Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
July 24, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

The Unwomanly Face of War
The Life of Caliph Washington

Truthdig Bazaar
American Foundations

American Foundations

Mark Dowie

The John Lennon Letters

The John Lennon Letters

Edited by Hunter Davies

more items

Arts and Culture
Email this item Print this item

The Power of Protest Music Contest

Posted on Oct 12, 2011
Flickr/Dani Canto (CC-BY-SA)

Celebrated guitarist and all-around musical force Ry Cooder with one of his chosen instruments in 2009.

It’s over! Thanks to all who entered—and check out the Truthdig newsletter for contest results:

Here at the Truthdig office, we’ve been listening a lot to Ry Cooder’s new album, “Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down.” With songs like “No Banker Left Behind,” which was inspired by a column by our own Robert Scheer, the album is refreshingly political, with roots in the tradition of protest music.

That, along with the Occupy Wall Street protests springing up across the land, got us thinking. From Woody Guthrie to Public Enemy, America has no shortage of political music, and we want to know your favorite protest song. Would you rather march to “Give Peace a Chance” or “Killing in the Name”? How about the “Vietnam Rag”?

Maybe you have a personal story that goes with yours, or maybe it’s an oldie but still relevant to what’s going on today. There are no wrong answers! Drop us a comment, a tweet or a Facebook post to let us know your super song and why.

We’ll publish our favorites at the end of the contest and one winner will get a copy of Ry Cooder’s new album on vinyl (including a CD, of course), courtesy of Nonesuch Records, along with his new book, “Los Angeles Stories,” courtesy of City Lights Publishers (click here to read an excerpt).

The contest ends October 28th! There are three ways to enter:

• Post a comment below

• Post a comment on our Facebook contest page at

• Submit your song on Twitter. To qualify, your Tweet must mention @Truthdig and include the hashtag #powerofprotest

And remember to sign up for our newsletter to see if you’ve won:

Full Rules: Power of Protest Music Contest

The sponsor of this promotion is Truthdig, located at 1158 26th Street, #443, Santa Monica, CA 90403 (“Sponsor”). The promotion begins on Oct. 11, 2011, and ends on Oct. 28, 2011. The prizes are one (1) copy of Ry Cooder’s new album on vinyl (including a CD), courtesy of Nonesuch Records, and one (1) copy of Ry Cooder’s new book, “Los Angeles Stories,” courtesy of City Lights Publishers.

To enter the promotion, the entrant must submit a favorite political song through Oct. 28 using one of the following methods:

• Post a comment here
• Post a comment on our Facebook contest page at
• Submit your entry on Twitter. To qualify, the tweet must mention @Truthdig and include the hashtag #powerofprotest.

Entry will apply to the drawing held at the Sponsor’s discretion and winners will be announced in the Truthdig newsletter

One winner will be selected from the entries chosen by the editor during the promotion. Sponsor will notify the winner via email. If a winner does not respond within fourteen (14) days, he or she will forfeit the Prize and another winner will be randomly chosen.

No purchase is necessary to enter or win. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Truthdig Power of Protest Music Giveaway is open only to entrants who are at least thirteen (13) years old at the time of entry. By participating in this promotion, entrants agree to release and hold harmless Sponsor from any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the promotion.

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments

By mimi67, April 1, 2012 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

With the rising problem all over the world, a lot of people are looking for ways on how to send their message of protest to the people in power as well as those people who are blind of the things that have happen within the society.
Express Yourself Through Music!
millionaire mind intensive seminar

Report this

By Frances in California, December 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s so nice to see young people going back to “Blowin’ in the Wind” and Pete Seeger . . . please don’t forget Dino’s tune . . .

Report this
AdoAnnie's avatar

By AdoAnnie, October 30, 2011 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

I’ve enjoyed watching this list grow. I’ve wondered for years where our next protest music would would come from and how it would arise. I can see now that it has been here all along, it just needed the right time and place to break out and be heard. And I keep hearing more music from my memory and from scattered artists, like Meatloaf, In the Land of the Pig the Butcher is King, Miles Kennedy & Slash, Starlight, and more giving me hope that we will make a difference. Someone needs to write something for Scott Olsen.

I think the need and the time for song of protest, encouragement, support, and solidarity is now.

Report this

By denverwarresister, October 30, 2011 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

A good protest song is one that can be altered to fit the cause, as needed.  And can be sung by many.  I think of how often I have appreciated “Down by the Riverside” (Lay down my burden, or lay down the bomb of the hour, or refuse to pay for war) at Colorado’s many war-promoting sites.  All the causes relate.
A good protest song must inspire the singers to keep on keepin’ on.  A good protest song unites the people with others who struggle for justice.  Here’s a link of Sr Rosetta Tharpe singing her version.

Report this

By Cliff Esler, October 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Brother, can you spare a dime?” by Yip Harburg, 1932

Can’t believe Ry never recorded this.

Report this
Billy Pilgrim's avatar

By Billy Pilgrim, October 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

I was going to say Phil Ochs “I Ain’t Marching
Anymore”, but I changed my mind when I remembered
“The Power and Glory” because it combines protest and
patriotism; a powerful “cocktail” that basically
tells the right to go to hell because you
hypocritical bastards don’t own love of country and
you have a nerve demonizing people who exercise their
constitutional right to protest the actions of their

“...but the power shall rest on the strength of her
freedom, her glory shall rest on us all.”

If we were blessed with Phil being with us today I
know, I just know, that he would be there in Zuccoti
Park singing his beautiful song of love and hope.

Report this

By Backstroke Bob, October 29, 2011 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Bob Marley’s Get Up Stand Up is a great protest song, and he has lots of others
that are worthy.  But for me the single best protest song he delivers is War. 
And he just delivers this one as the words come from a speech Haile Selassie
made to the United Nations.


Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And another
Is finally
And permanently
And abandoned -
Everywhere is war -
Me say war.
That until there no longer
First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man’s skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes -
Me say war.
That until the basic human rights
Are equally guaranteed to all,
Without regard to race -
Dis a war.
That until that day
The dream of lasting peace,
World citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued,
But never attained -
Now everywhere is war - war.
And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes
that hold our brothers in Angola,
In Mozambique,
South Africa
Sub-human bondage
Have been toppled,
Utterly destroyed -
Well, everywhere is war -
Me say war.
War in the east,
War in the west,
War up north,
War down south -
War - war -
Rumours of war.
And until that day,
The African continent
Will not know peace,
We Africans will fight - we find it necessary -
And we know we shall win
As we are confident
In the victory
Of good over evil -
Good over evil, yeah!
Good over evil -
Good over evil, yeah!
Good over evil -
Good over evil, yeah!

