Friday, October 05, 2007

Weekend Listomania (Special Agitprop Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are heading to the Left Coast, where we will be spending the weekend at the palatial, yet tastefully appointed, estate of my dear friend David Horowitz as we prepare for for his upcoming Islamofascism Awareness Week.

This will mostly entail engaging various diaper services for when we all pee our pants in fear over the scary brown people lurking under our beds. So posting by moi will necessarily be sporadic for a bit.

In the meantime, here's another little project for you folks:

Best Pop/Rock Protest Song!!!!!!
[Mostly anti-war, but other grievances welcome. Folkies with acoustic guitars need not apply, unless I say so.]

My carefully considered (if not always totally serious) Top 11:

11. Rage Against the Machine -- Killing in the Name

10. The Specials -- Ghost Town

9. Bruce Springsteen -- Last to Die

8. Tom Robinson Band -- Glad to Be Gay

7. Bruce Springsteen -- American Skin

6. Mothers of Invention -- Trouble Comin' Every Day

5. Beastie Boys -- (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)

4. Edwin Starr -- War

3. Barry McGuire -- Eve of Destruction [I didn't much care for this at the time -- I still think it's a basically bogus song -- but in the mid 80s there was a ferocious cover version by Red Rockers that won me over. No vid of that, alas.]

2. The Searchers -- What Have They Done to the Rain?

and last but not choice for best rock protest song is....

A tie!!!!


1. Bruce Cockburn -- If I Had a Rocket Launcher

and Elvis Costello (natch) -- What's So Funny Bout Peace Love and Understanding!

Your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Freda Payne -

"Bring the Boys Home."

- Roadmaster

steve simels said...

"Bring the Boys Home."

Good call, my friend....

Anonymous said...

Aside from the Elvis Costello (one of my all-time faves), some classic ones are:

"Fixin' to Die Rag" (CJ and the F)
"Masters of War" and "Blowin' in the Wind" (Duh!)
"Ohio" (CSN&Y)
"For What It's Worth" (BS)
"Won't Get Fooled Again" (Who)
"Life During Wartime" (TH)
"Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud" (JB)

and in its own way,

"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (Band)

And does "All We are Saying is Give Peace a Chance" count as a song?

Now I'm gonna give sleep a chance ...

Mister Pleasant said...

"Pills and Soap"
"Peace in Our Time"
"Oliver's Army" (can you say Blackhawk?)
-- Elvis Costello and the Attractions

"Ohio" -- CSN&Y

"Sweet Cherry Wine" -- Tommy James and the Shondells (way underappreciated Vietnam protest song)

"We Can Be Together" -- Jefferson Airplane

Anonymous said...

War and other assorted protest songs...

Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran

Too Much Monkey Business - Chuck Berry

The Call Up - The Clash

Machine Gun - Jimi Hendrix

War Pigs - Black Sabbath

War - Edwin Starr

Seeds - Bruce Springsteen

War Of Man - Neil Young

Anonymous said...

Oooh, MANY:
"Shipbuilding" - EC/Robert Wyatt (Think I prefer Wyatt's version, but EC's has one of Chet Baker's last solos, so tough call.)
"Biko" - Peter Gabriel
"Know Your Rights" - The Clash
"Christmas in Washington" - Steve Earle
"Sam Stone" - John Prine
"Singin' in Vietnam Talkin' Blues" - Johnny Cash
"Irma Jackson" - Merle Haggard (Interracial love song that was WAAY ahead of its time...)
"Youth Against Fascism" - Sonic Youth
"The New World " - X
"Bonzo Goes To Bitburg" - Ramones
"Rockin' in the Free World" - Neil Young
"Here's To The State of Richard Nixon" - Phil Ochs
"Plenty Tough & Union Made" - Waco Brothers
"Volunteers" - Airplane
Plus a whole bunch of relevant reggae that I'm too lazy to look up right now. - Bill Buckner

Isaac said...

If "Fight for your right (to party)" gets on, then #1 should be "Fight the power" by Public Enemy.

mcpart said...

There's a serious lack of The Clash on this list!


