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Thread: Best Protest/Political Songs

  1. #31
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Two sticks in the Powderworks

    Beat me to it DE. You posted one of their best, but there are many more. The Oils were notable for writing very political songs despite having a hard core audience of young working class & lower middle class men with little interest in such issues (especially aboriginal rights). How did they do it? Damned fine rock & roll & incendiary live performances!

    One from their first album, and my favourite oils track. 'There's a shit storm a comin" is one of the best opening lines of any song.






    inspired by the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior by the French government.






    ...unfortunately this song remains as true as ever



    and a wonderful evocation of the struggle of Australian Aboriginies.



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  2. #32
    tankie Military Professional tankie's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=crooks;810993]Cool thread idea! Nice version of Tracy Chapman BR, the original is classic too.

    There's been loads of Irish political songs I like, Paul McCartney's 'Give Ireland back to the Irish' was always a favourite (when I was a kid we used to chant it at British squaddies, they hated it):[QUOTE]

    Says a lot about your singin then dunnit


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  3. #33
    Defense Professional ArtyEngineer's Avatar
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    Surprised this hasnt been posted yet.



    Regards

    Arty
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  4. #34

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    A Couple More (For What It's Worth)

    Ohio-



    "Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming. We're finally on our own..."

    For What It's Worth-



    Four Days Gone-



    A story of a kid deserting the army during the war...
    "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

  5. #35
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    One (perhaps THE one) from Nigeria. The king of Afrobeat, the late, Fela Kuti

    He had lampooned the army that threw him into jail, the army that burned down his house and killed his mother. He had championed Africa's powerless, knocking down the mighty, including President Olusegun Obasanjo, when he was the country's military ruler a generation ago. And Fela had transformed all of that into a magical fusion of music called Afrobeat and had become Africa's most famous musician.

    He was known as Fela Ransome-Kuti until about 1978, when he renamed himself Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the middle name meaning 'he who carries death in his pouch'. He was a human rights revolutionary who started his own political party, Movement Of The People, to protest the kleptocracy in Nigeria.

    His influence on funk and African music is unsurpassed and has put his name to many albums, the total number thought to be 77. It wasn’t just what Fela said about a country broken by corruption and oppression. It was how his music said it.

    His son Seun in an interview in 2000 said...

    ''We've not had democracy in a long time, Instead of legislators we have legislooters. Instead of legislating, they are legi-stealing.''

    "Afrobeat is still the only music in Nigeria where you can say what you feel, tell the government what you think, Afrobeat is a weapon."
    There's such a lot to choose from here and all of it very good if you like funked out jazz. A lot of his work extends into 20 minutes & over and is almost trance inducing, so here's a few excerpts, youtube duration limited, unfortunately...

    Shuffering & Shmiling
    After the 1977 police attack on Fela's Kalakuta Republic, where his mother and about 80 members of his entourage and band were injured and arrested, he set out to light a fire underneath the authority figures and his various other enemies that were causing him and, in his eyes, the people of Nigeria to suffer in the form of harassment, oppression, and economic devastation. Shuffering and Shmiling is one of those comments.

    Fela had become increasingly concerned about the growing influence of non-traditional religions fracturing African countries. He believed that these divisions had created a population unable to unify and stand up for themselves and instead had them living in conditions that forced "them go pack themselves in like sardine (into a bus): Suffering and smiling," and without trying to change things he says they "Suffer suffer for world/Enjoy for heaven."

    V.I.P. (Vagabonds in Power)
    Playing at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1979 was the best thing that had happened to Fela Anikulapo Kuti and the Afrika 70 in some time. It was impossible for them to play in Nigeria due to a governmental ban, and it was increasingly difficult to play in other regions of Africa as those countries were not too hip to Fela's reputation of inspiring people to disdain their oppressive governments. To that end, the group was broke and without a live audience to convey their message. V.I.P. (Vagabonds in Power) is the result

    Authority Stealing
    Authority Stealing garnered Fela Anikulapo Kuti one of his most severe beatings by the hands of the Nigerian government. Fela is blunt in his attack on the figures of government that were responsible for stealing large sums of money in the form of market control. Ironically, the government arrested him (and other outspoken citizens) for an armed robbery, meanwhile beating Fela close to death. All the while, Fela accuses the authority figures of being worse than armed robbers and deserving of hanging. Authority Stealing was originally distributed by Fela's own Kalakuta Records as no other company would touch it due to its inflammatory remarks. Authority Stealing is a critical record as historical and cultural comment but not for its musical innovation.

  6. #36
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    Steve Biko, a noted black South African anti-apartheid activistת had been arrested by the South African police in late August 1977. After being held in custody for several days, he was interrogated in room 619 of the Walmer Street prison in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.[1] Following the interrogation, during which he sustained serious head injuries, Biko was transferred to a prison in Pretoria, where he died shortly afterwards, on 12 September 1977.
    Peter Gabriel - Biko



    Simple Minds - Biko

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  7. #37
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    SOme more great stuff.