Report this

By fuzzydbear, October 29, 2011 at 5:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Just Stand”  by RAM

Report this

By M.K. Beard, October 29, 2011 at 1:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My favorite protest songs would be Blowing In the Wind by Bob Dylan, and some protest songs by Bob Marley and Lucky Dube…songs which must continue to be sung as the problems they were addressing - war, injustice, prejudice, etc. are still sadly around today. 

Hope someday that some of these problems can disappear totally….

Report this

By David, October 28, 2011 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Check out our song titled “Sometimes” which is about saving the environment: .

Report this

By David, October 28, 2011 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Check out our song titled “Lies and Conspiracy” at: .

Report this

By amongthepeople, October 28, 2011 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Hey Truthdiggers,

This song must have been born for this contest.  It’s
entitled “One” and you can find a link to it by
scrolling halfway down when you’re at [url=“”]

Report this

By tgbias, October 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

Actually, chances are you haven’t heard my favorite protest song, because I just wrote it about a month ago in honor of the Occupy Wall Street movement. It’s called “The Golden Bull” and you can access it here:
On that page are links to two other protest songs that I’ve written. One is called “The Foreclosure Song,” and you can guess what it’s about. The other is called “We’re the Workin’ People, That’s Us,” and talks about the lack of respect that we working people get, especially from our bosses. Hit the page! Hope you enjoy!

Report this

By Debra deKelaita, October 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My favorite song of protest is Dylans “Masters of War”
It is intelligent and has a poignant melody that always grabs me. This song is timeless.

But for a live moving protest there is nothing that compares to drums. It’s primal and grabs attention. Every protest needs the drums.

Report this

By alpal, October 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

Love and Justice, Women’s Anthem

This wonderful song was composed by Kavisha Mazzella, well known singer, song writer and choir leader in Australia. She was commissioned to do this by the Victorian Women’s Trust to celebrate the centenary of the women’s vote in this state.

‘Create a better world for women – and everyone benefits.
Imagine. A world where women and girls stand equally with men and boys, and take up all of life’s opportunities without fear, harm, discrimination or disadvantage.’

For more on this Women’s Anthem see

The music and lyrics of Love and Justice are available at

The last verse has these words:

Oh! I had the strangest dream
it came one starry midnight
Men and women all joined hands in peace and loving friendship
all broken hearts were mended
all broken bodies healed
River, mountain, rocks rejoiced
the bells of freedom peeled!

Kavisha has commented, “In my research for writing this song of social conscience, one of my inspirations was ‘Last night I had the strangest dream’ sung by Pete Seeger.”

Report this

By James Bowen, October 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

“Rich Man’s War”
(Steve Earle)
Jimmy joined the army ‘cause he had no place to go
There ain’t nobody hirin’
‘round here since all the jobs went
Down to Mexico
Reckoned that he’d learn himself a trade maybe see the world
Move to the city someday and marry a black haired girl
Somebody somewhere had another plan
Now he’s got a rifle in his hand
Rollin’ into Baghdad wonderin’ how he got this far
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

Bobby had an eagle and a flag tattooed on his arm
Red white and blue to the bone when he landed in Kandahar
Left behind a pretty young wife and a baby girl
A stack of overdue bills and went off to save the world
Been a year now and he’s still there
Chasin’ ghosts in the thin dry air
Meanwhile back at home the finance company took his car
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

When will we ever learn
When will we ever see
We stand up and take our turn
And keep tellin’ ourselves we’re free

Ali was the second son of a second son
Grew up in Gaza throwing bottles and rocks when the tanks would come
Ain’t nothin’ else to do around here just a game children play
Somethin’ ‘bout livin’ in fear all your life makes you hard that way

He answered when he got the call
Wrapped himself in death and praised Allah
A fat man in a new Mercedes drove him to the door
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

Report this

By Change Agent, October 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

Here is a link to The Freedom Song by singer/songwriter and activist TaliasVan & The Bright & Morning Star Band, an 11-piece band. TaliasVan is his music stage name. He also goes by the public name of Gabriel of Urantia, as he is also a spiritual leader and co-founder of an EcoVillage of 100+ international change agents from around the world.  He has been an activist and change agent for social, environmental, and spiritual alternative advancements for decades.  Much of what he has been teaching for the last twenty years is the inspiration for the 99% movement.  Visit to learn more.

The Freedom Song(from the album Holy City on the Global Change Music nonprofit record label was written at the request of Amnesty International for a song about the Nigerian poet Ken Saro Wiwa*, who, by protesting against Shell Oil’s unrighteous confiscation and destruction of his people’s homeland, was brought to trial by the Nigerian government on false charges and executed as a criminal.  This song is timeless, very much applies to the heart of today’s movement for change, and was written for all Freedom Fighters of all time.

The Freedom Song

Throughout the sad history the braveheart stood in the way
Of the noble lords in pompous dress who had the evil say
And all the families of the meek who seek to live and love in peace
Can not keep what belongs to them, the nobles want their fleece
And those who know the pain and loss of those who rule in sin
Must join together hand in hand until all justice wins

And I see the spark of Freedom in their eye
Yes, I see the hope of Freedom in their eye
Yes, I see the light of Freedom in their eye

Ken Saro-Wiwa, Ken Saro-Wiwa
Ken Saro-Wiwa, oh Wiwa, oh Wiwa
Jumbe’ Saro-Wiwa

And good men run the gauntlet to try the righteous rule
While others of the lesser code make them out a fool
And those that have the power can wear the whitest robes
While the meek and truly humble can only sing life’s odes

And I see the spark of Freedom in their eye
Yes, I see the hope of Freedom in their eye
Yes, I see the light of Freedom in their eye

Ken Saro-Wiwa, Ken Saro-Wiwa
Ken Saro-Wiwa, oh Wiwa, oh Wiwa
Jumbe’ Saro-Wiwa

Report this

By bonsol, October 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People Have The Power written by Patti Smith and Fred Sonic Smith from Dream of Life. It gets me going in that old nostalgic we can change the world way.

Report this

By Jean, October 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I loved the PPM version of “Messeurs Que Noms Est Grandes”, Men Whose Names Are Great.  Pacifist song.  Men whose names are great,
I am writing you a letter,
que vous lirez peut-etre,
that you will read perhaps,
s’il vous avait les temps,
if you have the time….etc. etc.

just a lovely, quiet song…

Report this

By Eduardo Martinez, October 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)—pPJGWEk8

This song gave me the strength to take a vacation from the military which resulted in 6 months in the stockade before I finally got my Undesirable Discharge.

