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50 greatest protest songs

This page now includes three items :

My 50 Greatest Protest Songs (December 2007)
Now revamped so you can listen to all the songs without leaving this page. Each video playlist contains a set of youtube videos. Just use the arrows to select the video you want.

Voices for Change podcast (August 2010)
15 songs from 2001 – 2010

Protest Songs 1963 – 1973 podcast (February 2013)
29 songs

Please leave your comments at the foot of the page.

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My 50 Greatest Protest Songs (December 2007)

My definition of a great protest song :-

- A piece of music that is a great song in its own right. Good words and fine sentiments are not enough. The music must move us.

- A song that has a purpose. A song that doesn’t confine itself to commenting on or bemoaning the ills of the world, but seeks in some small way to change things. It may do this by calling directly for something to happen – “free Nelson Mandela”, by informing us, by appealing to our hearts and our emotions, or by challenging commonly held ideas.

- It follows from this that a true protest song should address a specific issue or issues that are current. Songs about wars and revolutions in days long gone are not included here.

- Finally the song should provoke the listener : shock us, unsettle us, amaze us, inspire us, make us angry, make us sad or make us optimistic. If it doesn’t do any of these things, it hardly deserves to be called a protest song. So be warned : there’s a lot of anger and a lot of emotion in these songs.

Only one song per artist is allowed (my self imposed rule). And what goes in is down to my personal taste and prejudices (musically and politically).

50-46 (see 1st video playlist below)

50 Manu Chao – Rainin in Paradise 2007
Uptempo danceable number from the French born singer who has achieved international success with the group Mano Negra and more recently as a solo artist.

49 Crosby Stills Nash and Young – Ohio 1970
Recorded in response to the killing of four students and the wounding of nine others by soldiers during a peaceful antiwar protest at Kent State University. I’m not a big Neil Young fan, hence the low placing for this classic protest song.

48 Joan Baez & Mimi Farina – Bread and Roses
This song, inspired by the St Lawrence strike of 1912, has become a great anthem of women’s liberation.

47 Company Flow – Patriotism 1999
Punchy militant hip hop in search of a decent video.

46 Dar Williams – Empire 2005
Folk influenced rock. Here she uses her pen to attack Bush’s war on terror.

45-41

45 Steel Pulse – No more weapons 2004
UK roots reggae band.

44 Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate son 1969
The senators sons who weren’t sent to Vietnam in the 60s were themselves sending less fortunate young men to war three decades later.

43 Yes – Don’t kill the whale 1978
Delightfully 1970s with its big sweeping chords and unsophisticated video.

42 Paddy McGuigan – The men behind the wire 1975
In 1971 the British government introduced internment without trial in Northern Ireland. McGuigan’s song records the raiding of homes and the mass arrests of Republican sympathisers.

41 Tom Paxton – Lyndon Johnson told the nation 1965
I’d always thought of him as a 60s folk singer, so I was a little surprised to find that he’s recently re-recorded this as George W told the nation.

40-35

40 Jean Ritchie – Black waters 1977
Beautifully written song about the horrors of coal mining in Appalachia.

39 Tracey Chapman – Behind the wall 1988
Delicately crafted song about domestic violence.

38 The Herd – 77% 2003
Band from Sydney writing about the MV Tampa incident in which the Australian government refused to allow a ship to dock on Christmas Island that had rescued several hundred asylum seekers at sea. The song refers to a poll in which 77% of Australians expressed support for the government’s stance – other polls put the level of support even higher.

37 Nofx – Wolves in wolves clothing 2006
According to their Wikipedia entry, Nofx’s Fat Mike organised the website punkvoter.com, compiled two chart topping Rock against Bush CDs, and kicked off a Rock against Bush US tour. He’s probably most fondly remembered though for his musical tribute to Dubya Idiot Son of an Asshole.

36 Paris – AWOL 2003
Hip hop – but don’t let that put you off. There are some great hip hop songs here. This one tells a story and carries a powerful antiwar message.

35 Carl Read – If I had a rocket launcher
Acoustic version of the 1984 Bruce Cockburn song, which I prefer to the original.

34 Paul Robeson – No more auction block 1947

This chart would not be complete without Robeson’s amazing baritone. A true giant among protest singers.

33-29

33 Randy Newman – Political Science 1972
Dark humour !

32 Peter Gabriel – Biko 1980
Haunting song about the anti-apartheid campaigner Steve Biko who died in South African police custody in 1977. Gabriel is joined in this performance by the great Youssou N’Dour.

31 Dead Prez – Propaganda 2000
Perhaps tries to make too many political points, but I love the production on this, the way it integrates all the different elements.

30 Linton Kwesi Johnson – Sonny’s lettah (anti-sus poem) 1979
A poignant story, beautifully told. LKJ’s poem also captures the anger at the sus laws which led in 1981 to the Brixton riots.

29 Holly Near – I am willing 2003
Great uplifting anthem to sing along to.

28-23

28 Aceyalone – Ms Amerikka 2003
Intelligent lyrical alternative hip hop.

27 The Men They Couldn’t Hang – Shirt of Blue 1985
Tale based on the miners strike of 1984-85. One of my favourite bands.

