Move Over 'YMCA' — 22-Year Old Alt-Rock Hit Is Biden Family Anthem

Thursday January 21, 2021

New Radical's lead man Gregg Alexander performing at the Biden inauguration.
New Radical's lead man Gregg Alexander performing at the Biden inauguration.  (Source:YouTube)

One of the Inauguration surprises on Wednesday was the appearance of The New Radicals, the 1990s alt-rock group who flashed on the scene with the song "You Get What You Give," then disbanded. The song, written by frontman Gregg Alexander and producer Rick Nowels, was an international hit, scoring #1 on the charts in Canada, #5 in the UK and #36 on the Billboard Hot 100. in 1998. The song was featured on their album "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too," which went platinum. After the group broke up, Alexander went on to a successful career as a producer and writer, being nominated for an Oscar with Nowels for Best Song for "Lost Stars" from the film "Begin Again."

What brought the group back together was Alexander having learned how "You Get What You Give" meant for the President and his family. "In Biden's 2017 autobiography 'Promise Me, Dad,' he recounted how the single became the 'theme song' for his son Beau Biden as the Attorney General of Delaware battled a brain tumor before his death on May 30, 2015," reported the Daily Mail.

"During breakfast, Beau would often make me listen to what I thought was his theme song, 'You Get What You Give' by the New Radicals,' Biden wrote: "Even though Beau never stopped fighting and his will to live was stronger than most — I think he knew that this day might come. The words to the song are: "This whole damn world can fall apart. You'll be ok, follow your heart."'

The song got added attention when Kamala Harris's husband chose it to be played when he appeared at campaign events during the summer and fall.

In his introduction to Wednesday's performance Alexander said: "The band ended over 20 years ago, before our second single was even released. So when we heard 'You Get What You Give' was a Biden family anthem, we pledged if Joe won we'd get together and play our little song, both in memory and in honor of our new president's patriot son Beau, and also with the prayer of Joe being able to bring our country together again. Joe, Kamala, this one's for you."

Alexander dressed for the performance in "slick black jacket with olive cargo pants and a matching bucket hat, which appeared to be identical to the hat he wore in the original music video," adds the Daily Mail.

In a separate statement, Alexander said: "If there's one thing on Earth that would possibly make us get the band together, if only for a day, it is the hope that our song could be even the tiniest beacon of light in such a dark time. America knows in its heart that things will get bright again with a new administration and a real plan for vaccines on the way. That's the message of the song... this world is gonna pull through."

And in an interview in Rolling Stone, Alexander said, "It's such an unexpected honor particularly after the tragic year of 2020 and the hope there's a little positivity in our song it can bring to the start of 2021 and the Biden/Harris administration."

The performance was accompanied with clips of Americans holding up signs of hope and encouragement for the new administration.

What was missing from the song was its bridge section, which featured Alexander throwing shade on popular music stars at that time, including Beck, Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson. "For the inauguration and only four minutes to play, I couldn't get to the rap part anyway," he told Rolling Stone.

Asked if he has had requests for the group to get back together, Alexander said: "Countless — and of course it's always flattering. Label heads have offered small fortunes for a second New Radicals album, but honestly, I'm relatively happy with my life. I do get a chuckle when I see us sometimes referred to as a 'one-hit wonder' as some people may not realize that New Radicals ended by choice before our second single was released. But I view it as a cute pop term of endearment."

Watch Gregg Alexander and the New Radicals perform "You Get What You Give" at the Biden inauguration.

Watch Gregg Alexander and the New Radicals perform "You Get What You Give" in its original music video from 1998:

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