Quicksilver Messenger Service

” What About Me? “

(Released December of 1970)

You poisoned my sweet water.
You cut down my green trees.
The food you fed my children
Was the cause of their disease.

My world is slowly fallin’ down
And the airs not good to breathe.
And those of us who care enough,
We have to do something…....

Oh…....oh What you gonna do about me?
Oh…....oh What you gonna do about me?

Your newspapers,
They just put you on.
They never tell you
The whole story.

They just put your
Young ideas down.
I was wonderin’ could this be the end
Of your pride and glory?


I work in your factory.
I study in your schools.
I fill your penitentiaries.
And your military too!

And I feel the future trembling,
As the word is passed around.
“If you stand up for what you do believe,
Be prepared to be shot down.”


And I feel like a stranger
In the land where I was born
And I live like an outlaw.
An’ I’m always on the run….......................

An Im always getting busted
And I got to take a stand….....
I believe the revolution
Must be mighty close at hand…....................


I smoke marijuana
But I cant get behind your wars.
And most of what I do believe
Is against most of your laws

I’m a fugitive from injustice
But I’m goin’ to be free.
Cause your rules and regulations
They dont do the thing for me


And I feel like a stranger
In the land where I was born
And I live just like an outlaw.
An’ I’m always on the run.

Report this

By Soup, October 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”

Report this

By broo, October 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Phil Ochs - “Outside a small circle of friends”

Report this
Crusader AXE's avatar

By Crusader AXE, October 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

Woodie Guthrie, Tom Joad

Tom Joad got out of the old McAlester Pen;
There he got his parole.
After four long years on a man killing charge,
Tom Joad come a-walkin’ down the road, poor boy,
Tom Joad come a-walkin’ down the road.

He found his mother’s old fashion shoe,
Found his daddy’s hat.
And he found little Muley and Muley said,
“They’ve been tractored out by the cats,
They’ve been tractored out by the cats.”

Tom Joad walked down to the neighbor’s farm,
Found his family.
They took Preacher Casey and loaded in a car,
And his mother said, “We’ve got to get away.”
His mother said, “We’ve got to get away.”

The Joads rolled away to the jungle camp,
There they cooked a stew.
And the hungry little kids of the jungle camp
Said: “We’d like to have some, too.”
Said: “We’d like to have some, too.”

Now a deputy sheriff fired loose at a man,
Shot a woman in the back.
Before he could take his aim again,
Preacher Casey dropped him in his track, poor boy,
Preacher Casey dropped him in his track.

They handcuffed Casey and they took him in jail;
And then he got away.
And he met Tom Joad on the old river bridge,
And these few words he did say, poor boy,
These few words he did say.

“I preached for the Lord a mighty long time,
Preached about the rich and the poor.
Us workin’ folkses, all get together,
‘Cause we ain’t got a chance anymore.
We ain’t got a chance anymore.”

Now, the deputies come, and Tom and Casey run
To the bridge where the water run down.
But the vigilante thugs hit Casey with a club,
They laid Preacher Casey on the ground, poor Casey,
They laid Preacher Casey on the ground.

Tom Joad, he grabbed that deputy’s club,
Hit him over the head.
Tom Joad took flight in the dark rainy night,
And a deputy and a preacher lying dead, two men,
A deputy and a preacher lying dead.

“Ever’body might be just one big soul,
Well it looks that a-way to me.
Everywhere that you look, in the day or night,
That’s where I’m a-gonna be, Ma,
That’s where I’m a-gonna be.

Wherever little children are hungry and cry,
Wherever people ain’t free.
Wherever men are fightin’ for their rights,
That’s where I’m a-gonna be, Ma.
That’s where I’m a-gonna be.”

Or Phil Ochs, Ringing of Revolution

n a building of gold, with riches untold,
lived the families on which the country was founded.
And the merchants of style, with their red velvet
were there, for they also were hounded.
And the soft middle class crowded in to the last,
for the building was fully surrounded.
And the noise outside was the ringing of revolution.

Sadly they stared and sank in their chairs
and searched for a comforting notion.
And the rich silver walls looked ready to fall
As they shook in doubtful devotion.
The ice cubes would clink as they freshened their
wet their minds in bitter emotion.
And they talked about the ringing of revolution.

We were hardly aware of the hardships they beared,
for our time was taken with treasure.
Oh, life was a game, and work was a shame,
And pain was prevented by pleasure.
The world, cold and grey, was so far away
In the distance only money could measure.
But their thoughts were broken by the ringing of

In tattered tuxedos they faced the new heroes
and crawled about in confusion.
And they sheepishly grinned for their memoroes were
of the decades of dark execution.
Hollow hands were raised; they stood there amazed
in the shattering of their illusions.
As the windows were smashed by the ringing of

Down on our knees we’re begging you please,
We’re sorry for the way you were driven.
There’s no need to taunt just take what you want,
and we’ll make amends, if we’re living.
But away from the grounds the flames told the town
that only the dead are forgiven.
As they crumbled inside the ringing of revolution.

Report this

By ztar, October 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

From the CD “Reality-The Rock Opera”:

“Everything Is Wrong”

“System Crash”

“Obsolete” (The Unemployment Anthem)

All these are about the collapse of America.
Written in 2003, BEFORE the crisis was apparent to all.

I hope one of these serves to illuminate.

Report this

By mhaner, October 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

Like a lot of people here, I guess I’ve decided to submit my own song. I’m still a bit ambivalent about this decision, because I don’t necessarily want to profit from this, but Truthdig seems like a good place to share it.

Anyway, I wrote this song about one of my best friends, who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan as a Marine. I wrote it because I was angry that he got taken away from me, and for all the circumstances which led him to decide to join the military. He lived in a poor household, couldn’t afford to go to college, and couldn’t get a job in our area with simply a high school diploma, except for maybe at a Burger King or McDonald’s. I’m sharing it because I hope someone learns something from it, if indeed it is possible to learn anything from a war besides the origins of cruelty.

I actually played this song on the street at Occupy Chicago one day when it was raining, and an Iraq vet came up to me and asked me if it was true. I said it was, that it as all true, and he reached into his bag and pulled out a camo poncho liner that he’d used in Iraq, and he gave it to me, hoping that it would keep me dry and healthy. That meant more to me than I can fully explain.

