Malvina Reynolds: Song Lyrics and Poems  

Alcatraz (Pelican Island)

Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1969 Schroder Music Company, renewed 1997. After the federal prison closed, developers had plans for the island. A group of Native Americans occupied it in 1969 in protest, and Malvina quickly penned an appropriate song of support. It has now been left a historic park.

It was Pelican Island,
When the Bay was clean.
The birds on the flyway
Used to make the scene.
And the Rock was green.

We don't need that plastic jazz.
Give us the island the way it was
When the Indians had their day.
Who needs an Astrodome
In San Francisco Bay!

Sad Rock, cruel Rock
To the souls of men,
Must it be a painted rock
From the five and ten,
Miserable again?


They call it real estate,
That's all they can see,
Wild creatures called it home
That's how it could be,
A joy to you and me.


Do your stuff in Dallas,
New York and Abilene.
We've got hot shots of our own
Messing up the scene;
Leave our Bay serene.


Now the Indians claim the Rock
Just a grain of sand
To the wilds we robbed them of
Their ancestral land.
Red Brother, take your stand!

We don't need that plastic jazz,
Let's see the Island the way it was.
When the Indians have their day
We'll cheer that Council Fire
In San Francisco Bay!

Malvina Reynolds songbook(s) in which the music to this song appears:
---- [none]

Other place(s) where the music to this song appears:
---- Broadside No. 103 (December 1969)

Malvina Reynolds recording(s) on which this song is performed:
---- Malvina Reynolds (2007)
---- Century City Records CCR-510 (7-inch 45 rpm disc, 1969; flip side "Let It Be")
---- listen to video

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This page copyright 2006 by Charles H. Smith and Nancy Schimmel. All rights reserved.

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