26 Big Bill Broonzy – I wonder when I’ll be called a man 195?
Anti racist blues song.

25 Christy Moore – No time for love 1985
Ireland’s finest political balladeer.

24 Almanac Singers – I don’t want your millions, Mister 1941
Who are they ? Well Pete Seeger is on vocals, and Woody Guthrie plays guitar. Great union song from the 1930s.

23 Dead Kennedys – California Uber Alles 1979
Tongue in cheek satire directed against California governor Jerry Brown.

22 Public Enemy – Burn Hollywood, burn 1990

Blazing with anger against the white Hollywood establishment. Taken from the album Fear of a black planet.

21-16

21 Bruce Springsteen – American skin (41 shots) 2000
Written about the death of Amadou Diallo, shot 41 times by four cops from the NYPD in 1999. He was unarmed. The cops were acquitted of all charges.

20 Bob Marley and the Wailers – Them belly full (but we hungry) 1975
A hungry mob is an angry mob …

19 Sage Francis – Makeshift Patriot 2001
About America’s response to the 9/11 attacks, rather than the attacks themselves. A masterpiece. The sample at the end is from the movie Don’t Look Back, and is taken from an interview with Bob Dylan by Time magazine.

18 The Clash – The Call Up 1980
One of several powerful political songs from the Sandinista album.

17 Chris Wood & Karine Polwart – Moving on song 2006
Wonderful rendition of Ewan MacColl’s classic folk song about the rights of the travelling people.

16 The Special AKA – Free Nelson Mandela 1984
Upbeat, feelgood record which helped make anti-apartheid campaigners feel strong.

15-10

15 Phil Ochs – I ain’t marching anymore 1965
Brilliant 60s political singer songwriter with a cultured voice.

14 Barry McGuire – Eve of destruction 1965
This raw version of the apocalyptic song by PJ Proby went to number one on both sides of the Atlantic and became the rallying cry for supporters of the 26th amendment to the US Constitution, which changed the voting age from 21 to 18.

13 Mahalia Jackson – We shall overcome 1968
Pete Seeger may have done most to popularise this song, but this gospel version by Mahalia Jackson surely can’t be bettered.

12 Junior Reid – One blood 1990
Rousing Jamaican anti-racist anthem.

11 NWA – Fuck tha police 1989
When hip hop still had the power to shock. Explosive music and violent lyrics. From Straight outta Compton.

10 ani difranco – Self evident 2002
Long post 9/11 poem which hits one target after another with its skilful use of words. Extraordinary.

9-4

9 Tom Robinson – Glad to be gay 1976
Direct and passionate from its great opening line, ‘The British police are the best in the world’.

8 DAM – Meen Er Habi 2001
The first Palestinian rapper. Incisive and angry commentary on the Palestinian situation (with subtitles). Amazing.

7 Woody Guthrie – This land is your land 1940
The father of the modern protest song sings his most famous number. Though I’d have liked to have Deportee here. Are there any recordings of Guthrie singing this online ?

6 2Pac – Changes 1998
Sampling Bruce Hornsby’s The Way It Is, 2Pac’s powerful song differs from most gangsta rap records in that it doesn’t just talk about the reality of life in America’s inner city ghettos, it generalises rather than personalises, and points the finger of blame : ‘instead of war on poverty they got a war on drugs so the police can bother me’.

5 Babyface feat Stevie Wonder – How come, how long 1997
Really moving song about domestic violence.

4 Sam Cooke – A change is gonna come 1965
This melodious song came to epitomise the aspirations of the US Civil Rights struggle. It was covered by several Motown artists, but Sam Cooke’s remains the definitive version.

3 Edwin Starr – War 1970

By some distance the most popular protest song of them all in the last three decades – this is the one that protestors and demonstrators love to sing and love to hear.

2 Bob Dylan – Only a pawn in their game 1964

I could have picked any one of many classic Dylan songs (Blowin in the Wind, Masters of War, Hattie Carroll, Times they are a changin’ …) but this is a personal favourite. Starting from the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, Dylan unravels the psychology of white racism and writes its epitaph.

1 Billie Holiday – Strange fruit 1939

The awesome power of this song comes partly of course from Billie Holiday’s voice and the evocative imagery, but also from the revolutionary slow paced delivery which arrests the listener’s attention yet is so appropriate to the subject matter.