But enough rambling. The song is called “Missing Son.” I hope you enjoy it. It’s very special to me and I hope that it means something to you too. Here is a link:


do you remember
when we were boys,
makin’ home movies
with army toys?

stayin’ out late,
watchin’ TV,
high school dances
and pick-up games, three on three

do you remember the day
when the towers fell?
I looked at you
and you looked at me
and there was nothin’ to tell

the audience hushed
the president spoke
and that was the day
when everything broke

come back to me over sand and foam
nothing will change
until the missing son comes home

the teachers always said
that you never had a chance
but I just had to wonder
how they could know you at a glance

your family was too poor,
your father wasn’t there,
she knew you were in trouble but
your momma didn’t care

you didn’t have a choice,
and you didn’t have a clue,
you didn’t have a voice
and you had nothing to do

you thought you’d build bridges
that they wouldn’t make you fight,
but it didn’t make me happy
to learn that I was right

come back to me over sand and foam
nothing will change
until the missing son comes home

Out in the desert,
in a war of occupation,
I know it must be a bitch
to have to build a nation

for parents who can’t raise you
for presidents who lie
and for teachers that write you off
and for activists who scoff

but come back to me
over sand and foam
nothing will change
until the missing son comes home
nothing will change
nothing will change
nothing will change
until the missing son comes home

Report this

By Mary Corcoran, October 28, 2011 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Money Is Not Our God by Killing Joke

Nine tenths of the law than sic
Is possesion
Life expressed in matter is a blasphemy
Success defined by aquisition stinks!
So busy trying to make a living i forgot about living
Yes i do
So busy trying to make a living i forget about life

The best things i found in life were my birthright
Green fields mean more to me than a brand new car
Will you swap your hi-fi for a clear blue sky?
Will you cash in all your shares for Gods clean air?
Is your answer yes,or no,to these painful truths?
Is your answer yes,or no,to these painful truths?

Do you grovel to your master?
Do you beg like a dog?
First things first,repeat to yourself
AHHH MONEY!, Money is not our GOD!

The best things in life are free
I own the beach and the blazing sunset
I own the waves and the fresh air
I drink the milk of the stars in this beautiful
Say to yourself

Repeat after me!
Money’s not our God

Do you grovel to your master?
Do you beg like a dog?
First things first,repeat to yourself

Report this

By mik3w3st, October 28, 2011 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

Like several others, I wrote my own protest song. It
is called “I Wanna Occupy Your Heart.” I include the
YouTube recording of the song (very rough, done
moments after writing it) and post the lyrics below. 
I know you’re going to love the song. It is my dream
to hear Ry Cooder, Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie or Pete
Seeger doing it.

I Wanna Occupy Your Heart

To the rich man in his castle [Am]
To the cops who guard his gate [Dm-Am]
To the ladies on Fifth Avenue [Am]
To the fashion fourth estate [Dm-Am]

To the TV commentators [Am]
To the mad men buying time [Dm-Am]
To the faceless corporations [Am]
To their lawyers and their crime [Dm-Am]

I want to occupy your heart [Am]
I want to occupy your mind [Dm-Am]
I want to wander deep inside your soul [Am]
And see what I can find [F-Am]

I want to know what made you greedy [Am]
I want to know what makes you share [Dm-Am]
I want to know what you would die for [Am]
And I want to take you there [F-Em7-Am]

To the bankers and their money [Am]
To insurance companies [Dm-Am]
To the spineless politicians [Am]
Stealing life from you and me [Dm-Am]

To the generals at the pentagon [Am]
To the soldiers soon to die [Dm-Am]
To weapons manufacturers [Am]
Telling patriotic lies [Dm-Am]

To the fossil fuel companies [Am]
To auto manufacturers [Dm-Am]
To the food and drug conglomerates [Am]
Selling poisons and the cures [Dm-Am]

To the ordinary citizens [Am]
In foreclosure bankruptcy [Dm-Am]
When will you rise up singing out [Am]
In the land of the free? [Dm-Am]

- Michael West © 2011 Wire Wind Ink

Report this

By Kito Rodriguez, October 28, 2011 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Kito Rodriguez, Songs of Protest and social consciousness. Thanks! or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) PEACE! ONE WORLD, ONE LOVE!

Report this

By EricinOak, October 28, 2011 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

“How Low and Why?” by Eric Anders

How Low and Why? (Anders/Mitchell/O’Bitz © 2004)

How low and why
How low before we open our eyes
How low and why
How low before we can’t ask why

How low d’we go with slavery then
How low our aboriginal sin
How low against the Vietminh
How low before it ends

How low and why
How low our wanton luxury ride
How low and why
How low before we can’t ask why

How low d’we go with slavery then
How low our aboriginal sin
How low against the Vietminh
How low before it ends

So high we started for the times
So high the high for men who were white
So high these freedoms, and rights
So high so many held them up in awe
  and began the fight
Eyes on the prize

How low and why
How low so we can turn off the fight
How low and why
How low now that we can’t ask why

How low d’we go with slavery then
How low our aboriginal sin
How low against the Vietminh
How low before it ends
How low before it ends
For it ends … for it ends

Report this
AdoAnnie's avatar

By AdoAnnie, October 28, 2011 at 12:59 am Link to this comment

I just now wrote a protest song, the lyrics, and I need someone to write the music. In my head I hear a kind of melody that could be very soft, almost a lullaby, but with a chorus of voices could be an anthem. Write something with a couple of Slash guitar licks along the lines of ‘Starlight.’ Make it proud it was born tonight.

We will be as one tonight

We will be as one tonight
We will stand as one tonight
We will hold the hand of fate
With our sister and our brother
We will repeat history
Just like our father and our mother
We will be as one tonight

We will face out darkest fears tonight
We will sing loud so they will hear tonight
We will stand on common ground
And raise our voices high
With all who have gathered round
We will be as one tonight

We will not be sold out tonight
We will not give up our task tonight
We see our obligation clear
Our light is meant to shine
Over all that we hold dear
We will be as one tonight

We stand with Lady Liberty tonight
We sing her praises loud tonight
She gives us the right to speak
And assemble here in peace
She gives us strength when we are weak
We will be as one tonight

We will be as one tonight
We will stand as one tonight
We will hold the hand of fate
With our sister and our brother
We will repeat history
Just like our father and our mother
We will be as one tonight

Lyrics by AdoAnnie copywrite 10/28/11

Report this
EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, October 28, 2011 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

Steveie Wonder - Big Brother

Stevie Wonder - He’s Misstra Know-It-All

Curtis Mayfield - Keep On Keeping On

Curtis May Field - We Got To Have Peace

We Shall Overcome performed by Toots & The Maytals

Report this

By Mickey, October 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yell Fire! by Michael Franti & Spearhead. Live versions abound on YouTube.

