Conor Oberst, aka Bright Eyes, is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore. Maybe he wouldn’t put it that way, but he certainly wrote a searing song in 2005. It’s just him, an acoustic guitar and easily understandable rage.
Marvin Gaye met with resistance when he wanted to record this song. He eventually was able to, and it became a hit.
Smooth soul delivered a message…
“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.”
Joni Mitchell’s 1970’s era protest song became well known among environmentalists, deservedly so.
It’s got a killer hook and subversive lyrics.
Bruce Cockburn is quoted about his “protest songs” on a site that collects his thoughts.
“Rocket Launcher” has been stuck in my head for years.
He comments on his music that has been labeled as “protest:” “I don’t see it as selling messages, particularly. After the fact. yeah. ‘Rocket Launcher’ is about the situation in Guatemala and my feelings about the refugee camps; the song Nicaragua is about Nicaragua. When you sing it, it becomes a message because it’s being sung to people. But it didn’t start out as a propaganda piece or anything.
— from “The Social Commentaries of Bruce Cockburn” by J.D. Considine, Sun Pop Music Critic, Baltimore Sun, March 18, 1988.
Cockburn further comments on the site.
“Putting an issue in a song invites whoever hears the song to consider that issue, but it doesn’t hit them over the head. They can turn off the song if they don’t want to hear about it, or they can just listen to the music. But if they want to hear it, it may inform some people, and it may provide a rallying point for others.”
— from “Sun Shines on Cockburn’s Breakfast”, Vancouver Courier, February 9, 2000, by Jennifer Van Evra. Submitted by Audrey Pearson.
I guess it depends on the textbook, or which primary readings the teacher picks…
This little ditty by Tom Paxton builds to a one of the conclusions, I guess
This song by Edwin Starr needs very little introduction, since it was a big hit during the Vietnam conflict. “War” was one of the first Motown singles with a political statement, I’m told.
It still carries a punch, today.