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Voices for Change podcast (August 2010)

Voices for change
Voices for change

1. Saul Williams – The Pledge (Not in my name 2003)
2. Brother Ali – Uncle Sam Goddamn (The Undisputed Truth 2007)
3. Shamarr Allen, Dee 1, Paul Sanchez, Bennie Pete – Sorry Ain’t Enough No More (anti BP song 2010 – free download)
4. Sarah Harmer – Escarpment Blues (I’m a Mountain 2006)
5. Eliza Gilkyson – Man of God (Paradise Hotel 2005)
6. James McMurtry – We Can’t Make It Here (Childish Things 2005)
7. Alun Parry – All Hail To The Market (We Can Make The World Stop 2009)
8. Frank Turner – Photosynthesis (Love Ire & Song 2008)
9. Attila the Stockbroker – Supermodel (Live in Belfast 2003)
10. Moral Dilemma – Right to Remain Silent (Right to Remain Silent 2008)
11. Lily Allen – Fuck You (It’s not me, it’s you 2009)
12. The Peasants – Homeland Security (Love Your Enemy 2005)
13. Amy Martin – What You’re For (Obama song 2008, free download)
14. Evan Greer – The day all the Democrats won (Never Surrender 2009)
15. Immortal Technique – Poverty of Philosophy (Revolutionary Vol.1 2001)

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Protest Songs 1963 – 1973 podcast (February 2013)

Protest Songs 1963 – 1973
Protest songs 1963-73
80m 0 seconds

1. Bob Dylan – Oxford Town (Freewheelin’ 1963)
One of his most topical songs, about James Meredith’s attempt to defeat the colour bar in higher education.
2. Peter La Farge – Take Back Your Atom Bomb (As Long as the Grass Shall Grow: Peter La Farge Sings of the Indians 1963)
3. Louisiana Red – Ride On Red, Ride On (Lowdown Back Porch Blues 1963)
This is a later recording : accompanied by Little Victor’s Juke Joint.
4. Louis Killen – Farewell to the Monty (The Iron Muse (A Panorama Of Industrial Folk Music) 1963)
Written by Johnny Handle in 1959 about the Montagu Pit in County Durham.
5. Joan Baez – Birmingham Sunday (Joan Baez/5 1964)
Written by Richard Fariña about the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing.
6. Tom Paxton – What Did You Learn in School Today? (Ramblin’ Boy 1964)
7. Miriam Makeba – Ndodemnyama (Beware, Verwoerd!) (An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba 1965)
Anti-apartheid song addressed to South African Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd.
8. Barry McGuire – The Sins Of a Family Fall On The Daughter (Eve Of Destruction 1965)
Written by PJ Proby who also wrote Eve Of Destruction.
9. J.B. Lenoir – Alabama Blues (Alabama Blues 1965)
10. Len Chandler – Murder on the Roads of Alabama (WNEW’s Story Of Selma 1965)
11. Phil Ochs – Draft Dodger Rag (I Ain’t Marching Anymore 1965)
12. The Dubliners – Come And Join The British Army (More of the Hard Stuff 1967)
This song goes back to the 19th century.
13. Malvina Reynolds – What’s Going On Down There (Sings the Truth 1967)
14. Elena Morandi – Lettera del condennatto a morte (Encuentro de la Canción Protesta. Casa de las Americas 1967)
15. Rolando Alarcon – Coplas del pajarito (The Little Bird’s Complaint) (Encuentro de la Canción Protesta. Casa de las Americas 1967)
16. Pete Seeger – Waist Deep In The Big Muddy (Waist Deep In The Big Muddy And Other Love Songs 1967)
17. The Flying Burrito Brothers – My Uncle (The Gilded Palace of Sin 1969)
18. John Lee Hooker – I don’t wanna go to Vietnam (Simply the Truth 1969)
19. The Last Poets – Wake Up, Niggers (The Last Poets 1970)
20. Gil Scott-Heron – Whitey On the Moon (Small Talk at 125th and Lenox 1970)
21. Hazel Dickens – Black Lung (Strange Creek Singers 1970)
Her brothers were all coal miners : this was written for one of them who died from the disease.
22. Toots & the Maytals – Give Peace A Chance (Monkey Man 1970)
23. Jacqui & Bridie – Back Buchanan Street (The Perfect Round 1970)
Written by Harry and Gordon Dison for a BBC song writing competition in the mid-1960s, it struck a chord at a time when slum clearances in Liverpool were displacing many families.
24. Joe Glazer – Don’t Tear It Down (Garbage and Other Songs of Our Time 1971)
25. Paul Revere and The Raiders – Indian Reservation (Indian Reservation 1971)
Written by John D Loudermilk and first recorded in 1959 by Marvin Rainwater. Paul Revere made the song one of the biggest selling hits of the 1970s.
26. Victor Jara – Plegaria a un labrador (El Derecho de Vivir en Paz 1971)
27. Robert Pete Williams – Viet Nam Blues (Robert Pete Williams 1971)
28. Barbara Dane – Kent State Massacre (I Hate the Capitalist System 1973)
The Kent State shootings also inspired Neil Young’s Ohio.
29. Dave Van Ronk – Luang Prabang (Going Back to Brooklyn 1994)
Van Ronk was certainly performing this in the early 70s, I don’t know if the explicit content was the reason why he didn’t record it at the time (it didn’t stop Patrick Sky from recording a version in 1974). The tune is nicked from Byker Hill.

69 comments

  1. No Rage Against the Machine?!


  2. *Pete Seeger’s set-in-World-War-II “Waist Deep In The Big Muddy,” which had a final Vietnam lyric comes to mind.

