation.
And out of that suffering comes the blues.
So, we've got white, Harvard-educated John Lomax, and this guy's a folklorist.
He's like, hey, I love regional music.
You know, I love little cultures that I see.
I don't want them to fall wayside.
So he was going around with this clunky device trying to preserve this music for the Library of Congress.
And so he ended up, in 1933, at Angola Prison, and he's recording these chain gangs and then all of a sudden hears this guy: In the pines, in the pines There's my girl And he's like, Fuck these chain gangs.
I mean, I respect y'all, but, hey, I gotta, you know.
So he goes over there.
[laughs] And he's like, who is this? And the prison warden's like, Huddie Ledbetter.
We know him as Lead Belly, the king of the 12-string guitar.
- Hmm.
- So, Lomax goes, Man, you're a musical savant.
You're fuckin' Mozart.
H-he knows he has a diamond in the rough here.
So, a year goes by.
Lead Belly gets out of prison and contacted Lomax and was like, hey, I'm out of prison.
I need a job.
Can you help me? And Lomax is like, oh, my God, this is a fuckin' musical genius.
And he's like, yeah, you're hired.
Bring your guitar.
And then Lead Belly was like, already done.
Already done.
And Lead Belly's like, what am I gonna do? And he's like, uh, you're gonna drive me.
You're my chauffeur.
So they set off on this three-month tour all across the South, and they stopped, you know, in South Carolina and say, hey, we want to record your, you know, pocket of music.
And then Lead Belly would get out and be like, yeah, I'm the driver, and I'm also the best motherfuckin' musician that you've ever seen and the best singer, so here we go, no pressure.
And Lead Belly was always fuckin' stole the show.
So, Lomax is like, Ching, Ching, Ching.
That's the cash register.
Hey, let me be your manager.
I get a third, you get a third, and my son, Alan Lomax, gets a third.
And Lead Belly I think was happy for the work for his time and was like, yeah, okay, cool.
So, Lomax would set up these gigs at fuckin' Yale and Harvard.
So he gives a little speech: I've been recording all these things, and this is the best that I've ever seen.
I want to present to you Lead Belly.
- Who's Lead Belly? - Yeah, Lead Belly.
- Who's Lead Belly? - Lead Belly is the best guitarist.
- Prove it.
- The I'm about to prove it.
- Less talky, more bluesy.
- Here we go.
Lead Belly! And then he would perform in prison clothes, and he was kind of upset about it because it painted him as a dangerous figure.
And he's like, I'm out of prison, I'm trying to move on.
But, uh, he fuckin' kills it.
And he looks out in the audience, and he realizes, they've never seen a fuckin' cornfield in their life.
I-I'm not singing this shit for these guys or whatever.
I gotta do this for my fuckin' self.
[dramatic music] - You want to take your boots off? - Yeah.
- You want me to help you? - Yeah.
Oh, come on.
Oh.
Dig! Oh, come on.
My girl! [singing indistinctly] Ouch! - Keep going.
- All right, come on.
Here I go.
[laughs] [laughs] - I love that he's laughing.
All right.
So, after those performances, Lead Belly would go to the black communities and play and he'd go, fuckin' finally.
I'm playing for people that understand me.
I'm gonna play songs that my granddaddy played, and guess what, I'm just gonna be myself.
Stomp your come on! Come on! And let's pick a little bit.
And let's stomp and let's pick.
Let's stomp, and let's pick.
And he'd get drunk all night and then come back in the day, and Lomax would be like, hey, tonight, we have a, um, story for you to play for the Harvard Wayfarers.
And he'd be like, I don't give a fuck about them.
I'm drunk.
I'm the only reason that people are here.
I want my money.
And they said no, and he pulled his knife.
- Whoa.
- And he said, hey, man, dude, you're not fuckin' worth the breath that I breathe.
Come on.
Giddy-up.
Get out of here, guy.
[laughs] And Lomax apparently was very uncomfortable with the throat-to-the-knife situation and sent him back on a bus with $300 in his pocket.
Get lost.
300 bucks.
See you.
Bye.
And they never talked again, ever.
