Turn! Turn! Turn! There’s a Time to Protest

1.7 marvin gaye
Marvin Gaye

When I was a runner as a healthy young man, I was taught to run against the traffic when doing my roadwork. It was a matter of safety. The only problem is that I seem to have been literally doing that all my life when it comes to my life’s philosophy. And, I totally understand that my appearance from afar is that my philosophy is totally hypocritical. To many, I seem to be aloof, but it is probably due to me being on the autism spectrum somewhere. No, I have never been diagnosed, but I do have trouble with my emotive nature that keeps me at an arms-length from others. Yet, most of my personal political and spiritual philosophy has been always geared toward others in a very sincere altruistic manner. And, although I am extremely competitive, I am also a pacifist and mostly a conscientious objector. And, how did this happen in the middle of a family full of military conservatives. I’m not sure, but my heart is much bigger than my personality seems to be.

1.7 john-lennon
John Lennon

From a very young age, I felt an attraction to the music of so-called protesters like Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Nina Simone and the Staple Singers. Their music and lyrics appealed to me much like Matthew 25:31-46 convicted me during my confirmation classes. People such as Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Muhammad Ali, Jesse Owens, among many others, became important public role models for my life. Then came the music of John Lennon, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and the rest to influence me. Growing up, I watched and followed sports avidly and saw people of all colors working together for success. But, perhaps most importantly, my maternal grandmother seemed to have all kinds of people from all backgrounds and nationalities coming to her home when I was little. So, it was no big deal for me to play with kids from different classes and races. Grandma simply told me that everyone were people, so treat them all with respect.

1.7 bob-marley
Bob Marley

To me, music and sports may have been the most important areas which have done the most to alleviate racial tensions, though we still have far to go. In my small world, I feel like I had the most influence on those marginalized kids, be it there race, creed, sexual orientation, class or whatever. Yes, I know there were differences between us, but I had an empathetic heart and tried to use it. Did it work every time? No. However, I did try to bridge that gap with the kids. But, much as Johnny Cash used to say, I saw my own flaws in myself first and tried to be cognizant of them when dealing with others.

1.7 Sex Pistols
Sex Pistols

So, I’m very passionate about protest music, whether it’s a social observation, an anti-war statement or an environmental plea. Yes, I am a cynical person, yet I still hope for better. But when I watch a social injustice occurring, I need to speak out. Right now I feel as though we are moving backward in time here in the States. Remember, I am a huge sinner in all areas of my life, but that does not mean our society is without blame. What’s going on?!?!

1.7 nina simone
Nina Simone

So, today, I am presenting my favorite 100 protest songs since the late-Seventies. And, just for fun, I tried to stay away from the obvious choices, though I will always list Elvis Costello’s version of “(What’s So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” since it was the first song of my generation to move me to tears. It remains my “Imagine.”

