ONTD Political

New Statesman's Top 20 Political Songs

10:58 pm - 03/28/2010
(Yes, this is an article about music. But seeing as we're all politics fans here, and a lot of us are also huge music fans, I figure this could lead to some really fascinating conversation and debate.)

Source: http://www.newstatesman.com/music/2010/03/top-20-political-songs

The 20 songs below were voted for by New Statesman readers and members of the Politcal Studies Association.

The list, published in this week's magazine, features spoken word, punk nihilism and folk protest. To listen to the songs, together with a commentary by Jonathan Derbyshire and Professor John Street, go to newstatesman.com/podcasts.

Meanwhile, we take you through the top 20 political songs, looking at the ideas that gave rise to them and the reasons for their success. Please feel free to comment on our inclusions, and to point to anything or any songs that we might have missed.

1. Woody Guthrie - This Land Is Your Land
2. The Special AKA - Free Nelson Mandela
3. Bob Dylan - The Times They are a-Changin'
4. Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit
5. Claude de Lisle - La Marseillaise
6. U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday
7. Eugene Pottier - The Internationale
8. Robert Wyatt/Elvis Costello - Shipbuilding
9. Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen
10. William Blake - Jerusalem
11. The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
12. Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name
13. Tracy Chapman - Talkin' 'bout a Revolution
14. Nina Simone - Mississippi Goddam
15. Marvin Gaye - What's Going On?
16. Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
17. Bob Marley - Redemption Song
18. John Lennon - Imagine
19. Pete Seeger - Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
20. Tom Robinson - Glad to Be Gay

My personal top five political songs:

1. "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag" by Country Joe and the Fish
2. "Rockin' in the Free World" by Neil Young (But pretty much the majority of Neil Young's catalog, honestly).
3. "Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire
4. "White Riot" by The Clash
5. "American Jesus" by Bad Religion

What does your personal list look like, ontd_p?
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klutzy_girl 29th-Mar-2010 03:04 am (UTC)
This is pretty interesting.

I love "Rockin' in The Free World". (Also love most of Neil Young's songs.)
- Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

I can't think of anything else right now, though.
sentinelsoul 29th-Mar-2010 06:09 am (UTC)
Agreed with both. It never failed to amuse (and confuse) me when they used "Fortunate Son" to sell jeans, and make it look all patriotic. Way to miss the point by a couple of miles.
kerrence 29th-Mar-2010 03:06 am (UTC)
the fact that people think "This Land is Your Land" is some sort of patriotic mantra never ceases to make me laugh my ass off

right now, aside from "American Jesus," Pennywise's "Society" is getting some heavy play on my list.
squid_ink 29th-Mar-2010 03:09 am (UTC)
the fact that people think "This Land is Your Land" is some sort of patriotic mantra

OMG the nuns in our grammar school taught us the 'missing verse' and we sang it in assembly (it was 2nd? 3rd grade?)

you should have seen the jaws dropping in the audience

too funny
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_meathook 29th-Mar-2010 03:23 am (UTC)
Phil Ochs has wayyy too many great political songs to list, but Draft Dodger Rag has always been my favorite.
squid_ink 29th-Mar-2010 03:08 am (UTC)
You Haven't Done Nothin, Stevie Wonder

it came out during the time of the Watergate Scandal

brilliant stuff, he's a great songwriter

lavenderfrost 29th-Mar-2010 03:14 am (UTC)
Ooh! Ooh! Don't forget Living For The City! :D
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girlthatyoufear 29th-Mar-2010 03:08 am (UTC)
I like that "Strange Fruit" is on this list. The song sounds so beautiful yet haunting.

Currently, my personal list consists of "American Terrorist" by Lupe Fiasco, "Brothaz" by Mr. Lif, "20 Dollar" by M.I.A., and "Pal Norte" by Calle 13. Basically, a lot of hip hop or hip hop inspired music.
girlthatyoufear 29th-Mar-2010 03:12 am (UTC)
Oh, and "Strange Ways" by Madvillain.



*feels bad for leaving it out*
scullies 29th-Mar-2010 03:09 am (UTC)
Where is the hip-hop?!
girlthatyoufear 29th-Mar-2010 03:10 am (UTC)
IKR? Not talking about political hip hop songs in a list of political songs is like not including peanut butter and jelly in a list of sandwiches.
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sitakhet 29th-Mar-2010 03:09 am (UTC)
Lonely Soldier - Damien Rice
squid_ink 29th-Mar-2010 03:10 am (UTC)
WHATS GOIN' ON
squid_ink 29th-Mar-2010 03:11 am (UTC)
oops its on there

great song
thelilyqueen 29th-Mar-2010 03:11 am (UTC)
I see No Doubt's 'Just A Girl' as having something of a political message, even if it's framed in a more personal way than in the songs listed.
randomneses 29th-Mar-2010 03:35 am (UTC)
Lolz yes, it was before her I WANT A BABY OH GOD MARRIAGE AHHH SOCIETAL EXPECTATIONS phase in Return of Saturn...which I still loved but yeah XP
devil_ad_vocate 29th-Mar-2010 03:12 am (UTC)


Number one...
popehippo 29th-Mar-2010 03:13 am (UTC)
9. Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen

As a roommate of someone with a vehement anti-monarchy belief, if this song dropped out of existence in this reality, I would not mourn it. @-@

Um, favorite political songs? Fuck You by Lily Allen? XD
myniamh 29th-Mar-2010 06:05 am (UTC)
I was just about to add Fuck You. I love it's jaunty little tune. :)
stylistixs kevin devine love29th-Mar-2010 03:13 am (UTC)
another bag of bones - kevin devine
brothers/demo 3 - brand new
no time flat - kevin devine
this burning city smoking - kevin devine
ballgame - kevin devine
tinypianos Re: kevin devine love29th-Mar-2010 03:27 am (UTC)
omg yes yes yes.
potatoboat 29th-Mar-2010 03:17 am (UTC)
Erykah Badu's "Twinkle" is probably one of my favorite contemporary political songs. and Tori Amos' "Father's Son"
birdscollide 29th-Mar-2010 03:20 am (UTC)
OMG the end of Twinkle (the homage to "Network" always freaks me the fuck out when I'm alone.
lavenderfrost 29th-Mar-2010 03:20 am (UTC)
The Temptations - Ball of Confusion
The Clash - Rock The Casbah
ANYTHING by Rage Against The Machine
CCR - Fortunate Son
Melissa Etheridge - Kingdom Of Heaven
F.C.C. Song - Eric Idle
Homophobia - Chumbawumba
Keep Your Jesus Off My Penis - Eric Schwartz
Bloodletting - Saul Williams
September 12th (Not In My Name) - Saul Williams
Spearhead - Bomb The World
Public Enemy - Son of a Bush
Eric Schwartz - Clinton Got A Blowjob
sterling_sky 29th-Mar-2010 03:38 am (UTC)
I was JUST gonna list Kingdom of Heaven because I hadn't seen it yet. Although most of The Awakening, really, could qualify. :D
squid_ink 29th-Mar-2010 03:20 am (UTC)
Sandinista!

washington bullets again

/never gets old, sadly :(
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