Protest Songs

Just saw Ari Melber on MSNBC interviewing Lil Baby. Apparently Melber is doing a thing on Protest Songs where you can nominate. Well, I’ve heard a lot of protest songs in my day, but I’d like to kick of this topic with something many wouldn’t think of. And it’s positively dripping in vitriol.

And in higher fidelity

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I’m sure I will add more but I will add one that you may not know is and one that obviously is

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Stephen King wrote a masterful short story featuring this one:

One from my angry youth:

Another from my angry youth:

Anyone think the simmering isolation, Black Lives Matter, Neo-nazis, protests and counter protests might be a fertile ground for some revolutionary music?

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I Ain’t Marching puts me in mind of this Dire Straits song, which I always think of as protest, despite the irony in the point of view.

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I think Maggie’s Farm pairs nicely with Stand Down Margaret.

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Public Enemy was great… one of the groups that spoke about real stuff.

Fight the Power was probably their signature protest track

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Sometimes I like to go back to Sam Cooke

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Protest song, hmmm……:thinking:. My mind immediately goes to

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….then

Or for the 80’s kids

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I gotta go with Robert Zimmerman Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin' (Audio) - YouTube

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Almost anything by RATM.

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A few come to mind, perhaps more reminders than protests…

Peter Gabriel Biko : September '77 // Port Elizabeth weather fine // It was business as usual // In police room 619

Daryl Braithwaite I can see higher than before : We drove home past TianAnMen Square // They told me of that night on June 4th 1989 // Inside I just went quiet

Icehouse Uniform : Soldier boys! // We’ve got plans for you // A brand new game // We call it “mass control” (And they even recorded a German version.)

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another classic:

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@Audiophool, yes most of the Sex Pistols catalog involves protest in some form. I could never resist the The Clash musically (over sometimes unintelligible lyrics), even as they were very opposed to the UK establishment of the time. The Clash would be canceled by the left today for the ambiguous/tough lyrics of Rock the Casbah and Safe European Home at minimum.

The Smiths (Morrissey) wrote many inside-out protest songs. This is what made him/them unique:

  • Panic – Story of a violent anti-pop-music revolution spreading across Britain city by city with lyrics such as “Burn down the disco, hang the blessed DJ.”
  • The Queen is Dead – Extensive criticism of the UK royal family through satire and absurdities.
  • How Soon Is Now? – Tearing up night club culture in the lyrics of a dance song.

Morrissey later wrote a non-clever protest song entitled Margaret on the Guillotine [Prime minister Margaret Thatcher.]

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Lemme introduce RATM.

Critical of police brutality.

Critique of the spread of the military industrial complex.

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One of the most haunting, written by political prisoners of the Third Reich, translated into many languages. Pete Seeger does an excellent rendition.

But not all protest songs are sad and haunting. Woodie Guthrie disliked the brash, arrogant “God Bless America”, thought it had way too much airplay, and wrote this American anthem in protest. Note his famous guitar with the sign “This Maching Kills Fascists”.

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