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Thread: Best Protest/Political Songs

  1. #16
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Gil Scott-Heron who recently died was a late discovery for me. Very much under the radar given his drug habit & associated legal problems but boy did he pack a punch when he was in his prime.

    Political commentary by way of poetry & music about race relations, civil rights, repression like apartheid in S.Africa before it became mainstream with other artists, anti-nuclear stand to war.

    In the dark, distrustful 1970s, Scott-Heron, with his musical partner Brian Jackson, battled to motivate the "Me Generation" with the altruism of someone raised during the "We Generation" of the civil rights 1960s. Although comparisons to both Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield are not inaccurate, Gil's critiques on Watergate, drug addiction, race relations, Vietnam, nuclear power and apartheid, were far sharper, wittier and more explicit than the social appraisals by those two artists. Gil called his recordings "storm music". But the combativeness in certain tracks was often tinged with a sense of hope. Indeed, his apolitical songs, which received less attention, were shot through with sunshine.
    H2Ogate blues - youtube, lyrics
    Winter in America - youtube, lyrics
    B movie - youtube, lyrics
    Work for peace - youtube, lyrics
    Last edited by Double Edge; 03 Jun 11, at 10:51.

  2. #17
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    DE,

    Crooks, S2 & I left some comments & music on the 'what are you listening to' thread. There is a GREAT clip for 'the revolution...'. Feel free to re-post here or add more. GSH has many admirers here.

    *GSH trivia: his father was a talented jamaican footballer who was the first black man to play for the legendary Glasgow Celtic club. Can't imagine what Glasgow in the 50s might have been like for a black man. Curious indeed.


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  3. #18
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Right of the dial

    The Devil most assuredly has the bes tunes, and gnerally speaking the left has the best protest/political songs. There are some exceptions, however. In context these songs were very political.

    Ironically. Merle DID smoke marijuana. Not a fan of hippes though.

    Haggard told The Boot that he wrote the song in 1960 after being released from San Quentin Prison. He said that he became disheartened watching Vietnam War protests and incorporated that emotion and viewpoint into song. Haggard says, "When I was in prison, I knew what it was like to have freedom taken away. Freedom is everything. During Vietnam, there were all kinds of protests. Here were these [servicemen] going over there and dying for a cause -- we don't even know what it was really all about. And here are these young kids, that were free, bitching about it. There's something wrong with that and with [disparaging] those poor guys." He states that he wrote the song to support the troops.


    "The Ballad Of The Green Berets" is a patriotic song in the ballad style about the Green Berets, an elite special force in the U.S. Army. It is one of the very few songs of the 1960s to cast the military in a positive light, yet it became a major hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard charts for five weeks in 1966. It was also a crossover smash, reaching No. 1 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart and No. 2 on Billboard's Country survey.

    The song was written by Robin Moore and Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, while the latter was recuperating from a leg wound suffered as a medic in the Vietnam War. Moore also wrote a non-fiction book, The Green Berets, about the force. Lyrics include:

    "Back at home a young wife waits/ Her Green Beret has met his fate/ He has died for those oppressed/ Leaving her this last request

    Put silver wings on my son's chest/ Make him one of America's best/ He'll be a man they'll test one day/ Have him win the Green Beret"

    The lyrics were written in honor of Green Beret James Gabriel, Jr., the first Native Hawaiian who died in Vietnam, who was executed by the Viet Cong while on a training mission on April 8, 1962.[1] One verse was written in honor of Gabriel, but it never made it into the final version.


    I'm a sucker for a good 'talkin' blues. Johnny explains this one pretty well.

    Last edited by Bigfella; 03 Jun 11, at 10:53.


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  4. #19
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    Harvey Andrews - Soldier. An extremely powerful song, and I keep telling myself that I will translate it and cover it in Hebrew but never get around to it.



    John McDermott - Christmas in the Trenches. Gives me hope that eventually people will realize we're all human, but until then, we stand on the vigil

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  5. #20
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Maggie's Farm

    The dark years of the late 70s & the many & varied conflicts of the Thatcher years produced some fine political & protest songs.

    The highlighted quote is a nice summation of this entire thread.

    "Ghost Town captured the political mood," said Alexis Petridis, rock critic for The Guardian. "It's absolutely remarkable the amount of rioting that erupted just around the time it was number one."

    Mr Petridis said the early Thatcher years had been a productive time for protest singers at least in part because of her strength of personality.

    Lady Thatcher was 'easy to demonise', according to one critic "If you are going to make political music you need to have something to react against, and there was plenty to react against."

    "Britain was turning from around in a really dramatic way from the liberal, post-war consensus. Thatcher was far right enough that the National Front vote collapsed. She was a very easy figure to demonise."
    First up a song that saw the future:

    "The Guns of Brixton" pre-dates the race riots that took place in the 1980s in Brixton but the lyrics depict the feelings of discontent that were building due to heavy-handedness of the police that led to the riots, the recession and other problems at that time.


    ...and a few about Maggie. First, one of my favourite bands of the 80s.



    and a couple by some of the great songwiters of the 80s.