Lead Belly and Lomax only worked with each other for six months, but then, years later, their thousand hours of music was released.
And it changed music forever.
It changed R&B, it changed the blues, and it changed rock 'n' roll.
These recordings really inspired, uh, everybody.
And it's funny when I say that, but it's real.
[patriotic music] Preston? - Pres, you good? - No, I'm good.
All right, let's tell the story, come on.
We got it.
That was great.
- We already got it? - Mm-hmm.
No, let's do another one.
Hello.
I'm Suzi Barrett, and today, we're talking about John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
The first dreamers.
- Ono.
- Oh, yes.
Okay, our story begins in 1972, in the magical land of New York City.
Greenwich Village.
Ha-cha-cha.
Everybody hates Vietnam.
Everybody's making a stink.
And who's at the center of that stink? John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
They are young lovers creating fuckin' art, so John and Yoko have been here on a tourist visa.
But suddenly, Ba-boof! You got denied.
And they're like, what what, what, what? And their lawyer is like, you guys have to get hooked up with Leon Wilds.
He is the shit of immigration.
And Leon Wilds comes to meet them, and he's like, yeah, yeah, yeah, what do we got here? What's your case? And, you know, they're like, we want to stay, we want to keep making the solo projects, you know, where, like, we scream into a telephone and play a baby backwards, and he's like, what? What are you talking about? He's like, oh, well, you know, I'm John Lennon and this is Yoko Ono, and he's like, yeah, what are you talking about? - Never heard of 'em.
- Never heard of them.
He doesn't know any Beatles songs, but somehow, he keeps referencing.
He's like, hey, look, kids.
You know, I-I don't know who the Boodles are, but, look, I-I want to hold your hand through this case, you know what I mean? I want to to get you to the end of this.
She loves you.
Yeah? Yeah? Yeah? - You fuck.
- So, please, please me by letting me take your case, you know? I-I'll please you.
It's hmm.
[laughs] - Mm.
- You okay? Great.
I just dumped liquid on my Mic by accident.
- It's okay.
It's okay.
- Thank you.
All right, so, Leon Wilds uses a secret little trick, the Freedom of Information Act.
Anyone can give a key word to the clerks of Washington and they return any files or papers or whatever that have that word in it.
So he's like, a-tippy-tippy-tap, a-Lennon, a-doop-a-doop-a-doop, Ono.
And months and months and months later, he's like, well, lookee what we have here.
This letter from Strom Thurmond, the fuckin' asshole South Carolina senator, to Nixon's attorney general John Mitchell, being like, get rid of this Lennon guy! He's trying to convince young people that it's not a good idea to send other young people to die in Vietnam.
What is up with that? So Leon's like, Nixon thinks he'll get reelected if he deports Nixon? No.
Nixon thinks he'll get reelected if he deports Lennon? Holy shit.
So, October 8th, 1975.
John and Yoko are at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals getting kicked out of the country.
The gavel's just about to go down, and the doors to the court room open.
[makes farting sound] And Leon Wilds is like, fuckin' Strom Thurmond and Richard Nixon had it out for them, simply because they wanted to give peace a chance.
And they agreed.
They were already here.
They were enjoying their lives.
And we, the court, will not condone selective deportation.
So put that in your fuckin' fart machines, you fuckin' fart makers.
[makes farting sound] So they win.
They get to stay.
- Back in the USSA! - Hey! So this is an important story because, oh, my God.
- Derek.
- Suzi.
Would you like to travel into the future? - Okay.
Oh.
- Here.
Hold this.
- Okay.
- This 1 1/3 lime.
And [vocalizing] [hisses and whistles futuristically] Suddenly, it's 37 years later.
June 15th, 2012.
Barack Obama makes the most amazing speech, announcing DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, saying, uh, anyone who's here who has been here, I don't care how you got here, you get to stay here.
We want you here.
We love you here.
You're here.
The end.
Bye.
Barack Obama.
Meaning, people who are here in America who didn't choose to be here, if you're not causing problems, you're part of our society already, you get to stay, and these children are called the Dreamers.
And the fun little accidental tidbit is that Obama is using John Lennon's case - as a precedent.