"White Riot"

"Washington Bullets"

"The Call-Up"

"Remote Control"

"Tommy Gun"

and, although it's a protest song with a small p, "White Man in Hammersmith Palais" has the best line:

All over people are changing their votes
Along with their overcoats
If Adolph Hitler flew in today
They'd send a limousine anyway

steve simels said...

I knew I should have had the Clash in there.

What was I thinking?

VforVirginia said...

I like the Bruce Springsteen version of "Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep" from the Seeger Sessions (that song is about rebellion!);
"One Man, One Vote" by Johnny Clegg and Savuka;
"The River Opens for the Righteous," written by Little Steven but I only know the Jackson Browne version.

And everything Brooklyn Girl said :)

refinnej said...

I kind of like "American Idiot" by Green Day :)

TMink said...

Great suggestions all down the line.

While it is in a slightly different vein, "Free Nelson Mandela" fits in spirit I think. And "Rock the Casbah" in a twisted way does too.

"Fight The Youth" and "Party at Ground Zero" by Fishbone. And everything Bad Brains did sounded like agitprop. I think they could have done "One After 909" and made it sound like a protest song.

Did anyone mention "Revoloution?"

Lots of great tune to choose from.


Anonymous said...

In terms of songs that were hits and a lot of people actually heard, I would have to say Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On."

Cleveland Bob said...

Wow. Tons of great selections up there folks. It's all Declan all the time! And let's keep in mind that Mr. Nick Lowe a couple of these greats.

Brain's a bit soggy this a.m. so I've got but a few.

Redemption Song--Bob Marley
Revolution--The Beatles
A New England--Billy Bragg
Country At War--X
Generals And Majors--XTC
Biko--Peter Gabriel

shrimplate said...

Billy Bragg.

Also: "L'Homme Arme."

L'homme, l'homme, l'homme armé,
L'homme armé
L'homme armé doibt on doubter, doibt on doubter.
On a fait partout crier,
Que chascun se viengne armer
D'un haubregon de fer.

The man, the man, the armed man,
The armed man
The armed man should be feared, should be feared.
Everywhere it has been proclaimed
That each man shall arm himself
With a coat of iron mail.

For about a hundred years during the Renaissance this was the most popular song in Europe. There are dozens and dozens of Catholic mass settings that weave this song into the musical texture, many written by the most famous composers of that time.

Anonymous said...

"Fortunate Son," anybody?

Anonymous said...

"Sunday, Bloody Sunday" and "Bullet the Blue Sky" by U2

"Truth Won't Fade Away" by Procol Harum (from the little-known "Prodical Stranger")

"Street Fighting Man" by the Stones

Feral said...

"Imagine" - John Lennon
"Wooden Ships" - CSN&Y
"Where Have All the Flowers Gone" - Peter Paul & Mary
"Alabama" & "Southern Man" - Neil Young
"The Grave" - Don McLean
"Strange Fruit" - Billie Holliday

Anonymous said...

Okay, y'all got most of my top thirteen or so, here's some of what i had left from my stuff:

We Will Rock You - Queen
Black Girls - Violent Femmes
99 Luft Balloons -Nena (stop it!)
Brothers in Arms- Dire Straits
Legalize It - Bob Marley
Not Ready to Make Nice- Dixie Chicks

Is Zappa's "Stinkfoot" a protest song? I think so!

The Kenosha Kid said...

Institutionalized - Suicidal Tendencies (fall under the category of "other grievances" I think)

Ballad of a Thin Man - Bob

A few from The Minutemen:
Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing
Joe McCarthy's Ghost
This Aint no Picnic
The Big Stick

Politics of Greed & Pain - Billy Childish & The Blackhands

TV Party - Black Flag

Not Great Men - Gang of Four (or their entire body of work, really)

Down in the Tube Station at Midnight - The Jam

Model Worker - Magazine

Just a Girl - No Doubt (unrecognized as the great feminist anthem it is)

You Don't Own Me - Leslie Gore (ditto)

Piss Factory - Patti Smith

Religion - Public Image Limited (both parts)

Panic - The Smiths

The Day I Tried to Live - Soundgarden

Making Plans for Nigel - XTC

The Kenosha Kid said...