Report this

By TxM, October 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Beggars” by a terrific rock band called Thrice
is my all-time favorite. It has some powerfully-written lyrics:

All you great man of power
You boast of your feats
Politicians and entrepreneurs
Can you safeguard your breath at night while you sleep
Does your heart beat steady and sure
As you lie there in bed, does the thought cross your head
that you are really rather small
If there is one thing I know in this life
We are beggars all

Report this

By Nancy52, October 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)
The link shown is to “Redemtion Song”, rendition by Playing for Change/International group of street artists including footage of Bob Marley and son.
I feel these artists are a great reflection of what is happening today…from Tunisia to Egypt to Palestine to Israel to Spain to Greece to Ireleand to the UK to Chili to Wall Street to…everywhere.  It’s not just “Occupy Wall Street”, it’s “Occupy the World”!

“We’ll free the people with music” - Bob Marley.

Earlier, before the Arab Spring, it seemed impossible to believe American’s had not taken to the streets.  Steve Earle’s song - “Lonley are the Free” - An incredible song -
“Lonley are the free, ain’t that many of em they don’t walk like you and me.  They just tumble in the breeze, lighter than a feather all together seperately.  That’s how it’s suppose to be, no matter where they wander from post to inbetween from here to over yonder there’s no place for them to land.  Lonley are the free.” 
“Silent are the strong, not so much a whisper tells you anything is wrong.  You’ve known all along but you can’t help but listen…now the moments gone.  It just keeps you hanging on till the silent signaling of the breakin of the dawn it’s shattered by the sirens singin sacraficial songs.  Silent are the strong.”
“Solid is the sea a violent shawdow passin cross the sun so fleetingly - if ya have to ask ya missed it anyway you see…Lonley are the Free”.

Seriously, I was so shaken to think so few were moved.  Today, however, American’s HAVE taken to the streets and watching Playing for Change helps give new meaning to the phrase “all together, seperately”. Both are a catalyst’s for CHANGE, it’s just how one goes about it.

Lets just hope this “sacraficial song” as seen in Oakland, (the true class warfare) wakes this nation before it gets worse.

Report this

By David James, October 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

From David James, South Bend, Indiana - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Here’s one I wrote for Indiana (and other) teachers when we stormed the Indiana statehouse last spring to oppose similar actions as were happening in Wisconsin:
I was trying to characterize Republicans in the Indiana house and senate who were out to destroy the teachers’ livelihoods with regressive and “right-to-work-for-less” type legislation. I came up with the perfect characterization: “turkeys”! Then the song wrote itself.

Report this

By Ms. Kit, October 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

My favorite protest song is “we shall not be moved,” to which I was introduced by my all-time hero, Pete Seeger. It is a strong, rousing declaration of solidarity which can be continuously updated with new targets.

Report this

By neil, October 27, 2011 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d like to suggest two songs for this contest - hope that’s OK! Since Jan 25th, when Egypt erupted,  the one song that for me has consistently been the appropriate soundtrack to every image, every headline, every protest & every news report of social & political unrest the world over has been Public Enemy’s block-shaking ‘Fight the Power.’ It’s pulsating beat, it’s audacious call to arms and unflinching message that justice has to be fought for could not fit more tightly with the occupy movement, its energy, its moral underpinnings and its youthful courage.

Alternatively, as an anthem to the 1%ers ... Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’. Weird? Listen to what he is singing - having it all, delighting in having it all, complacently scorning those who don’t, only to find it’s all been lost, only to realize you’re now ‘on your own’, reliant on those same disposed for your safety & well-being. A portend from the past writ large over the present.

Report this
kmdyson's avatar

By kmdyson, October 27, 2011 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

To Susan…“Everybody Knows” is by Leonard Cohen…not Concrete Blond…but a great song…

my favourite protest song is Maggie’s Farm….Bob Dylan….easy to sing and catchy….

Report this

By ElkoJohn, October 27, 2011 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Country Joe and the Fish: Next Stop is Vietnam

Report this

By Wikileaks for Nobel, October 27, 2011 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

“Cops of the World” by Phil Ochs, gets my vote.  The reason is the last stanza of the song, which is the best poetic summation of US foreign policy I’ve heard anywhere:

We own half the world, oh say can you see,
And the name for our profits is democracy;
So like it or not, you will have to be free,
‘Cause we’re the cops of the world, boys, we’re the cops of the world.

Report this

By DerfelDog, October 27, 2011 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Well, so far nobody has suggested the perfect anthem for the Occupation, Dylan’s “Workingman’s Blues” from Modern Times.

And also Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello singing “Deportees”:

He gave an awesome performance of it, and also Woodie Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land at the LA and NYC Occupations last week. Look them up!

Report this

By Ed Costello, October 27, 2011 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Ballad of Joe Hill

Report this

By Steve, October 27, 2011 at 8:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We Are The Cops Of The World by Phil Ochs

Report this

By akaKen, October 27, 2011 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here you go. It’s not a masterpiece, and it’s not good for dancing, but it’s a protest song.

Report this

By alan, October 27, 2011 at 7:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol” by Dylan

  ‘’s the time to bury the rag deep in your face, now is the time for your tears.’

Report this

By goodofthewhole, October 27, 2011 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

I am SOOOOOOOOOO happy to see the young people waking up and was just thinking yesterday how important it is to convey “the message” in song. It will keep the momentum going long after the protesters have been evicted as is happening in many places in Canada and the U.S.

We had a great “Occupy” turnout in my town, but I wanted to tell the crowd, many of them young people, “This is FANTASTIC, but now you have to VOTE.” The music of the 60’s did as much to bring about change as the marching! Now if YOUR TURN! Many of you have awoken from the slumber of ipods, blackberries, video games, “reality” TV….......welcome to the real world… is YOU who will change it.

Report this

By Art Ridge, October 27, 2011 at 6:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There was no time spent in thought about it. The best/finest Protest Song was, and still is, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Peter, Paul, and Mary

Report this

By John Poole, October 27, 2011 at 6:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH 2012 (on YouTube by me-dinnerpianist) is an ominous
treatment of a treasured song. Over the years I would do a very melancholy
treatment (not uploaded)  and some guests my age (I was born in 1944) would
take note and comment on how they found Buffalo Springfield’s song almost too
sad to beard now.

Report this

By Dave Kidney, October 27, 2011 at 5:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It has to be “Blowing In The Wind” I guess, it really started things rolling…

Report this

By Sergio Lira Sr., October 27, 2011 at 5:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Best American, from South America Chile
Was Victor Jara.

Report this

By Johnandrew Zanzal, October 27, 2011 at 4:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

from a Hopi prayer, I wrote my song, sang it at OWS with just a drum harmonica accompany.

Evil people be good…
All good people be Free…
All Free People
Help all people
All Free People to be.

