Protest Songs of the Times CCR: Fortunate Son & Green Day: American Idiot


In 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival, better known as CCR, released the song “Fortunate Son”.  Fortunate Son became known and embraced as an anthem to protest the war in Vietnam.  Its main message was that American men were forced to go to war in Vietnam against their will, due to the reinstatement of the Military Draft.  There were some instances of high powered government officials who allegedly got their sons draft numbers not called, sparing their child’s life and sending another person in his place.  This is shown by the lyrics “It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no …It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son,It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no”.  The draft is portrayed as an inevitable and horrendous event that can’t be avoided unless you have power or influence in government. America embraced the song because it was saying what everyone was thinking, the fear of unjust death. The moment a boy became a soldier and was sent off to war is captured by the lyrics “And when the band plays “Hail to the chief”, Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord”.  Once the president called you into service, you were soon to be sent to the battlefield, it was essentially a death notice.


In 2004 the band Green Day released the song “American Idiot” and it instantly catapulted them into the stratosphere and made them one of the world’s most prominent rock bands.  American idiot is a song that brings light to the fact that the media controls what Americans know about the world events, whether it is true or not.  The lyrics: “Don’t want a nation that doesn’t know media; And can you hear the sound of hysteria?; The subliminal mind f— America” are meant to encourage Americans to break the trend of listening to what they are told, and instead ask questions and investigate what they have been told.  The lyrics: “I’m not a part of a redneck agenda; Now everybody do the propaganda; And sing along in the age of paranoia”, poke fun at the former Republican President George W. Bush (him being the redneck with an agenda).  This song was so popular in its time that President Bush actually banned it for a while, claiming that it was a threat to national security due to it Anti-American tone.  This was proving the power of his propaganda in removing kinks in his armor, and the fact that that time was a time of terror, war and death certainly added to the country’s feeling of paranoia. Green day also sarcastically says: “Welcome to a new kind of tension. All across the alien nation”.  This is easily interpreted as the heightened terror alerts that were put in place across all the major cities is “the alien nation”, easily interpreted as the USA.  Green Day pretty much nailed the physical, emotional, and mental feelings of an entire nation in their hit song.