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Dear Mrs. Reagan

Dear Mrs. Reagan has not been seen in 1814 Phish shows.
It was last played: 1989-01-18.
It was played at 0.65% of live shows.
It has been performed live 13 time(s).

Music/Lyrics: Jim Pollock/Rich Kleinman

Vocals: Trey, Page

Debut: 1985-11-14

Historian: Ellis Godard

"Dear Mrs. Reagan" (originally “Memo to Ronnie Reagan”) is quite different from anything else by Phish, particularly at that time. Rich Kleinman wrote the lyrics in 1983; Jim Pollock put music to the lyrics and did two 4-track recordings of the song in spring of 1984. Phish practiced the tune beginning in October ‘84 (just prior to Reagan’s landslide re-election) and recorded it several times starting in November ‘84, but there is no record of it being performed live until 9/27/85.

Watch Dear Mrs. Reagan on YouTube

Contrary to many Phish lyrics, there are no hidden meanings or metaphors in these most political lyrics of Phish’s originals. The song lambastes President Ronald Reagan’s, wife, Nancy for her stance on drugs (remember “Just Say No”?), suggests that she secretly wields power behind the overly-promoted actor, and commands her to “gun your husband down” in order to save the country. She didn't, and the song has not been performed since Reagan’s V.P., George H.W. Bush, was inaugurated in 1989.

Unrelated to Woody Guthrie’s “Dear Mrs. Roosevelt,” the song is said to parody Dylan tunes of the ‘60s, and Trey is said to sound like Dylan on early versions, particularly 4/1/86 and 4/15/86, both of which feature Trey introducing Phish as the “Bob Dylan Band.” The only pattern apparent from the thirteen known live performances is that the song came late in shows, closing three second sets (4/1/868/10/87, and 6/15/88) and second-to-last in two other shows (9/27/85 and 4/24/87). Reagan’s fans and foes alike may want to check out the film Bedtime For Bonzo, a stirring classic that pits Ronnie against the unpredictable wiles of a naughty little chimp.

Watch Dear Mrs. Reagan on YouTube


© Who Is She? Music, BMI

Dear Mrs. Reagan, I hope you're feeling well
Fighting drugs and abortion will keep you out of hell
Send in the troops they'll shut the system down
Take away their leaders and replace them all with clowns

Out in the Rose Garden, time for a speech
Make up your face so it looks like a peach
Aw, Nancy dear, what shall I say?
Tell ole Ronnie it's all OK.

Oh Mrs Reagan, Mrs Reagan
Gun your husband down
You'll collect insurance
Make our country sound

Dear Mrs Reagan, gun your husband down,
Save us from this awful fate
George Bush will be our next president!
Dear Mr Reagan, your hair is really swell

Buy another missile and damn the poor to hell
Pump up our resources,
You'll make us strong abroad
Foreign country leaders

Know that you're a fraud
Oh Ron, you're such a patriot
We think that you're an idiot
Everybody's singing this time

Oh Mrs Reagan, Mrs Reagan, gun your husband down,
Don't this let injustice reign,
It's Ron you must uncrown
Oh Mrs Reagan, gun your husband down

Send him out to pasture
His brain cannot be found

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