When I was a young man
we had rich and poor
called middle class
but aas the years passed
can’t find that class no more!

Greedy people be good…
All good people be free
all free people
help the people
All Free People to Be!


Report this

By Haans, October 27, 2011 at 4:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My favorite is Huddie Ledbetter’s “Bourgeois Blues”

“I tell all the colored folks to listen to me
Don’t try to find you no home in Washington, DC
Because it’s a bourgeois town
It’s a bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues
Gonna spread the news all around”

Report this

By dini, October 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

Bob Marley was a great musician who knew how to stand up for his rights and
he taught us well.  My favorite song is:
Get up…Stand up…

Stand up for your Rights…
It’s not all that glitters gold… half the story has never been told.  Now you see
the light.  Ya Stand up for your Rights. 
We know and we understand almighty god is a living man.  You can fool some
people sometimes but you can’t fool all the people all the time so now you see
the light…what you gonna do?  Stand up for your Rights.

Yes, Bob Marley would be with us today.  He would be playing reggae at the
Occupy movement for sure.


Onward 99%.  If we are forced to move from a place we can move and occupy
another place.  We lose nothing and gain momentum as we move forward in the
struggle.  Onward! Stand up for your rights!

Report this

By Anna Jacopetti (husband Roland is writing), October 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My favorite protest song is perfect for a guy my age - 76 in February. I was definitely around for the sixties - even though they said not to trust anyone over thirty and I was thirty in 1966. Anyway, I promise not to give you any grisly details about my health problems - I can exhibit operation scars with my oldster pals. “Occupy” marches make me tired surprisingly quickly and it’d be much easier to watch the action on my computer monitor and complain about the state of the world. When I’m tempted to whine on the couch, I think of Phil Och’s song “When I’m Gone,” all about all the stuff he won’t be able to do when he’s gone, “ I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.” “Can’t say who’s to praise and who’s to blame…”, “Can’t question how or when or why…”, “Can’t add my name to the fight…” and - just as important in the 21st Century as it was in the 20th, “Can’t be laughing at the lies.” I find myself humming “When I’m Gone” in moments of protest. It’s a great tune, too. Thanks, Phil.

Report this

By gerard, October 26, 2011 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

As a tribute to all the people who fought a war every day of their lives, and never gave up—or in:


Report this

By Larry Moulton, October 26, 2011 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What ‘A Parcel of Rogues in a Nation, from the sixties it was played, by ‘Steeleye Span’, but it goes way back. It doesn’t matter that it speaks to Scots & English, and a time gone by. What does matter, is that it speaks to and about “A Parcel of Rogues in a Nation”. The nation of America or Canada, Britain or France, Germany or Spain, Libya or Timbuktu. Or any other nation that you may think of in time or space. It’s really about the “Parcel of Rogues in a Nation”. The pitiful few that lay the tribulation of their greed on the unsuspecting masses. Today it’s Wall Street (as a rallying point) but the real point is the Parcel of Rogues in a Nation. And isn’t it always the workin’ class guy (and it don’t matter ‘bout the colour of your collar) that gets it in the end. Is enough, enough?

Report this

By john geoffrey MORRIS, October 26, 2011 at 8:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Many many many years ago when the Polaris mother ship U.S.Huntley came to the Holy Loch Dunoon in West Scotland near Glasgow with her nuclear weapon armed Polaris Submarines, people wrote wonerful songs in protest. I am sixty four and remember one especially well called “Ding-Dong-Dollar” with the chorus “Ye canna spend a dollar when yer deed”

Report this

By Kito Rodriguez, October 24, 2011 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Original composition by Ralph"Kito"Rodriguez. I have been writing protest songs my whole unknown career! Lol! Thanks for listening!

<iframe width=“480” height=“360” src=“” frameborder=“0” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Report this
AdoAnnie's avatar

By AdoAnnie, October 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

OMG, how could I forget, genius Mark Knopfler, Dire Straights Industrial Disease.

They want to have a war to keep us on our knees,
They want to have a war to keep their factories

Report this
Daye's avatar

By Daye, October 21, 2011 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

Complex, challenging, complete in its scope &
professionally courageous - Ani DiFranco’s
masterpiece, “Self Evident”


Report this

By Rainshadow, October 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow! 40 years ago I taught “I Want to Grow Up to Be A Politician” (Byrds) to my
preschoolers…and we would sing it every day in morning circle. That was in
Athens, GA. Wonder where those little folks are - Congress? OWS? Well, It was the
right sentiment and the right action and reflects the SLOW nature of Change and
where we need to focus our principles. “Row Row Row Your Boat Gently Down the
Stream” may have to be my present choice even tho’ I see many songs that I fancy
for the cause ’ none so all-encompassing as this simple little rhyme. Just can’t get
no more unifying than “...Merrily merrily merrily merrily Life is but a Dream.”   
Occupy Wall Street like fish in Jesus’s hands will feed the people again. Occupy
Wall Street!

Report this

By Dave G, October 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What are you fighting for?  Phil Ochs

    So fitting as the OWS continues.  Listen.

Report this

By Greg Place, October 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I used to think of protest songs, phrases like “Don’t Let the Bas****s Grind You Down” came to my mind with black and white images of folk on truck beds with acoustic guitars singing to a mixed audience. It all seemed so far away, black and white just like the old films. But when I heard Neil Young’s “Living With War” I was immediately struck by the complexity of the argument, and how it brought modern humanist terms and technicolor to fill up the old black and white image in my mind. Suddenly the two came together into something that spoke to me personally. It wasn’t enough to proclaim that we live with war every day, but coupled with the reveal that we live with it in our own hearts, not just in the actions of others on our big screens, made it suddenly a concept that all my thoughts had been pointing to but this put it in simple words and melody. As if to say, yes these others who we decry are acting out the evils in their heart, but let us not forget the darkness in our own, and the fine line between us and our brothers on the other side of that line. We should always strive to pull them right and never forget as the old proverb says “What is a bad man, but a good man’s job?”

Report this

By Dave G, October 19, 2011 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Listen to the beginning of the trailer for the new Phil
Ochs movie - its amazing.

The movie “Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune” is a
testament to one of the leading protest singers of the
60’s and also has lessons for today, as it traces the
arc of the growth and demise of the antiwar movement in
the US. Chicago 1968 represented a turning point for
the demise of the movement. Very similar dynamics at
play now.

Report this

By Kronial Zing, October 19, 2011 at 1:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wrote a song about Legalising Marijuana called “GIVE

Report this

By Dr. DeBoze, October 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

While there are many, many powerful and evocative protest songs I have to defer to Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” as the strongest, least strident, and most timeless song I’ve ever categorized as a “protest song”.

