On November 22, 1963, the world was in complete disarray when the thirty-fifth President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Forty years later, electropop group The Postal Service released their debut album, Give Up, which consists of the track “Sleeping In.” What does that have to do with the Kennedy assassination, you ask? Everything.
Within the first couple of lines of “Sleeping In,” one can hear a direct reference to the Kennedy assassination: “Last week I had the strangest dream/Where everything was exactly how it seemed/ Where there was never any mystery of who shot John F. Kennedy.” Ben Gibbard, singer and songwriter for The Postal Service (and presently Death Cab For Cutie), continues this verse by describing the man responsible for shooting JFK: “It was just a man with something to prove/slightly bored and severely confused/He steadied his rifle with his target in the center/And became famous on that day in November.” This day in November would be the 22nd, when John F. Kennedy was tragically taken from the world at the young age of 46.
It is important to note the The Postal Service’s word choice in this simple, yet informative verse. I think it is very interesting that Gibbard sings this “man…became famous.” I feel that calling him famous is a very bold and risky statement to make, but that it is exceptionally effective in this description. I mean, it is completely true: although it is an absolutely horrible incident that occurred, it did result in Lee Harvey Oswald (a man who may not have ever been recognized) getting world fame before his own ultimate assassination.
This November 22nd is going to be the forty-eighth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death. Honor him by listening to “Sleeping In” by The Postal Service, a song that touches upon this devastating event while also providing you with a great listen.