- As a president.
Oh, boy.
As a president, he's using it as a precedent.
- Yeah.
- Yeah.
[groans] [Derek laughs] Brian, how does your jacket look on me? - No.
- Okay.
But you gotta zip it all the way up to the top 'cause that, like, yeah.
That's what freshness look like.
Hell, yeah.
- Give me that hat.
- Oh.
Oh, God.
Yeah? And now you know what appropriation looks like.
- There you are.
- That's appropriate.
[laughs] You're so white.
Hey! America.
I'm Brian Tyree Henry.
We about to talk about "A Change Is Gonna Come," sang by motherfuckin' Sam Cooke.
Get into this shit.
So our story starts in nineteen sixty-motherfuckin'-three, the era of fuckery for black people in this country.
We've been dealing with Jim Crow and shit.
And at the same time, we still dominating the music scene.
We've been giving you, like, the Supremes, we been giving you the Temptations, we been giving you, like, Otis Redding.
And so one of the people that was dominating the music scene in the biggest way was Sam motherfuckin' Cooke.
So Sam was known as a soul singer, but now he had crossed over to pop music, so at this point, Sam Cooke is like, going on tour, and, like, he's riding on his bus, so he has this dude named J.
W.
Alexander.
So J.
W.
Alexander's like, yo.
I don't need you to, like, lose your mind right now, but you know what we going through right now with the civil rights shit.
There's a white dude out there that put out this song that's, like, kind of, like, changing the world, bro.
So J-Dubs lays this track down.
And it's Bobby Dylan singing "Blowin' in the Wind.
" And Sammy listens to this shit like, wait.
Stop.
Wait.
Stop.
Hold up.
Nigga, stop.
This song is dope, first of all, but this white dude is singing about everything that me as a black man is feeling, going through this bullshit.
I have to believe I can do better than that.
So he, like, picks up a ukulele, 'cause he got a ukulele on his bus for some reason.
- Sam Cooke? - Sam Cooke has a ukulele.
- Fuckin' Jack Johnson.
- Who the fuck is that? - I knew you wouldn't get that.
- Do you know anything about Zhané? JonBenét? - Yeah, I think the brother did it.
- R&B [groans] - [laughs] - Change is gonna come.
[laughs] So he picks up his ukulele and he's like, oh, man, what is this song gonna be? What's this song gonna be? Ugh! Do something that's gonna talk about real shit What black struggle is like Ha! He just wasn't it just wasn't he couldn't figure it out.
And so he had a stop in Shreveport, Louisiana.
So, like, he's driving through Louisiana in the '60s, man.
He's, like, seeing, like, colored only, white only.
So he go to this motel, 'cause, you know, black people couldn't go to hotels, just the motels.
- Motel, hotel.
- Holiday Inn! You blacker than I thought, Derek.
Like, you actually been I got my eye on you.
- [laughs] - All right, anyway.
So he's checking in with everyone.
He's got his, like, entourage.
And he's like, ding, ding, ding, Sam Cooke is here.
So of course, this white person's back there eating, like, white potato salad and shit.
And so he's like, yeah? Sam is like, I'm checking in.
Sam Cooke.
Like, mm, let me check, let me check, let me check through the file.
[vocalizing] Nothing here.
And he's like, what're you talking about? I'm Sam Cooke.
You're literally like, my song is on the radio right there.
The the person behind the counter's like, pfft.
I don't care, you just look like a colored boy to me.
So Sam is like, no, this nigga didn't! So he's like, his entourage is trying to get him together.
And his wife rolls up.
Sam's amazing wife Barbara.
Like, she's like, bae, stop, bae.
They don't care that you Sam Cooke.
Look at that fuckin' bland-ass potato salad he's eating.
[Derek laughs] You black.
We in Louisiana.
They'll kill your ass.
Calm down.
Breathe, bae.
Bae, breathe.
Bae.
He's like, bae, you right.
And she's like, bae, I know.
But at this point, the attendant already called the cops.
So the cops are already there.
They're like, hey.
We hear that there's Negroes in here causing trouble, and the attendant's like, them, right there.