Report this

By Hillary, October 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Never Cross a Picket Line” by Billy Bragg

First off, Billy’s got a swagger to his music that not a lot of others can match.  Secondly, how can you beat the fact that not only is it in protest, it’s a direct reminder of what not to do?  Even if you don’t get on the line, at least you have enough sense not to cross it. 

I really like that he talks about how striking may be illegal, but how legal is it to take away your rights?  Half of my friends who are too cowardly to step out often cite the law, and I like how this song just comes out and says it, “Screw it, you have the right to fight no matter what their laws say.”

Report this

By DPhlo, October 18, 2011 at 1:02 am Link to this comment


Report this

By Ray Davis, October 17, 2011 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the name of my song wich i wrote and sang is     Fat Rats and you can find it on .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)      my name is           Ray Davis .and i believe the words hold true to the people and how they feel .    God Bless

Report this

By AdoAnnie, October 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After reading through this courageous song list, I am surprised my second choice hasn’t come up yet:

Eve of Destruction

Another rather obscure song that was written in the early 70’s by Warren Zevon still sings true today:

Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner

And one by Billy Joel that is strictly Vietnam (I’m a Vietnam Era Vet so it works for me), but could easily cover any war where we are the aggressor on someone else’s turf:

We Said We’d All Go Down Together


And finally, by the British balladeer, Al Stewart:

Roads to Moscow

Just shows how we (Afghanistan) continue to futilely repeat history over and over again. Why does it take us so long to learn from experience? Or such a short time to forget the experience that we have learned?

Report this

By Dan Cafaro, October 16, 2011 at 7:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If I may add a second choice, how about Todd Snider’s brilliant anthem, “Conservative Christian Right Wing Republican?”

Report this
MXY STUDIOS's avatar

By MXY STUDIOS, October 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

“Leaders, Loners, and Losers” by Daniel Patrick.  Sometimes it is healthy to protest within the protest.

Report this

By kjbrod, October 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

“I Am Woman”
Yeah! Lulled the masses into acceptance. Fantastic!

Report this
MIODRUG's avatar

By MIODRUG, October 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

My favorite protest song is:
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Gil Scott-Heron
Still relevant to what’s going on today…


Report this

By SouthernWreck, October 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Am sitting down this mid-October evening, Occupy-in’ my mandolin and working on learning “No Banker Left Behind” in C…

Great homage to Uncle Dave Macon in style (“gonna call on the Prez-eye-dent…”) and of course the lyrics remind me so much of “We Hate to See Them Go”, by the wonderful Malvina Reynolds - “the bankers and the diplomats are going in the army…”

Report this

By Steve Leigh, October 15, 2011 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our Friend Georgie Boy by Acousticboy31.

See the song on YouTube great great lyrics!

Report this

By cotangent2theta, October 15, 2011 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

A favorite protest song of mine is Bob Dylan with Joan Baez performing Blowin’ In The Wind, the 23rd of May 1976 at Fort Collins, Colorado, during The Rolling Thunder Tour. They both wore turbans for this performance. Bob’s was white & Joan’s was red.
If you Google, “Blowin’ In The Wind May 23, 1976”, you’ll find it.
All at once this song is

a call to end racial injustice
a call to end all wars
a call for the recognition that our lives are temporary; everything that has a beginning, must also have an ending; therefore we should value our life and the lives of others
a call for each of us to stop ignoring the troubles of others; that could be you

Report this

By Don Schneider, October 15, 2011 at 5:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

wow , what a list ! I could add “What’s going on” Buffalo Springfield, or “Fortunate
Son” Creedence Clearwater Revival, or “War Party”  Eddie Grant, “16 tons” Ernie
Ford, Vietnam Country Joe & the Fish,  “Give Peace a chance” John and Yoko, “Get
up Stand Up” Bob Marley (has to be up there towards the top ) But I think the
unedited unabridged complete Woodie Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” will
never be outshone and never be too dated !  Don Schneider an old VVA member

Report this

By T. Sabel, October 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Patti Smith

New Party

You say hey
The state of the union
Is fine fine fine
I got the feeling that you’re lying
Lying lying lying
I think we need
Think we’re gonna need
A new party

They say to me
They say what’s the word
I say it’s thunderbird
I say it’s thunderbird
Why don’t you
Fly fly fly
Fly away hey
And while you’re at it
Why don’t you
Fertilize my lawn
Why don’t you
Fertilize my lawn
With what’s running from your mouth
Running from your mouth
Hey listen here

We got to get off
Our ass or get burned
The world’s troubles
Are a global concern
Does your child have
Fresh water to drink
Wherever you are
Wherever you are you’re invited
To think about this

When in the course
Of human events
It becomes necessary
To take things into your own hands
To take the water from the well
And declare it tainted by greed
We got to surely clean it up
Clean our house
Our inner house
Our outer house
Left right
And hey by the way
The human event
Is the party of the century
And you’re all invited
It’s where you are
Wherever you are
‘Cause this party
Is for everyone
And the price of admission
Is love one another
Love brother

Report this

By AdoAnnie, October 14, 2011 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Showing my age, but with so many to choose from, my first choice might have been Fortunate Son until it was sold out to a blue jean commercial and made to sound exactly opposite from its intent. That said, I always fall back on my earliest and most deeply moving memory of a protest song, Sky Pilot, by Eric Burdon and the Animals.

I know, not something you could sing well in a march, but the thorough hypocrisy of the chaplain who lays on his bed after he has blessed the young pilots off to die deeply affected me, even as a child. And the extended version that begins the pilots battle encounter with the sound of jets then pulls in all manner of war sound and finally the bag pipes, brilliant work for a 60’s band.

Oh, oh no, the Dave Barry Bad Song Syndrome has struck me. Sky Pilot isn’t my earliest memory of protest:

Now I’m blue, Navy Blue
I’m as blue as I can be
Cause my steady boy
Said, “Ship Ahoy!”
And joined the Na-a-avy!

‘62, ‘63? I was in day care and I heard that on the radio all the time. Now I will be hearing it for days running through my head.

Report this
Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, October 14, 2011 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

Most recently “Pink” released “Dear Mr. President” A letter to “W”. Very powerful
song about the inequality of classes and an uncaring President serving the rich at
the expense of the poor.
I had the chance to accompany my Daughter who sang it at a Folk Club Concert
here in NZ which was put on in honor of a few of us Ex-Pat Musicians that live and
perform in these parts. Brought the house down! We all finale’d with This Land was
made for you and me…  Hat’s off to “OWS”! Stay the course Brothers and sister’s!

