Tech & society

Mixing Media: Social Movements and Popular Culture

“When pop music meets politics, the results are often thrilling, sometimes life-changing and never simple,” writes Dorian Lynskey, a music writer for the Guardian. His book, 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, tracks “33 songs that span seven decades and four continents.”

Lynskey begins with Billy Holiday (Strange Fruit, 1939) and ends with Green Day (American Idiot, 2008). Although he features 33 songs, in the appendix he recommends an additional 100 protest songs. You can see the list of 33 (table of contents) and 100 (appendix) at 33 Revolutions per Minute on Amazon.

Here are some of my favorites from his lists (a clue to my age) and a few that he ignored. What are your favorite protest songs (whether or not they are featured in the book)?

From The 33

This Land Is Your Land – Woodie Guthrie – 1944

Give Peace A Chance – Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon) – 1969

Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – 1970

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Gil Scott Heron – 1970

From the Appendix

Edited – changed some embeds to links to facilitate page download

Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell – 1970

Walk A Mile In My Shoes – Joe South – 1970

Sam Stone – John Prine – 1971

Hercules – Aaron Neville – 1973

Lives In the Balance – Jackson Browne – 1986

The End Of The Innocence – Don Henley – 1989

Not Listed

Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye (Clancy Brothers) Early 19th century Irish anti-war song

Ain’t Gonna Study War No More (Lead Belly) Traditional gospel song first published in 1927


When The Levee Breaks – Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie – 1929

One Tin Soldier – Original Caste – 1969

One Tin Soldier – Jinx Dawson (Coven) – 1971/1973

Travelin’ Soldier – Dixie Chicks – 2003

Deja Vu All Over Again – John Fogerty – 2004

Let’s Impeach the President – Neil Young – 2006

Living With War – Neil Young – 2006

Dear Mr President – Pink – 2007

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By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

3 replies on “Mixing Media: Social Movements and Popular Culture”

Good choices. I had seen a story at The Nation about protest songs earlier too. It got me thinking about the labor movement… and then the antiwar movement… and I’ve been posting songs to FB and tweeted some too.

Since I’m a fan of Weeds, I’d be remiss to not mention Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds:

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