    Love the Booker T & the MGs sound here.



    Fair to say Elvis wasn't a fan



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  6. #21
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Very moving BR.


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  7. #22
    An t-aimiréal chléthúil Senior Contributor crooks's Avatar
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    Really loved that Sinéad O'Connor version of 'the Foggy Dew' BF, criminally I've never heard that, haunting. I like Morrisey's 'Irish blood, English heart', written to describe an oft-unheard part of the conflict, how England deals with it's post-colonial identity:



    Similar (and epic) by the Pistols - the very definition of an anthem. Love the sarcasm, the sneering, the willingness to take a crack at British taboos:



    Loved this when it came out, the first truly catching anti-Iraq war song:



    Also if we're going off folk, 'Smalltown boy' is a beautiful 80s dance classic by Bronski Beat that is remixed to death these days - and is also about the torture of growing up gay in hostile territory. Mournful and moving:



    'Another day in paradise' was a song I remember from my childhood, honest anti-poverty message:



    Also hip hop has often been a seriously strong popular medium for social change. Run DMC were at the forefront of this in the 80s and 90s (complete with hilarious breakdancing video - how did that seem cool lol?):

    Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.
    - John Stuart Mill.

  8. #23
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Nothin' for us in Belfast

    Crooks, nice selection, though I think 'its like that' is a bit of a stretch. I'll have to dig up some political hip hop shortly. Oh, that version of Foggy Dew is on a Chieftains album from a few years back - excellent album (including a jam with the Rolling Stones).

    Still on the emerald isle, though a wee bit north of you, a group of young Belfast lads channeled their furstrations into the new punk format. The Stiff Little Fingers were one of the best punk groups of the first wave. Here's why:





    As lead singer Jake Burns tells it, one night after a gig a young english man come up to him & they began to chat. He told Burns that he'd joined the British Army at age 17, been shipped off to Ulster & ended up shooting some kid. At 21 he was a psychological mess, still had time to serve before he could get cashiered & was considering going AWOL.

    audio isn't the best. Sorry.



    This is one of the great covers of all time & one of my favourite songs. A Bob Marley song protesting the violence in Jamaica is transformed into a story about Belfast with unsettling ease. This is long, but it is worth it.



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    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post
    Barry McGuire - Eve of Destruction. Pretty self explanatory

    Without having to say.....yep it is one of my top faves!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post

    Well Pete, I am gonna have to say that I need some explanation as to why this song belongs here(as much as I do very truly love it). I do have a story that relates to this song and the "GBs".

    At the opening of the movie "The Green Berets" they feature many actual GBs in training situations actually filmed at a location on Ft Bragg called "Gabriel Training Area", named for Sgt Gabriel. It was a training area for years for the USSF.

    The 100 ft rappeling tower featured in the film was an actual tower that was still standing in 1987 and in honor and tradition and to our very own, some buddies and I one sunday afternoon entered the long abandoned, and declared off limits and unsafe, old gabriel TA, and with ropes, swiss seats, and beer in hand, scaled it and rappelled it. For everyones enjoyment, here is a pic of my ass while descending!

    But anyhoo, while I appreciate that you appreciate the song (as I do) how was it political other than it pissed off many hippies at the time?

    Attachment 25339

  11. #26

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    Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe & The Stones

    Blowin' In The Wind-



    We Can Be Together-



    I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag-



    Street Fightin' Man-

    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  12. #27
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    My other pics off the top would be




  13. #28
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    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one

  14. #29
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7thsfsniper View Post
    Well Pete, I am gonna have to say that I need some explanation as to why this song belongs here(as much as I do very truly love it). I do have a story that relates to this song and the "GBs".

    At the opening of the movie "The Green Berets" they feature many actual GBs in training situations actually filmed at a location on Ft Bragg called "Gabriel Training Area", named for Sgt Gabriel. It was a training area for years for the USSF.

    The 100 ft rappeling tower featured in the film was an actual tower that was still standing in 1987 and in honor and tradition and to our very own, some buddies and I one sunday afternoon entered the long abandoned, and declared off limits and unsafe, old gabriel TA, and with ropes, swiss seats, and beer in hand, scaled it and rappelled it. For everyones enjoyment, here is a pic of my ass while descending!

    But anyhoo, while I appreciate that you appreciate the song (as I do) how was it political other than it pissed off many hippies at the time?
    Eric,

    Would I be correct in assuming that your arse was a wee bit smaller then?

    As for the reason for the song being here, you were on the right track...sorta (there weren't many hippies or much of an antiwar movement in 1965-66). It was a very politcal song in the context of the times. Sadler wrote it while on active service in Vietnam. he also performed it for ABC cameras at the behest of Army Public Information while on active service - in 1965. When he got injured & returned to the US in late 1965 he was able to record the song & later promote it. The song itself was a tribute, but the Army's use of it to drum up support for the war was pure propaganda. I'm pretty sure the Army doesn't just let its elite soldiers perform on TV or release songs about the Army on a whim. This isn't criticism, simply commentary.


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  15. #30
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Now for something from BF's part of the world


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