    *Country Joe and The Fish: The famous “FISH” cheer (on LP) that opened the “I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag” made a big impression at a muddy field in Bethany, NY.

    *Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Universal Soldier” had a low opinion of the military in general.

    *Jim Croce addressed injustice in a number of Folk songs, but “Which Way Are You Going?” ranks up there with…

    *Great Big Sea: “Recruiting Sargeant,” which addressed the World War I slaughter in Flanders and Gallipolli.

    I could go on with Joan Baez’ “Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos”) or Malvina Reynolds’ “What Have They Done To The Rain” or “It Isn’t Nice,” but others will comment.


  3. A fascinating selection. I don’t think I could argue with anything there, but have a few suggestions that could be considered.

    “Shipbuilding” by Robert Wyatt captures the spirit of he Falklands.

    Another Elvis Costello song “Tramp the Dirt Down” expresses the satisfaction we all felt with Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister to a tee.

    No mention of Billy Bragg? His version of Leon Rosselsons classic “The World turned Upside Down” takes protect back to the Civil War.

    Eric Bogle the Australian folk singer best known for the songs “and the Band played Waltzing Matilda” and “Green Fields of France” 2 of the best known songs about World War I.

    Stiff Little Fingers on “Wasted Life” sum up frustrations with the problems in Northern Island.

    “Battle of the Beanfield” by the Levellers is a little more up to date.

    As a final thought, two protest singers have actually died as a result of making their statements.

    Victor Jara in Santiago when Margaret’s friend Pinochet came to power. His song “Te recuerdo Amanda” is simply beautiful.

    Joe Hill was killed too long ago to leave any of his own recordings, but inspired many songs.


    • Two suggestions
      Bobby Jameson Viet Nam 1966

      Bobby Jameson There’s a War Going on 1965


      • Hi, there. Great list but “Eve Of Destruction” was written by the great songwriter, P.F. Sloan. Thanks, Steve Feinberg


  4. I did consider quite a few of the tracks named, so let me try to explain why they didn’t get in.

    The World Turned Upside Down, and the two Eric Bogle songs, don’t meet the criteria for this chart as they’re about events long passed.

    Universal Soldier doesn’t feel as close to the bone as other antiwar songs arising from specific conflicts. While Shipbuilding is more social commentary than antiwar protest song. Billy Bragg’s Island of no Return works better as an anti-Falklands war protest song, but I couldn’t find a link for this.

    Battle of the Beanfield is an example of a protest song that’s musically unmemorable. Rage against the Machine were reluctantly rejected as their songs aren’t very accessible if you’re not already familiar with the lyrics.


  5. One song that has recently come to my attention is “The Fiddle and the Drum”, originally by Joni Mitchell. She, as a Canadian living in America wrote it to be a message to America. I don’t much care for her acappella version, but A Perfect Circle covered it a couple years ago, adding harmony, and turning it into an absolutely beautiful song.

    Joni Mitchell version – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOJLqdcJZJ0

    A Perfect Circle version – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B6kheJ8zks


  6. Al Wilson protest song “Destination Paradise”about Schapelle Corby’s injustice case.

    Tells the story of a Wrongfully convicted innocent Australian sent to 20 years in a Bali cell.

    the song is so strong in its protest it makes you mad at the injustice that has taken place.


  7. Your list is bullshit cause you aint got Marvin Gaye in it. You have got to be kidding me.


    • Ha, Ha, Ha… I LOVE this, and you’re absolutely right.


  8. What about ‘Wake up, Everybody’ by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes. A song that calls out the politicians, preachers, doctors, teachers, business folks to stop all their BS-ing and start doing something more positive for society. The late, great Teddy Pendergrass’s vocals just lent it that air of authority, IMO.


  9. YOU DID NOT INCLUDE JIMMY CLIFF’S VIETNAM. I SUPPOSE IT MEETS YOUR CRITERIA


  10. Awesome list! Very comprehensive in genre and era, I love it, as well as the song criteria. The Riverfront Times posted a list of 10 most effective American protest songs, in spirit of this weekend’s 4th of July holiday. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

    http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/atoz/2011/07/american_protest_songs_most_effective_fourth_of_july.php


  11. For anyone who has more than a passing interest in this subject, I recommend you get yourself a copy of Dorian Lynskey’s great tome 33 Revolutions Per Minute http://www.amazon.co.uk/33-Revolutions-Minute-Dorian-Lynskey/dp/0571241344. It’s authoritative, it’s very readable, and his judgement seldom lets him down. He gets which protest songs mattered and why. He explains where some of the contradictions lie in the music and politics of particular artists while also putting them in their proper historical and cultural context.

    His blog – also called 33 Revolutions Per Minute – is also an interesting read : http://33revolutionsperminute.wordpress.com/.


  12. Delighted to see Phil Ochs there, but why have Barry McGuire and not PF Sloan, who actually wrote Eve Of Destruction and the even better Sins Of The Family? And Harry Chapin saw himself always first and foremost as a protest singer rather than the nursery rhyme Cat’s In The Cradle (Sniper and Bummer are FAR more representative. And with due deference, I’ve been trying to write protest songs for the modern era along with Cohenish love songs, and to use lyrics cleverly: http://www.youtube.com/user/brokenjarafingers


  13. I think one of the ways a protest song can be really effective is if it shares a lot of the qualities of a classic church song. Steady meter, a sense of divine inspiration/inevitability, and a range that ordinary people can sing.