Some video links to my songs:

Suicidal Tendencies - Institutionalized

Leslie Gore - You Don't Own Me

The Minutemen - Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing (bad quality, but it's fun watching D. Boon mess up the words

The Minutemen - Joe McCarthy's Ghost

Magazine - Model Worker

Anonymous said...

"White Punks on Dope" - The Tubes
"Legend of a Mind" - Moody Blues
"Real Men" - Joe Jackson*
"Beautiful World" - DEVO
"A Gallon of Gas" - Kinks
"Coke Light Ice" - The Coolies
"Save the Planet" - Edgar Winter's White Trash

* not that there's anything wrong with that

Anonymous said...

BTW, don't forget The Dickies cover of "Eve of Destruction."

MBowen said...

James McMurtry - We Can't Make It Here

Yeah, they do write 'em like they used to.

Anonymous said...

"Percy's Song" (Fairport Convention)

Most anything from That Was The Year That Was (Tom Lehrer)

Anonymous said...

James McMurtry - We Can't Make It Here

Yes! And in the same vein: "Putting People On The Moon" - Drive-By Truckers - Buckner (again...)

steve simels said...

Anonymous said...
"Percy's Song" (Fairport Convention)

That was gonna be my first choice if there was a video. Which there isn't.

Seriously -- I think that's the best protest(?) thing of its kind ever. Brilliant, poetic, haunting, a great short story, just perfect.

Plus, the way Dylan sings it....

steve simels said...

Not Ready to Make Nice- Dixie Chicks

Somebody want to tell me why I forgot that?


steve simels said...

Kudos to those who nodded Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me."

Obviously, the first great feminist anthem, and given Gore's personal life, a very brave record for when it was made.

Anonymous said...

CCR-Fortunate Son
Marvin Gaye-What's Goin On
Public Enemy-Fight The Power
Laura Nyro-Save The Country
Bob Marley-Redemption Song
Johnny Cash-Man in Black
Steve Earle-Over Yonder(anti death penalty song) and Copperhead Road(just general rebelliousness)
Buffalo Springfield-For What It's Worth
Masters of War(I'll take the Staple Singers version)
Compared to What(Les McCann/Eddie Harris),
Get Up, Stand Up(Peter Tosh),
The Rascals-People Got To Be Free,
Cat Stevens-Peace Train.
And last but definitely not least, Michael Franti-Bomb The World.
I'll probably think of more in 5 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Eric Bogle's 'The Green Fields of France', a.k.a. 'No Man's Land'. The single best anti-waar song I've ever heard.

Dylan's 'A Hard Rain's A'Gonna Fall'. The best cover I ever heard of this song, and one of the best performances i've ever heard of any song anywhere, anytime, was by Pete Seeger, of all people.


Anonymous said...

First ones that popped into my head:

The Temptations - Ball of Confusion
Marvin Gaye - Mercy, Mercy Me
Freda Payne (again) - Band of Gold
Bob Dylan - Maggie's Farm
Edwin Starr - War
John Lennon - Give Peace a Chance
Gil Scott Heron - Johannesburg
(ibid) - The Revolution Will Not be Televised

Anonymous said...

"2 minutes to Midnight" - Iron Maiden
"Peace Sells But Who's Buyin?" - Megadeth
"Symphony of Destruction" - Megadeth
"It's a Mistake" - Men at Work
"Stand or Fall" - The Fixx
"Driven Out" - The Fixx

Honorable Mention: "Russians" by Sting

The James Dean award for protest music has to go to Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55", which really captured the angst and exasperation of a downtrodden generation and gave voice to the Common Man.

steve simels said...

Ripley said...

The James Dean award for protest music has to go to Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55", which really captured the angst and exasperation of a downtrodden generation and gave voice to the Common Man

I love you.

Anonymous said...


"Sun City!"

TMink said...


I did not mention the Minutemen! I am so ashamed.


Anonymous said...

Plastic Factory - Capt Beefheart and His Magic Band

Anonymous said...

For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield didn't even make the list?