Finally, after months of smearing political adds and public disapproval, it’s November 2nd. All we have to do it get through this one crazy day of elections, complete with multi-network broadcasts, bar graphs and tons of
pundits and maybe we can hope for 2 years of peace and quiet. In order to gain the aforementioned peace and quiet, here are 10 great songs that ‘give peace a chance’.
I Ain’t Marching Anymore – Phil Ochs (1965)
A stark protest against war, the fearless Phil Ochs took Dylan’s game and went pro. Attacking corporate America, foolish patriotism, racial segregation, and even (surprisingly) liberalism, Phil Ochs was one of the most prominent, if not abrasive protesters of the 1960′s. Phil Ochs protested, even in death, when he hung himself in 1976.
Clampdown – The Clash (1979)
Rebelling against fascist capitalism, The Clash compare the “blue and brown” suits of upper-middle-class white collar drones to the historical Nazi uniforms. Full of brassy contempt almost as much as the Clash themselves, this song ushered in the beginning of the early punk protest movement of the 1980′s.
World Wide Suicide – Pearl Jam (2006)
At a time in American history where it was almost expected, if not encouraged, to knock on Bush’s Iraqi War, Eddie Vedder recorded this raging critique of the situation. The spunky brand of Pearl Jam‘s 3-and-a half-minute proclamations served as a perfect medium for a powerful message; delightfully powerful to the underground legions of Pearl Jam fans.
Maggie’s Farm – Bob Dylan (1965)
Recognized as the original, generation-defining protest singer, Bob Dylan sang us decades worth of tongue-in-cheek folk tunes that rallied as much as they reveled. Played during the infamous performance at the Newport Folk Festival where Dylan went electric (a protest in it’s own right), ‘Maggie’s Farm’ stands as Dylan’s self-independent protest song as he heaved himself away from his own foundation in folk music.
Boom! – System of a Down (2002)
A hyper-angry rebellion against the overwhelming contradiction between the starvation of children while a country spends billions on military technology. Any number of songs from System of a Down could have made this list, but Boom! is particularly powerful in its spoken-word damnation, its reference to Noam Choskey and it’s music video direction by Michael Moore.
Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)
One of the most covered protest songs of all time, CCR’s hallmark anthem is a delightfully sardonic commentary on the draft, war in general, and especially the hypocrisy of elected officials. The song echoes the swirling emotions of a young man being drafted, and based on it’s particular ties to the Vietnam War, this is one of the quintessential protests of the generation.
Ohio – Crosby Stills Nash and Young (1970)
Few stories are as rallying as the Kent State shootings in 1970. Capturing the essence of the massacre, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recorded this anthem that was banned from many AM stations because of the attribution to Nixon and his administration. Receiving airplay on illegal ,underground FM stations, the song spoke to an entire generation and propelled CSNY into major players in the protest counterculture.
Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2 (1983)
One of their most covered and iconic songs, U2‘s Sunday Bloody Sunday tells the story of the shock and horror felt by a witness to The Troubles in Ireland, mainly focusing on the incident in Derry where British troops killed civil rights marchers, known as Bloody Sunday. Known for their humanitarian philanthropy, U2′s identity and purpose can be wrapped up in this one, single song.
Imagine – John Lennon (1971)
In Geoffrey Giuliano’s book, Lennon in America, John Lennon commented that Imagine was an “anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic [song], but because it’s sugar-coated, it’s accepted.” Although written at the apex of the cold war, and with the Vietnam War still raging, we won’t hold it against John that the inspiration for the song was a poem written by Yoko Ono.
Star Spangled Banner – Jimi Hendrix (1969)
During the final set of the iconic Woodstock music festival, Jimi Hendrix let loose with an electric, mangled rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. It’s been called everything from one of the most important political rock statement of the 1960s, to an abrasive afterthought to one of Hendrix’s worst performances – all but a piddly 10% of the festival’s 400,000 attendees stuck around for his Monday morning set.