    Our current offering, Occupy Wall Street, is not particularly singalongable, but we move through the media cacophony to a pro-occupier conclusion; hope you like it:


  14. I am greatly moved by the depth of feeling in hearing Iris Dements
    Wasteland of the Free…
    We got politicians running races on corporate cash Now don’t tell me they don’t turn around and kiss them peoples’ ass
    You may call me old-fashioned
    but that don’t fit my picture of a true democracy
    and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free.

    I believe the reason MODERN protest songs are not universally embraced is because of control of big media and not a lack of talented singer songwriters..


  15. How About . . .
    1. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
    2. Stand – Sly and the Family Stone
    3. Power To The People – John Lennon
    4. Power To The People – ChiLites (different than #3)
    5. Takin’ It To The Streets – Doobie Brothers
    6. I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty
    7. Tell It All Brother – Kenny Rogers and the First Edition

    Just a few extra suggestions.


    • Fantastic list! However, one glaring ommission…

      as I scrolled through, passing such powerful illuminaries as Dead Kennedys, The Clash, and Phil Ochs (interesting company, right?) I was hoping to see…

      Fear “Let’s Have a War”.

      “We could all use the money…we need the space…jack up the Dow Jones…GM will get fat like last time” — the true causal factors.


  16. The name may or may not ring a bell. If it does, it is indeed. Terrific list -not sure I’ve heard all these songs but you’ve given me something to work through. For that I am grateful.


  17. If I Give Your Name – Emma’s Revolution
    Call It Democracy – Bruce Cockburn
    Wasteland of the Free – Iris Dement
    Language of Violence – Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
    Your Next Bold Move – Ani DiFranco
    Hero’s Song – Brendan James
    Bought and Sold – Dar Williams
    Lives in the Balance – Jackson Browne
    They Dance Alone – Sting
    Lawless Avenues – Jackson Browne
    My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying – Buffy Sainte-Marie
    Waiting for a Miracle – Bruce Cockburn
    For America – Jackson Browne
    We Work the Black Seam – Sting
    Democracy – Leonard Cohen
    Television, the Drug of the Nation – Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
    Talkin’ Bout a Revolution – Tracy Chapman
    When I Was a Boy – Dar Williams
    Jerusalem – Steve Earle
    Dear Mr. President – Pink


  18. Oh my…Oh my…you can’t limit yourslef to just 50 songs…There needs to be a “Top 100″…:>) protest songs…
    What I found intereting was a number of songs I never considered to be “protest”…so now I”m going back and gradually listening to many of the “lesser known” songs, I mean lesser known to me…

    I’ve always assocaited protest music with Vietnam, as that’s my “time era”…but there was SOOOOO much more…and some
    became much more popular than others…and I guess the popular ones get the notice, and acclaim…but many of these “lesser known” songs are very, very powerful….

    Many…Many thank you’s for putting this list together…


  19. Damn I am going to have to look a few of these up.

    You should check this one out though Obama Lazy… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt99SIqsXi4


  20. I liked the list, but missing from the list of music that you:


  21. Leaders and Followers~~~~~Bad Religion
    Panic In Cicero ~~~~~Jesus Lizard
    We’re Only Gonna Die For Our Own Arrogance~~~~Sublime


  22. Dude you missed the essential protest songs. Especially the misunderstood ones like “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie and “Born in the U.S.A” by Bruce Springsteen


    • “This Land is Your Land” is #7. Also, the Boss is at #21. If every great protest song was included by each artist, there would be a dozen Dylan songs on this list.


  23. add Muse – The Resistance


  24. Protesta y no están los rage agains the machine!! #fail


  25. Tom Waits, Rage Against the Machine, John Lennon, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals… plenty more to consider. Also, Devendra Banhart’s “Heard Somebody Say” is a fantastic, under-rated song!
    Agree with a previous poster that this needs to be 100 songs.


  26. Michael Jackson had a few songs, such as “They Don’t Care About Us” and “Earth Song” are 2 that come to mind.




  27. Hello,

    Over the last few years I came across one thing after another witch made me think; “How could this be possible”, “How on earth could people be so evil, so inhuman?” Once you think you know it all there’s a new discovery that’s so obvious seeing the facts and details. I find it strange now a day being called a conspiracy thinker. Don’t the others investigate? Are they perceptual blind? I don’t get it!

    Whatever others think, not ready to see and discover, simply can’t believe? I decided to take action and wrote this protest song; “Hope Comes In The Dark’. Recording it with top musicians to give it away. Because?

    Because I, … want to live in a better world. Because I know so many nice people that want the same. Eating real unprocessed healthy foods, enjoying life, being rewarded for they’re work and living in a peaceful world.