    S2, always loved 'Ohio' & 'For What its Worth'.

    DE, you made me feel stupid. I have something like 30 Fela CDs & didn't even think to post one song. Great lateral thinking. (do you realise that you can embed those clips so they show up in the post).

    BR, alawyas liked that Peter Gabriel song.
    Last edited by Bigfella; 05 Jun 11, at 01:19.


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  8. #38
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    What did I do to be so Black & Blue?

    Jazz was the first great Afro-American art form. While most jazz was not overtly political, it did sometimes express the anger & frustration of its performers. Louis Armstrong was the most popular jazz musician of all time. To some (including some blacks) he seemed to lean too much toward the 'shufflin' & jivin' cliches of minstrelcy. He did, however, feel racism deeply. His recording of Fats Waller's 'Black & Blue' was a powerful statement of feeling. He stripped down the original to its core and made it his own. To see footage of him playing it in Africa in the heady days of independence in the early 60s is to understand the power of music.



    Ethel Waters was one of the first black female black singers to become a star. This is her 1930 version of 'black and blue', more faithful to the original and an interesting contrast to the Armstrong version.




    "Strange Fruit" was a poem written by Abel Meeropol, a Jewish high-school teacher from the Bronx, about the lynching of two black men. He published under the pen name Lewis Allan.

    In the poem, Meeropol expressed his horror at lynchings, possibly after having seen Lawrence Beitler's photograph of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana. He published the poem in 1936 in The New York Teacher, a union magazine. Though Meeropol/Allan had often asked others (notably Earl Robinson) to set his poems to music, he set "Strange Fruit" to music himself.

    Holiday first performed the song at Cafe Society in 1939. She said that singing it made her fearful of retaliation, but because its imagery reminded her of her father, she continued to sing it. She made the piece a regular part of her live performances. Because of the poignancy of the song, Josephson drew up some rules: Holiday would close with it; second, the waiters would stop all service in advance; the room would be in darkness except for a spotlight on Holiday's face; and there would be no encore.



    Coltrane wrote the song 'Alabama' in response to the bombing of the 16th St Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama in 1963 that killed four young girls. He patterned his saxophone playing on Martin Luther King's funeral speech. Midway through the song, mirroring the point where King transforms his mourning into a statement of renewed determination for the struggle against racism, Elvin Jones's drumming rises from a whisper to a pounding rage. He wanted this crescendo to signify the rising of the civil rights movement.


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  9. #39
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Darker than Blue

    The 1950s & 60s were a tumultuous time for race relations in America & black music reflected the times. Some classics:













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    Like those of many songs by the Clash, the lyrics of "Straight to Hell" decry injustice. The first verse refers to the shutting down of steel mills in Northern England and the alienation and racism suffered by immigrants despite their attempts to integrate into British society. The second verse concerns the abandonment of children in Vietnam who were fathered by American soldiers during the Vietnam War. The third verse contrasts the American Dream as seen through the eyes of an Amerasian child with a dystopian vision of American reality. The final verse considers the plight of immigrants throughout the world.
    The Clash - Straight to Hell

    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

  11. #41
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    [QUOTE=Bigfella;811499]Eric,

    Would I be correct in assuming that your arse was a wee bit smaller then? A lot!! Thanks for pointing that out...

    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.
    I'll go with that,thanks Pete.

  12. #42
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=7thsfsniper;811668]
    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Eric,

    Would I be correct in assuming that your arse was a wee bit smaller then?
    A lot!! Thanks for pointing that out...
    Just askin'

    I'll go with that,thanks Pete.
    No worries mate. Just think, you too could have been a star!


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  13. #43
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    The Message

    Gone a bit quiet here, probably to do with mentioning Eric's arse. Time to liven things up again.

    Rap music had its roots in the work of figures like the last poets & Gil Scott Heron, who took the spirit of Langston Hughes & others and set it to music. Rap music itself owed debts to funk & disco. Often emerging from inner urban communities, the music frequently protested the conditions in these ghettos.

    'The message' was one of the first rap songs. If you doubt its 'protest' credentials, watch the setting for the clip.





    Flash forward a few years to the mean streets of Sth Central L.A. and you get the younger, angrier men of N.W.A. who have gone beyond shaking a fist - now they are shaking an mach 10.





    The Dispopsable Heroes of Hiphoprisy were a one album phenomenon, but on that on album they created some of the finest protest music in recent history.






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  14. #44
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Jam Boi

    Public Enemy were part of that wave of angry young political rappers to emerge in the mid-1980s. They combined great music with provocative lyrics.







    I always loved this one. Funky as all hell and a huge FU to a couple of states that resisted enacting MLK Day (I guess Arizona works better for the meter than New Hampshire).



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  15. #45
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    Antiflag - Die For Your Government



    Always good to let some angst out, though it does have some profanity, I dunno if the word "shit" makes something NSFW or not
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

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