In 1971, John Prine’s eponymous debut pretty much punched all of America in the face. It was brilliant. Rolling Stone eventually included it in their top 500 albums of all time.
One of those gems — the side 2 opener — resonates as much today as ever. “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore” should play on continuous loop at all election polling stations. And, as Prine recently told Pitchfork, voting is as important today as it was back when he first voted in 1968.
Prine recently played “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore” at the Station Inn during Nashville’s Americana Festival. The anti-war anthem makes as much sense this election day as it did for the past 45 years.
The song obviously ruffles feathers even today. John Prine takes aim (with humor, of course), at the blind patriotism that launched so many wars. In fact, the character in the song puts so many decals on his car, he limits his own view and crashes in to a tree.
When he gets to heaven, the man at the pearly gates has bad news for him. “Your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore. We’re already overcrowded from your dirty little war. Now Jesus don’t like killin’, no matter what the reason for. And your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore.”