    One after the other government, calling themselves ‘leaders’ didn’t manage to create such a peaceful world. Isn’t it time to unite, stand together and tell them to leave the stage?

    Are you with me?

    It all started beginning this year in the Middle East. Now protests are going on in many countries in Europe, America and the rest of the world. Are we going to see the transition, the baldly needed change?

    Download the song and start discovering.
    http://www.hope-comes-in-the-dark.com


  28. Fabulous list, comments included! Thanks, guys!


  29. you might dont uderstand a thing but the melody lets you know this is s protest song:
    http://grooveshark.com/s/La+Marcha+De+La+Bronca/4yjd6D?src=5
    Translated:
    THE MARCH OF THE ANGER
    Anger when they laugh satisfied
    with the purchase of their rights
    Anger when making moral
    and go running to the artists
    Anger when daylight
    take a walk hypocrisy
    The fierce anger of mine,
    anger that can recite
    For those who take what is ours
    glove to hide
    For that handles piolines
    Overall the puppet
    For those who marked the cards
    and everyone receives the best
    With the ace of spades over us
    and that of coarse comes to give and give and give
    March! One, two …
    I can not see
    organized so many lies
    hoarsely unanswered
    my anger
    my anger
    Boldly quarrel because they kill
    but nothing is clear
    Anger because the assailant steals
    but also robs the merchant
    Because it is forbidden all Brawl
    to what I will do anyway
    Anger because bail is not paid
    if we hope jailed
    The powers that have this world
    Repodrido and divided into two
    Because of his desire to conquer
    by force or by exploitation
    Quarrel for then when they want
    I cut hair for no reason,
    is better to have hair free
    that freedom with fixative
    March! One, two …
    I can not see
    organized so many lies
    hoarsely unanswered
    my anger
    my anger
    Anger without guns and without pumps
    Row with the two fingers in Go
    Anger is also hope
    March of anger and faith …


  30. I heard this nice song, “We Are A Changing Melody” a couple of years ago on the Tillsonburg, Ontario easy listening radio station (101.3 FM) and thought it was old, but it’s new. It sounds like it could be a protest song and iit’ in a folk music style. (It’s more about protesting against a physical condition, like Alzheimer’s.)

    There’s no music video for it, but you can see the songwriter performing it during this video (at the 58:16 mark), http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13581401

    Song is for sale and all proceeds go towards the Alzheimer Society of Oxford (Oxford County in Ontario, Canada).
    See: http://www.alzheimer.oxford.on.ca/index.php?menu_id=6156

    About Joanne, her music and music therapy: http://www.healingsounds.ca

    PDF of lyrics, see http://www.marep.uwaterloo.ca/conferences/ACMForumProceedings_2008FINAL.pdf

    We Are A Changing Melody

    We are a changing melody, and we are burning bright
    Reach out your hands, we are strong when we unite

    We are gathered here together, here on common ground
    We hear each other’s stories, gain strength from those around
    Each voice is different, but also much the same
    When we walk together, what a difference we could make

    We are a changing melody, and we are burning bright
    Reach out your hands, we are strong when we unite

    I need you all beside me, help me find my way
    Teach me understanding, and living day by day
    We can’t control the changes, but we can learn to bend
    The melody goes up and down, but the music never ends

    We are a changing melody, and we are burning bright
    Reach out your hands, we are strong when we unite

    Bridge:

    Sometimes the road is too tough, I feel lost when I can’t
    understand
    It’s good to know you are close, and that you’ll gently take my
    hand

    Song lyrics written by Joanne Does
    Partner in Care
    Certified Music Practitioner


  31. Not a list of protest songs without Sunday, Bloody Sunday. One song that actually made an impact.


  32. Lyrics:

    There’s a club on the left
    And a club on the right
    The process of admission
    Is forgetting about what’s right
    Shielded from the problems
    They cast upon their droves
    Uniting briefly in agreement
    To constrain the GAO

    The games of the few
    They’re the weapons of mass destruction
    The weapons of mass destruction

    Feds fling their dollars
    Big business wrangles breaks
    Policy to deep pockets
    They give then they take
    Lots of clubbers winning
    From info they accrue
    Money gushing everywhere
    But seldom to me or you

    The weapons of mass destruction
    (We owe them a great debt)
    Weapons of mass destruction

    Unions pay their club dues
    Plucked freshly from their waged
    So many members valued
    Based on how long they’ve been aged
    Building “world-class” teams
    Based on chronologic fit
    How many Oscars have there been
    When the casting’s all preset

    It’s a never-ending party
    Of special-interest-fueled mayhem
    They’re takin’ care of everyone
    Except for those not them
    Most of them weren’t bad
    They were just drawn … that … way
    Gen XYZ picks up the tab
    It’s the new American way

    Politicians led by special interests on a mission
    Takin’ care of everyone
    Except for those deficient
    They’re the weapons of mass destruction
    (We owe them a great debt)
    The weapons of mass destruction


  33. Im a big fan of lennon, public enemy, bob dylan, rage against the machine, manu chao, mano negra, bob marley, peter tosh, victor jara, and many more. but the best protest song ever has to be “Holler if ya hear me”, by Tupac Shakur. It is in my opinion, together with its video, the most incredible act of street-militant rage in music of the past century, and the whole concept was made by the mind of a 21 year old. That guy was way ahead of his time.


