Top 25 patriotic protest songs
Wed Jun 29 2011
10. "Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen
This song is at once an exuberant expression of American optimism and a thunderous reproach of war. Underneath the grit and angst in Springsteen's howl lies a triumphant sentiment that the character of this song, who was born in a "dead man's town" and fought the Viet Cong, is still standing to tell the tale. "Born in the U.S.A." is one of the greatest album openers of all time, leading off the Boss's 1984 record that bears this song's name.
9. "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)" by Pete Seeger, performed by the Byrds
So Pete Seeger didn't actually write the lyrics of this song. He cribbed them from a poem in the Book of Ecclesiastes and added his own melody to it in 1959. The Byrds recorded their definitive version in 1965. Seeger and the Byrds each reintroduced this classic poem at times when America was positioned for great societal change. It is still turning today.
8. "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday
It's hard to imagine Americans picnicking around the lynched corpses of innocent people. But when Abel Meeropol wrote the source poem of this song for a Marxist publication in the '30s, the lynching of blacks was an all-too-familiar sight. Billie Holiday recorded the most haunting and widely known version of this song in 1939.
7. "Fight the Power" by Public Enemy
This rebel anthem sounds more like the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen" than the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." It was famously featured in the opening and climax of Spike Lee's controversial movie masterpiece Do the Right Thing in 1989. "Fight the Power" still manages to sound urgent, as outspoken MC Chuck D attacks the powers that be over the Bomb Squad production team's greatest and most ear-busting beat.
6. "People Get Ready" by the Impressions
Inspired by an upcoming Martin Luther King--led march in his hometown of Chicago, songwriter Curtis Mayfield utilized his religious inclinations to give this song a spiritual gravitas that transcends the Civil Rights movement and speaks to universal will to triumph over oppression. "People Get Ready" was released as a single by the Impressions, from the album bearing the same name in 1965.