The Songs That Inspire Wildcat Nation’s Principal Gordon Oslund 


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Music is a way for humans to express themselves by both making it and listening to it. UHS News will be interviewing students and staff about the music that inspires them and why. We interviewed our school principal Mr. Gordon Oslund, about his five favorite songs giving insight into his personality and what he loves.

His first song is “(What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love, and Understanding”, by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. “When I was, like, 14 years old or whatever it was… I stumbled onto Elvis Costello and this song just really, really hit me.” Mr. Oslund said, “I think much of rock and roll is simple, but it’s complex, meaning it’s pretty easy to understand, but if it was so easy to understand, why is it that the world has such a hard time with it?” Oslund tells us, and he says “it’s simple enough, but when you listen to the lyrics, it’s really an anthem about… why do people have such a hard time understanding that we’re all one and that the world should be about trying to understand one another and loving one another, and from that establishing peace. It’s the anthem of a lifetime for me.”

The second song Oslund identified was The Beatles’ song “All You Need is Love.” Oslund tells us that “for a whole year, once,” he woke up to this song. He “programmed a little iPod thing… so for the whole year, I woke up every day to this song.” He says that “It’s not my favorite song, and I don’t think it’s even that fantastic of a song in and of itself, it’s just a fantastic song because of the message, on a couple of different levels,” and he adds that “to me, the word ‘love’ has always meant something huge.” 

Oslund’s next song is “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by the Who. “I was probably 8 years old, or maybe it was a couple of years older than that… my parents didn’t have any rock and roll in the house, but they had The Who’s Who’s Next, which is one of the best albums ever produced, and on it is ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again,’” he says, and remembers that “a couple of years later, my parents’ friend, who loved rock and roll, had giant speakers on the deck, in the woods, and that music was at full high volume, and it’s just sheer power. And so the sheer power of this song, musically, is just off the charts,” and he says that “then you get down to this message, and ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, it’s a song about ‘at what point are we, as a world, when are we gonna commit… that we’re not gonna get fooled again?”

4th, we have “If Not For You”, by George Harrison. “Goerge Harrison is just a spiritually beautiful human,” Oslund says. “This is a love song, and it’s really ‘if not for you, this world wouldn’t be what it is for me’… it’s, you know, from him to the one that he loves, but it’s also us recognizing that whomever that person or those people are in life, if not for you, the robins wouldn’t sing and, if not for you, the sky wouldn’t be blue, and if not for you, we just wouldn’t be complete.” He says that “that’s just a genuine part of music, and it’s the part that goes back to all of that art, and that beauty, and that love.”

The fifth and last track is but not least we have “Clamp Down”, by The Clash. “The Clash is the best punk band, in my opinion, that ever played. They’re very, very political, they became very diverse musicians, and the politics of their music was really about the working class here… the Clash and “Clamp Down” is another one of those songs that just says ‘we have to have economic justice.’’ says Oslund, and “you shouldn’t grow up to be this person where you’re told what to do, and then you go and you work this job and you live this life, and you’re working for the clampdown. You should be free to be you and contribute in a positive manner, and have a life that’s not what you’re told, but what you want.”

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