  34. of all the good songs on this list you forgot probably one of the most famous of all of them, Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones


  35. Bobby Jameson
    1965 album “Songs of Protest and Anti-Protest ”
    (released in the UK as Too Many Mornings) which was issued in the US under the pseudonym Chris Lucey.


  36. I am curious, would you call my music protest song?


  37. Uncle Ted Beckley’s protest songs are of a different character from those on my list. They’re not left wing – but they are cries of rage against the political establishment from a patriotic working man’s perspective.


  38. Have a listen to John Butler http://www.johnbutlertrio.com – some of the best protest songs of the modern era. Try ‘Company Sin’ or ‘Gov Did Nothing’ for starters


  39. My own song has been taking very serious by the powers that be. All listings in google and YouTube have been removed. http://www.hope-comes-in-the-dark.com/


  40. Hi, there. #14. Eve Of Destruction…was written by P.F. Sloan. Your list is great but am requesting that you give the song proper credit–Thanks so much, and keep up the good work, S.E. Feinberg


  41. maybe but newer songs and not older but some of them were good lots of them i didnt under stand so try the newer songs to and btw take out micheal jackson because hes bad bye keep up the good work i know u tried maybe im guessing you did and i hope so


  42. Rodriguez……………….?


  43. Crazy list, way too many recent tunes:

    Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant
    Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire
    Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods – Billy Don’t Be a Hero
    Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s a’Gonna Fall
    Bob Marley & The Wailers – Buffalo Soldier
    Bob Marley & The Wailers – Africa Unite
    Brotherhood of Man – United We Stand
    Bruce Cockburn – Call it Democracy
    Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth
    Cat Stevens – Peace Train
    CCR – Run through the Jungle
    CCR – Who’ll Stop the Rain?
    Chris Rea – That’s What They Always Say
    Chris Rea – You Must Be Evil
    Chris Rea – Road to Hell
    Coven – One Tin Soldier
    Crash Test Dummies – Superman’s Song
    Curtis Mayfield – New World Order
    David Bowie, Pat Metheny Group – This Is Not America
    Donovan – Universal Soldier
    Eagles – The Last Resort
    Elton John – Indian Sunset
    Five Man Electrical Band – Signs
    Janis Joplin – Mercedes Benz
    Jackson Browne – For America
    Jackson Browne – Lives in the Balance
    Joan Baez – Joe Hill
    John Cougar Mellencamp – Pink Houses
    John Lee Hooker – Motor City’s Burning
    Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan
    Leonard Cohen – The Future
    Lou Reed – Dirty Blvd.
    Lou Reed – Good Evening Mr. Waldheim
    Lou Reed – Last Great American Whale
    Lou Reed – There Is No Time
    Melanie Safka – Peace Will Come
    Midnight Oil – Beds are Burning
    Midnight Oil – The Dead Heart
    Neil Young – Southern Man
    Neil Young – Cortez the Killer
    Nena – 99 Luftballons
    Pat Benatar – Hell Is for Children
    Paul McCartney & Wings – Live & Let Die
    Paul Revere & the Raiders – Indian Reservation
    Peter Gabriel – We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)
    Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall
    Procol Harum – Conquistador
    Public Enemy – Fight the Power
    Rammstein – Amerika
    Rascals – People Got To Be Free
    Shania Twain – Ka-Ching!
    Simon & Garfunkel – El Condor Pasa
    Talking Heads – Road to Nowhere
    Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime
    Ten Years After – I’m Going Home
    The Animals – We Gotta Get out of This Place
    The Band – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
    The Bobby Fuller Four – I Fought the Law
    The Beatles – A Day in the Life
    The Beatles – Happiness Is a Warm Gun
    The Beatles – Revolution
    The Beatles – Taxman
    The Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done
    The Monkees – Pleasant Valley Sunday
    Toni Childs – Zimbabwae
    Tracy Chapman – Behind the Wall
    Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It
    U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday
    War – Why Can’t We Be Friends?
    Warren Zevon – Lawyers, Guns & Money
    Warren Zevon – Dirty Little Religion
    Warren Zevon – Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
    Wyclef Jean – Million Voices


    • United We Stand by The Brotherhood of Man is a LOVE song, not a protest song. The title sounds like a protest song, but it isn’t. listen to it. <3


      • Also… Happiness Is a Warm Gun is also NOT a protest song… listen to it.


      • I had to chuckle to myself when I saw “Happiness is… (Beatles) on this person’s list. I guess it could be classified as a “love” song, but I lean towards “lust” song.


  44. Of course, Jackson Browne’s ‘Lives in the Balance’ is the very best.
    http://goo.gl/k6q04


  45. this site is very helpfull. in this website you can get many good thinks.i am already bookmark this website. i will come back again.

    now i will give you a good website.this website is a new & perfect website.you can get many news from it.


