History Lesson


About History Lesson

History Lesson – Part II is a song from the 1984 album Double Nickels on the Dime by the American rock band Minutemen. The song, written by Mike Watt, is about the relationship of singer D. Boon and Mike Watt as they played music together. The song is subtitled "Part II" as an earlier Minutemen composition titled "History Lesson" was included on their 1981 release, The Punch Line. Watt claims he wrote the song to humanize themselves.


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A hundred thousand years ago before legends were ever told
Homo Sapien stood erect, mind empty and mind fresh.
Created Love and Hate. Created God and Anti-God.
Human slaughtered human slaughtered human slaughtered human.
First with stone, then with metal, now with heat.
It was all for power.

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Minutemen were members of teams from Massachusetts that were well-prepared militia companies of select men from the American colonial partisan militia during the American Revolutionary War. They provided a highly mobile, rapidly deployed force that allowed the colonies to respond immediately to war threats, hence the name. more »

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Written by: VERNON REID

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

12 facts about this song

Band Formation
The song "History Lesson" is performed by the Minutemen, a unique American punk rock band that was formed in 1980 in San Pedro, California.
Album Appearance
"History Lesson" is featured in the album "Double Nickels on the Dime", which is the third album by Minutemen and was released in 1984.
Song's Significance
"History Lesson" is more than a song, it's considered the ethos of the band; other bands have even referred to the song as "punk rock's mission statement".
Song Composition
This song is short and fast like many other Minutemen songs, reflecting the band's defiant approach to conventional song structures.
Narrative Structure
The lyrics of "History Lesson" recount the story of the band’s formation and their journey, establishing a narrative structure.
Variant Versions
There are two parts to "History Lesson," titled "History Lesson - Part I" and "History Lesson - Part II."
Cinematic Appearance
"History Lesson - Part II" was included in the 1987 skateboarding film "The Search for Animal Chin," making it a part of popular culture.
Documentary Feature
"History Lesson - Part II" was also the title used for a documentary about the band, reflecting its significance in their discography.
The lead vocalist, D. Boon, usually wrote Minutemen’s lyrics, including those for "History Lesson." His lyrics often combined personal experiences with political themes.
Memorial Consideration
The song is considered by many as a poignant tribute to D. Boon, who passed away prematurely in 1985 and held a lasting influence on the punk rock scene.
Music Style
While the Minutemen were known for their fusion style combining punk rock with jazz and funk, "History Lesson," particularly the second part, was characterized by its folky vibe, setting it apart.
Role in American Rock
Minutemen, through songs like "History Lesson," played a significant role in the development of American alternative rock, influencing a range of bands that followed.

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    "History Lesson Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 20 Apr. 2024. <https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/962964/Minutemen/History+Lesson>.

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