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Springsteen's Tribute to Victor Jara—Forty Years After He Was Killed in the Chilean Coup | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Springsteen's Tribute to Victor Jara—Forty Years After He Was Killed in the Chilean Coup

Bruce Springsteen paid tribute last night in Santiago to the famed Chilean political folk singer Victor Jara, who died forty years ago in the US-backed coup. Bruce sang “Manifesto,” reportedly the last song Jara wrote before he was tortured, in Spanish after his intro, also in Spanish. The crowd roared and applauded.

See my recent Jara post here. In 1974, I edited and published the first major mainstream piece about the death of Jara in the United States, at Crawdaddy. In it, Stew Albert recounted his visit to Chile, with Phil Ochs and Jerry Rubin, when they met Jara. Springsteen, then one of my friends, first read about Jara in that 1974 opus.

Lyrics from “Manifesto”:

I don’t sing for love of singing
or to show off my voice
but for the statements
made by my honest guitar
for its heart is of the earth
and like the dove it goes flying….

Yes, my guitar is a worker
shining and smelling of spring
my guitar is not for killers
greedy for money and power
but for the people who labor
so that the future may flower.
For a song takes on a meaning
when its own heart beat is strong
sung by a man who will die singing
truthfully singing his song.

I don’t care for adulation
or so that strangers may weep.
I sing for a far strip of country
narrow but endlessly deep.

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