  46. having just come across this sight….i can see that all though every one has or has expressed there own list of protest songs,it shows that were all united together,and we belive in the power of the freedom of speech in the songs and the need to get the story across every divide have no best or limeted list,just the message to listen and react to!


  47. Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror
    Dion – Abraham, Martin & John
    John Cougar – Authority Song
    Temptations – Ball of Confusion
    Marvin Gaye – Mercy Mercy Me

    BTW… United We Stand by The Brotherhood of Man is a LOVE song… not a protest song… listen to it.


  48. George Harrison – Bangla Desh
    George Harrison – Isn’t It A Pity
    Bob Dylan – Blowin’ In The Wind
    David Bowie – Changes
    Tommy James – Ball Of Fire
    Chicago – Dialoque
    Chicago – Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is?
    Neil Young – Don’t Let It Get You Down
    Three Dog Night – Easy To Be Hard
    The Youngbloods – Get Together
    Alan Parson Project – Games People Play
    John Lennon – Gimme Some Truth
    John Lennon – Give Peace a Chance
    John Lennon – Instant Karma
    Rare Earth – Hey, Big Brother
    Ringo Star – It Don’t Come Easy
    The Grassroots – Let’s Live For Today
    Elvis Presley – If I can Dream
    England Dan & John Ford Coley – Love Is The Answer
    Depeche Mode – People Are People
    U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love)
    Fifth Dimension – Save The Country
    Pink Floyd – Us & Them
    Stevie Wonder – You Haven’t Done Nothin’
    The Yardbirds – Shapes of Things To Come

    I tried to list only songs that haven’t been listed previously


  49. […] Bonus link: “50 Greatest Protest Songs” […]


  50. All these lists are great and all of the different songs get us all thinking. We all have our personal favorites. One of mine not previously mentioned – Where Have All the Flowers Gone – Pete Seeger. Also, Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock always brings out a sense of patriotism, protest, and a whole slue of emotions from me.


  51. Youtube took it off but the video RainChild by Rhinoceros would make anyone who lived through Walter Cronkite and the vietnam war would be moved.


    • I listened to Rain Child on Youtube. Very bluesy. I vaguely remember Rhinoceros but did not remember any of their songs. They have a very interesting history, of which I found on the Internet.


  52. I would like to plug Rachael Kilgour for her song “In America”.
    It’s a song for our times.

    One by one we fall in line
    To reach for the precious prize
    To the promised land singing yes we can
    Stomachs bigger than our eyes

    It’s yelled out loud and it’s murmured low
    There’s a chance for you and me
    To have all we dreamed and even more it seems
    That’s the curse of liberty

    Welcome to America: the land of the rich and free
    Where hard work gets rewarded
    And the money grows on trees
    Well it’s rags to riches baby
    That’s our story and we’re sticking to it
    If you don’t make it big
    You can’t claim the game was rigged
    ‘Cause in America
    You manifest your own destiny

    So stack the deck and deal a hand
    And if your daddy’s rich
    Every card you hold will be turned to gold
    For a white man and his tricks
    And you’ll stop to think as you comb your hair
    And straighten out your tie
    How the bottom few could be privileged too
    If they’d buckle down and try

    Welcome to America the land of the rich and free
    Where hard work gets rewarded
    And the money grows on trees
    Well it’s rags to riches baby
    That’s our story and we’re sticking to it
    If you don’t make it big
    You can’t claim the game was rigged
    ‘Cause in America
    You manifest your own destiny
    In America
    They say the rest is history

    Tunnel vision makes you stronger
    Narcissism is the way to get ahead
    Don’t you ever stop to wonder
    About the ones you had to pay to make your bed

    Ninety-nine we fall behind
    While one fool takes the prize
    But we won’t stay down forever
    See it twitching in our eyes
    A revolution is on its way
    And there’s no way to hide
    All the earnings that you’ve stolen
    All your greed and all your pride

    Welcome to America
    The land of the filthy free
    Where hard work gets you no where
    And the money is diseased
    Well, rags to riches baby
    That’s a tall tale, but we’re sticking to it
    ‘Cause if you make it big
    And even if the game was rigged
    In America
    You manifest your own destiny
    In America
    They say the rest is history


  53. You have a interesting blog here,I will start following.Please visit my website,I have a great article about the last king of Rwanda in Africa,I’m trying to raise awareness because his return in the region would bring peace to the great lake region in central Africa.Thanks


  54. Didn’t see Jackson Brown mentioned anywhere here. His song, Blood on the Wire does a great job of exposing the media’s role is leading us to war. It’s about the illegal wars in Central America under Saint Ronald Reagan.


  55. Gracias por esto, la verdad que es bueno conseguir sitios como este, ahora mismo iniciaré un trabajo del cual este tema me va como anillo al dedo.


  56. It’s PF Sloan not PJ Proby. He is coming out with a book on his career in June called “What’s Exactly The Matter With Me”


  57. This is an old music video that I did back in 2008. It’s about Illegal Immigration. A lot of my videos are old but still current. Please check it out. It’s called New Mexico. Thanx~



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