Janet Reno, rock star

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Janet Reno has a new

album. To be more specific, she has a three-CD, 50-song compilation

called Song of America. Yes, that’s this Janet Reno.

Remember her? First female

Attorney General of the United States, often lesbian-baited, regularly parodied — most famously

on Saturday Night Live. (“Janet Reno’s Dance Party,” anyone?)

That’s the Janet Reno I mean.

Are you as confused as I was

when I first read about this?

I’ll clarify. I was flipping

through Entertainment Weekly

yesterday and noticed the following story: “Jan, You Did It? Ex-attorney

general Janet Reno finds her inner DJ to kick out some rather patriotic

jams.” It seems that in 2005, Reno was impressed by music producer

David Macias’
Grammy-winning tribute to Stephen Foster and decided to create an educational

tool
to help American History teachers.

"There are so many students

who just tune American history out … But if they had music with it,

I thought they could have an understanding and appreciation for our

history."

So, she accompanied Macias

to the Grammys to recruit talent. And two years later, she’s officially

in the music business
.

Now, I should clarify that

she does not sing any of the 50 tracks in the collection. As some of

you may remember, her last public-singing exhibition was a little bit,

um, unpolished.

(If you really want to be disturbed

by the sight of a former Attorney General Singing, check out the

video

of John Ashcroft singing his original song, “Let the

eagle soar
.”)

But back to Janet Reno. She

recruited 50 artists to record covers of 50 Americana songs — covering

themes and events in American history from 1620 to the present. The

tracks range from “Yankee Doodle” (Harper Simon) to “Rosie

the Riveter” (Suzy Boguss) to “Where Were You When the World

Stopped Turning” (The Wrights). It also includes a version

of “Little Boxes” — which I can only hear as the Weeds theme song. Click here for a full song list.

Although I was quite perplexed

at first, I quickly came around to thinking that this compilation was

a great idea. Regardless of whether it actually gets incorporated into

curricula as a teaching aid, it’s certainly interesting — at least

to history geeks like me. (And my girlfriend thought it sounded fun,

too, so I’m not entirely alone in this.)

You can check the Song of

America
MySpace page for more information.

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