1.7 gil scott heron
Gil Scott-Heron
  1. “(What’s So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” – Elvis Costello & the Attractions (1979)
  2. “19” – Paul Hardcastle (1985)
  3. “1999” – Prince (1982)
  4. “21 Guns” – Green Day (2009)
  5. “4 Minute Warning” – Radiohead (2007)
  6. “99 Luftballons” – Nena (1983)
  7. “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” – Don Henley (1984)
  8. “American Idiot” – Green Day (2004)
  9. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” – Pink Floyd (1979)
  10. “Ask” – The Smiths (1986)
  11. “Bastards of Young” – The Replacements (1985)
  12. “Beds Are Burning” – Midnight Oil (1988)
  13. “Between the Wars” – Billy Bragg (1985)
  14. “Biko” – Peter Gabriel (1980)
  15. “Black Steel in the House of Chaos” – Public Enemy (1989)
  16. “Blackened” – Metallica (1988)
  17. “Blue Sky Mining” – Midnight Oil (1990)
  18. “BOB” – Outkast (2000)
  19. “Born in the U.S.A.” – Bruce Springsteen (1984)
  20. “Bullet the Blue Sky” – U2 (1987)
  21. “BYOB” – System of a Down (2005)
  22. “Civil War” – Guns N’ Roses (1991)
  23. “Dear Mr. President” – P!nk (2007)
  24. “Der Kommissar” – After the Fire (1983)
  25. “Don’t Change” – INXS (1982)
  26. “Dropping Bombs on the White House” – The Style Council (1984)
  27. “Enola Gay” – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (1980)
  28. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – Tear for Fears (1985)
  29. “Exhuming McCarthy” – R.E.M. (1987)
  30. “Fall on Me” – R.E.M. (1986)
  31. “Fight the Power” – Public Enemy (1989)
  32. “For America” – Jackson Browne (1986)
  33. “Free Nelson Mandela” – The Special AKA (1984)
  34. “Fuck Tha Police” – N.W.A (1988)
  35. “Games Without Frontiers” – Peter Gabriel (1980)
  36. “Ghost Town” – The Specials (1981)
  37. “Glad to Be Gay” – Tom Robinson Band (1978)
  38. “Going Underground” – The Jam (1980)
  39. “Goodnight Saigon” – Billy Joel (1982)
  40. “Hammer to Fall” – Queen (1984)
  41. “Holiday in Cambodia” – Dead Kennedys (1980)
  42. “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” – Megadeth (1990)
  43. “Home Front” – Drive-By Truckers (2008)
  44. “I Melt with You” – Modern English (1982)
  45. “Idioteque” – Radiohead (2000)
  46. “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next” – Manic Street Preachers (1998)
  47. “Invisible Sun” – The Police (1981)
  48. “Iron Sky” – Paolo Nutini (2014)
  49. “It’s a Mistake” – Men at Work (1983)
  50. “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” – R.E.M. (1987)
  51. “Ivan Meets G.I. Joe” – The Clash (1980)
  52. “Joe McCarthy’s Ghost” – Minutemen (1984)
  53. “Killing in the Name” – Rage Against the Machine (1992)
  54. “Land of Confusion” – Genesis (1986)
  55. “Land of the Free” – The Killers (2017)
  56. “Let’s Impeach the President” – Neil Young (2006)
  57. “Monkey Gone to Heaven” – Pixies (1989)
  58. “My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)” – Ramones (1986)
  59. “My Ever Changing Mood” – The Style Council (1984)
  60. “New Year’s Day” – U2 (1983)
  61. “Nina Cried Power” – Holzier & Mavis Staples (2018)
  62. “No One Would Riot for Less” – Bright Eyes (2007)
  63. “Oh Bondage, Up Yours” – X-Ray Spex (1978)
  64. “Oliver’s Army” – Elvis Costello & the Attractions (1979)
  65. “One” – Metallica (1988)
  66. “Orange Crush” – R.E.M. (1988)
  67. “Panic” – The Smiths (1986)
  68. “Paper Planes” – M.I.A. (2008)
  69. “Psycho” – Muse (2015)
  70. “Red Skies” – The Fixx (1982)
  71. “Right Here, Right Now” – Jesus Jones (1990)
  72. “Rock the Casbah” – The Clash (1982)
  73. “Ronnie, Talk to Russia” – Prince (1981)
  74. “Russians” – Sting (1985)
  75. “Seconds” – U2 (1983)
  76. “Shipbuilding” – Elvis Costello & the Attractions (1983)
  77. “Showdown at Big Sky” – Robbie Robertson (1987)
  78. “Something to Believe In” – Poison (1990)
  79. “Song for the Dead” – Randy Newman (1983)
  80. “Straight to Hell” – The Clash (1982)
  81. “Sun City” – Artists United Against Apartheid (1985)
  82. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” – U2 (1983)
  83. “The Call Up” – The Clash (1980)
  84. “The Eton Rifles” – The Jam (1979)
  85. “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” – Timbuk3 (1986)
  86. “The Message” – Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five (1982)
  87. “The Walls Came Down” – The Call (1983)
  88. “The Way It Is” – Bruce Hornsby & the Range (1986)
  89. “Travelin’ Soldier” – Dixie Chicks (2002)
  90. “Two Tribes” – Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984)
  91. “Under Pressure” – Queen & David Bowie (1981)
  92. “Viet Nam” – Minutemen (1984)
  93. “Waiting on the World to Change” – John Mayer (2006)
  94. “Walls Come Tumbling Down” – The Style Council (1985)
  95. “When the President Talks to God” – Bright Eyes (2005)
  96. “Where Is the Love?” – The Black Eyed Peas featuring Justin Timberlake (2003)
  97. “Wind of Change” – Scorpions (1990)
  98. “World Leader Pretend” – R.E.M. (1988)
  99. “Yellow Ledbetter” – Pearl Jam (1992)
  100. “Zombie” – The Cranberries (1993)

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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