New at Elmore

Poignant Songs of Protest

Student-protests-006Right now, the problem of the government shutdown has people across the nation in disarray. Many people aren’t the happiest with our politicians or the state of the country (or world, for that matter) right now, but hey, our country has a complicated history. Some people take to the blogs while others take to the streets in protest, and then, of course, there are the musicians, who have a history of speaking out in the best way they know how—through music. From the Vietnam War to the Iraq War to the country’s economic woes and social ills, musicians have covered it all, and here are our favorite hard-hitting songs of protest.


“Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Some folks are born made to wave the flag

Ooh, they’re red, white and blue

And when the band plays ‘Hail to the Chief’

Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord”


“Anarchy in the U.K.” by Sex Pistols

“I wanna be anarchy

In the city, the only way to be”

“War” by Bob Marley and the Wailers

“Until the basic human rights

Are equally guaranteed to all

Without regard to race

This a war”

“Clampdown” by the Clash

“In these days of evil presidents

Working for the clampdown

But lately one or two has fully paid their due

For working for the clampdown”

“A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

“It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die

ʼCause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky

It’s been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will”

“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye

“Picket lines and picket signs

Don’t punish me with brutality

Talk to me so you can see

Oh, what’s going on?”

 “Kill the Poor” by Dead Kennedys

“No more welfare tax to pay

Unsightly slums gone up in flashing light

Jobless millions whisked away

At last we have more room to play

All systems go to kill the poor tonight”

“Mississippi Goddam” by Nina Simone

“Alabama’s gotten me so upset

Tennessee made me lose my rest

And everybody knows about Mississippi goddam”

“Ohio” by Crosby, Stills and Nash

“Tin soldiers and Nixon’s coming

We’re finally on our own

This summer I hear the drumming

Four dead in Ohio”

“Get Up, Stand Up” by Bob Marley

“Get up, stand up! Stand up for your rights!”

“Revolution” by the Beatles

“You say you want a revolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world”

“Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday

“Southern trees bear a strange fruit

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root

Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees”

“Street Fighting Man” by the Rolling Stones

“What can a poor boy do

Except to sing for a rock ‘n’ roll band

ʼCause in sleepy London town

There’s no place for a street fighting man”

“How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live” by Blind Alfred Reed

“There’s bodies floatin’ on Canal Street, and the levees gone to hell

Martha, get me my 16-gauge and some dry shells

Them who’s got out of town

And them who ain’t got left to drown”

“Power to the People” by John Lennon

“You saw we want a revolution

We better get on right away

Well, you get on your feet

And enter the street”

“Trouble Every Day” by Frank Zappa

“Been checkin’ out the news

Until my eyeballs fail to see

I mean to say that every day

Is just another rotten mess”

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by Gil Scott-Heron

“There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down

Brothers on the instant replay”

“Student Demonstration Time” by Beach Boys

“I know we’re all fed up with useless wars and racial strife

But next time there’s a riot, well, you best stay out of sight”

“Born in the U.S.A” by Bruce Springsteen

“Got in a little hometown jam

So they put a rifle in my hand

Sent me off to a foreign land

To go and kill the yellow man”

“Dog Eat Dog” by Joni Mitchell

“On primetime crime, the victim begs

Money is the road to justice

And power walks it on crooked legs”

“My Brain is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)” by the Ramones

“Better call, call the law

When you gonna turn yourself in? Yeah

You’re a politician

Don’t become one of Hitler’s children”

“The Day After Tomorrow” by Tom Waits

“They fill us full of lies

Everyone buys

About what it means to be a soldier

I still don’t know how I’m supposed to feel

About all the blood that’s been spilled”

“When the President Talks to God” by Bright Eyes

“When the president talks to God

Are the consonants all hard or soft?

Is he resolute all down the line?

Is every issue black or white?”

“Let’s Impeach the President” by Neil Young

“Let’s impeach the president for lying

And leading our country into war

Abusing all the power that we gave him

And shipping all our money out the door”

“The Times They are a-Changin’” by Bob Dylan

“Accept it that soon

You’ll be drenched to the bone …

You better start swimmin’

Or you’ll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin’”

“Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine

“Those who died are justified, for wearing the badge, they’re the chosen whites

You justify those that died by wearing the badge, they’re the chosen whites”

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