Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Political songs - a small personal selection

I thought I'd use the stir created by Plan B's magnificent new single (and video) as an excuse to collate some of my favourite political music. Below is my list of 10 songs which demonstrate that music and politics can go together, concluding with Plan B.

Some are fairly overtly political, some more obliquely so - but I think the 'political' tag is accurate in all cases. This doesn't mean they are all protest songs, an overlapping but distinct category. Dorian Lynskey's superb book on protest songs - 33 Revolutions Per Minute - has chapters on a number of my choices and is well worth reading.

Jimmy Cliff, Vietnam/Afghanistan

Country Joe and the Fish, Feel Like I'm Fixing to Die

PJ Harvey, The Words That Maketh Murder

Billie Holliday, Strange Fruit

Lowkey, Long Live Palestine

Manic Street Preachers, A Design for Life

Pulp, Common People

Nina Simone, Mississippi Goddamn

The Specials, Ghost Town

And here's the Plan B video...



  1. Here are some songs from my generation

    Joe Hill, Paul Robeson;_ylt=A2KLqIvOUG9Phz4A8Wt2BQx.;_ylu=X3oDMTBncGdyMzQ0BHNlYwNzZWFyY2gEdnRpZAM-?fr2=sg-gac&p=paul%20robeson%20joe%20hill&ei=utf-8&n=21&tnr=20

    Pete Seeger Banks of Marble

    Theres a valley in Spain called Jarama (Many versions, try this one)

    Woodie Guthrie This Land is My Land

    Unfortunately I can't find an online version of Paul Robeson's Madrid Que Bien Resistes also known as Los Quatros Generales. The available versions don't quite cut it

  2. Good choices, Eamonn. I had considered including something by Robeson. There's a wonderful show 'Call Mr Robeson' by Tayo Aluko which combines the great man's politics and music. One of my very first blog posts (in March 2009) was about the performance of it in Newcastle, arranged by our Stop the War group. Unforgettable.