Like, with the spoon, with the potato salad.
[laughs] Right there, there, causing trouble.
Who fucked with you that had potato salad? You don't understand! Bland-ass potato salad is a cause for a riot in my life.
If that shit isn't yellow, there's no eggs in that bitch, there ain't no relish, if there ain't no motherfuckin' like, get out of my house.
[both laugh] Anyway.
So, of course, they put all these dudes in jail, and so Sam is, like, sitting there, and he's like, damn, I still ain't finished this song, though.
Damn.
Even though I'm Sam Cooke, that don't mean shit.
They'll still throw me in jail, and they embarrass me in front of Babs? Something's gotta change, man.
Something's gotta change.
Boom! He's like, shit.
A change gonna come.
A change gonna come.
So he starts writing the song in jail.
Like, he was like, damn, man, I was born in a tent.
I wasn't even in a house.
Like, I was by a river, you know what I'm saying? And that's how it starts.
I was born by the river! In a little tent! Oh! Oh, my God, like, this is the one.
This this is the shit! A change is gonna come.
So he gets out of jail and finishes the song, and then, on February 7th, 1964, he goes on the "Tonight Show With Johnny Carson," to debut his masterpiece called "A Change Is Gonna Come.
" These white people, they're going crazy.
Sam is like, yes.
You, a change gonna come.
You, a change gonna come.
You know a change gonna come.
Sam Cooke.
But then, like, two days later, the fuckin' Beatles performed their new single on Ed Sullivan whatever show.
And so, like, the Beatles kind of stole the thunder from Sam, and Sam is like, fuck! Again, it happened.
Another fuckin' white man stole my shine.
So, you know, he decides to, like, go out.
So he meets this chick named Elisa Boyer.
She had a reputation she was like, I can get any man I want, 'cause, you know, look at this.
I'm fine, and what I do is Elisa Boyer.
So here we are at yet another motel, and they do what they do.
They rolling in the sack, and she's like, oh, my God, a change gonna come.
He's like, yeah, a change gonna come.
A change is gonna come! And so, fine.
Anyway [laughs] Anyway, oh, Sam, forgive me.
[Derek laughs] [burps] I'm so sorry, excuse me.
So Sam is at a motel.
Like, he's got he's - What was that? - I don't know.
Hopes.
Dreams.
And he [laughter] So anyway, Sam Cooke is in the bathroom, like, you know, just showering off.
And so Elisa Boyer snatches all his stuff and runs off.
And, like, Sam opens the bathroom door like, naked, just standing there, and he's like, "No, she didn't.
Did she really?" So Sam throws on a trench coat.
He goes to the lobby.
And, like, he's running around, and, like, the hotel manager, like, she sees this dude in a trench coat and he's like, hey, did you see this this chick come in with my stuff? I'm sitting here in a trench coat.
My balls are out.
And she's like, ah, penis! Oh, my God! He's like, no, no, I'm Sam Cooke.
Like, chill out, I'm Sam Cooke.
And then she just, like, shoots him.
[gunshot] Like, just, like, shoots him.
And his last words, his last words, were, "Lady, you shot me.
" [tender piano music] And that's it! He's out! And the sad part about the whole thing is, is that he couldn't even see the success of what "Change Is Gonna Come" has had, because, like, after he died, "Change Is Gonna Come," like, skyrocketed, became, like it became the song of the civil rights movement.
Like, that song was playing, it gave black people hope, and it is still relevant.
God damn it! It just really let you know the pain that, like, we have gone through.
Like, damn, being black in this country is so hard.
It's just so stupid.
Change needs to come.
You know where change comes, Derek? I'm getting reparations right now because I got your white ass to buy me liquor.
The change has already started, man.
- Like, so, cheers to us.
- Amen.
- Change is gonna come.
- Cheers.
Thank you, Sam.
- I love you.
- I love you, Brian.
- I really love you.
- I love you for sentimental reasons.
- Now I'm tingling.
- That was a Sam Cooke song.
Oh, was it? [laughs] I knew that.
- [laughs] - Mm.
[laughs] Oh, fuck.
[patriotic music] [patriotic music]