Report this

By Chris H, October 14, 2011 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival

And honourable mention to Gil Scott Heron for The Revolution Will Not Televised:


The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Rare Monologue)

Report this

By larrypsy, October 14, 2011 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment

“MY WAY”.  The Chairman, Frank Sinatra.

Report this

By Barbara, October 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Leonard Cohen “Democracy is Coming to the USA”

Report this

By Bruce Engle, October 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s not forget “Creepin” by Grand Funk Railroad.

Report this

By Chuck Dineen, October 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dave Van Ronk’s “Luang Prabang”,the ultimate anti-war ditty,is not for the prudish or faint of heart,but speaks the truth.

Report this

By Susan, October 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Wsist deep in the big muddy” - Pete Seeger

Report this

By Bonnie Hughes, October 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Brother Can You Spare A Dime” lyrics by Yip Harburg, music by Jay Gorney (1931)

Report this

By Al Cline, October 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank for this list of tunes. I’ll check them out and probably perform them. Most are new to me but that’s why I read this page. Who wants to play the same songs over and over….

Let’s not forget some others that still apply as easily as they did 40 years ago when the struggle was a little bit different:

The Times are a Changing (Bob Dylan)
When I’m Gone (Phil Ochs)
How Can I keep from Singing (Quaker Traditional)
Cruel War (Traditional by PPM)
How Beautiful Upon the Mountain (Tom Paxton)
Blown Away (Sis Cunningham via Bruce Springsteen)
Do Re Mi (Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl classic)

Thanks for letting me share.  Please keep Singing and remember Bob Dylan’s quote.  “The guitar is more powerful than the atom bomb!”

in Solidarity,
Al C. aka Harmonicacal

Report this

By Scott in SD, October 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“People Let’s Stop the War” off of Grand Funk’s “E Pluribus Funk” has one of the best bass lines ever.

Report this

By Jim Green, October 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was tempted immediately to suggest Blind Alfred Reed’s “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live,” as recorded by Ry Cooder some 40 years ago. Then I thought, geez, the updated version of that song by the Del-Lords is an even better choice. At which point it hit me that the hardest-hitting protest song I know is Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.” But before I could land on that I realized the one I really feel is best is the one Dylan wrote that doesn’t supply any answers or forecasts, because the answer is “Blowin’ in the Wind.” That’s my choice.

Report this

By Susan, October 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One of my favourite songs is by Concrete Blond - Everybody Knows… (everybody knows the game is fixed, everybody knows the good guys lost…)

Report this

By karen lee wald, October 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

With so many really fine songs to choose from, it’s hard to pick just one. But the first one that came to my mind was The Banks Are Made of Marble, which we used to teach the children at Centro Infantil de la Raza and La Escuelita in Oakland when my children were little. I didn’t know where it came from (most people think it’s a Pete Seeger or Weavers song since that how they first heard it) and it was only years later that I learned it had been written by an old lefty named Les Rice. By that time Les had passed on, but I met his wife Nancy (who has since passed, too) living in upstate New York near the Hudson River, when I had gone there to talk about Cuba. I don’t know how the subject of songs for children came up, but Nancy told me excitedly, “Oh, that’s a song my husband wrote!” She dug out some old papers that had his original lyrics. I would choose this one because it’s easy to sing (even for children); and I think Ry Cooder would like re-discovering who first wrote this song. Not to mention how applicable it is with the Occupy Wall Street/99% movement these days.

The Banks Are Made of Marble
(Les Rice)

I’ve traveled ‘round this country.
From shore to shining shore;
It really made me wonder
The things I heard and saw.

cho: But the banks are made of marble,
    With a guard at every door,
    And the vaults are stuffed with silver
    That the worker* sweated for.

I saw the weary farmer,
Plowing sod and loam;
l heard the auction hammer
A-knocking down his home.

l saw the seaman standing
Idly by the shore,
l heard the bosses saying,
“Got no work for you no more.”

I saw the weary miner
Scrubbing coal dust from his back,
I heard his children cryin,’
“Got no coal to heat the shack.”

I’ve seen my brothers working
Throughout this mighty land,
l prayed we’d get together
And together make a stand.

Final Chorus:
    Then we’d own those banks of marble
    With a guard at every door
    And we’d share those vaults of silver
    That we have sweated for!
*change to fit verse
Copyright 1950 by Stormking Music Inc.]

Report this

By Ted Connor, October 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In these times with corporations ruling the roost I’d have to go with Voice of the Voiceless by Rage Against the Machine.

Report this

By DEAVILLE Douglas, October 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Go to UTube, Austin Lounge Lizards, and play “Too Big to Fail”.  Gets my vote.

Report this

By Shoes4Industry, October 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Get Up, Stand Up”. Bob Marley, hands down.

Report this
brewerstroupe's avatar

By brewerstroupe, October 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

A little out of left field perhaps but I have found one of the most moving anti-war songs to be Mark Knopfler’s “Done with Bonaparte”.

The merry Celtic pipe weaves counterpoint to the scene of desolation Knopfler paints - starving soldiers huddled in the snow on the retreat from Moscow and concluding with the universal plaint:

I pray for her who prays for me
A safe return to my belle France
We prayed these wars would end all wars
In war we know is no romance
And I pray our child will never see
A little Corporal again
Point toward a foreign shore
Captivate the hearts of men

Save my soul from evil, Lord
And heal this soldier’s heart
I’ll trust in thee to keep me, Lord
I’m done with Bonaparte

Live version, unfortunately sans pipe

If I may be permitted a second choice just to acquaint those Americans who have never been down under or heard of Eric Bogle:
The Band played Waltzing Matilda
(sung by the Clancy Brothers)

Report this

By Dave Gosser, October 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Phil Ochs “I ain’t marching anymore” was an anthem of
the anti(vietnam)war movemement”  so much so that in
Chicago people were inspired to burn their draft cards
after Ochs sang it.” 

“Call it peace or call it reason, call it love or call
it treason, but I ain’t marching anymore”

Report this

By Ian, October 13, 2011 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Written during the Bush years, James McMurtry’s “We Can’t Make It Here Anymore” still rings as true today—unfortunately.

Report this

By James Barnes, October 13, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Bells of Rhymney, written by Pete Seeger. “They will plunder willy-nilly say the bells of Caerphilly. They have fangs, they have teeth, say the loud bells of Neath.”

My favorite version is by Brown and Dana (ca. 1963-64). Hard to locate, but it can be found on Garrett Brown’s website. It was also recorded by Seeger, Judy Collins and (I believe) The Doors among others.


Report this

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >

Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook