Protest Songs

i aint marching anymore

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american idiot

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I ain’t marching anymore by Phil Ochs stirred the blood when Phil Ochs performed it at anti-Vietnam War and Civil Rights rallies. His song is from the point of view of a soldier as he is called on to fight through America’s history, culminating in the atomic bomb attack on Japan.  It became a signature song for Ochs and was at its most powerful at the infamous Chicago Democratic National Convention in 1968 when members of the crowd burnt their draft cards during his performance. Green Day’s American Idiot was released on September 2004, it criticizes the current American foreign policy and the ex president Bush. As we can see that from the old days to now, protest songs are covering even a wider aspects. In the 1960s most of the protest songs were about anti war or human rights, however now, artists more write songs to protest the mess media and politics.


Protest Songs

“Draft Dodger Rag” is a satirical anti-war song by Phil Ochs, a U.S. protest singer from the 1960s known for being a harsh critic of the American military industrial complex. Released in 1965, “Draft Dodger Rag” quickly became an anthem of the anti-Vietnam War movement. Ochs wrote “Draft Dodger Rag” as American involvement in the Vietnam War was beginning to grow. The song is sung from the perspective of a gung-ho young man who has been drafted. When he reports for duty, however, the young man recites a list of reasons why he can’t serve, including poor vision, flat feet, a ruptured spleen, allergies and asthma, back pain, addiction to multiple drugs, his college enrollment, his disabled aunt, and the fact that he carries a purse. As the song ends, the young man tells the sergeant that he’ll be the first to volunteer for “a war without blood or gore”

Tom Waits has covered increasingly political subject matter since the advent of the Iraq war. In “The Day After Tomorrow,” Waits adopts the persona of a soldier writing home that he is disillusioned with war and thankful to be leaving. The song does not mention the Iraq war specifically, and, as Tom Moon writes, “it could be the voice of a Civil War soldier singing a lonesome late-night dirge.” Waits himself does describe the song as something of an “elliptical” protest song about the Iraqi invasion, however.


It’s all about the war

I Ain’t Marching Anymore is an anti-war song by Phil Ochs, a U.S. protest singer in 1965. Ochs wrote this song as American involvement in the Vietnam War was beginning to grow. The song is written from the perspective of a soldier who has been present at lots of wars is sick of fighting, it criticizes all of American military. It’s also forward about the older generation sending the young to war, and then the yound soldiers die or fall first. “It’s always the old to lead us to the war. It’s always the young to fall. Now look at all we’ve won with the saber and the gun. Tell me is it worth it all”

God Bless This Mess is also an anti-war song by Sheryl Crow in 2008. It’s written in protest to the war and which opposed the Bush administration. Toward the end, Crow sings, “The president spoke words of comfort with tear drops in his eyes. Then he led us as a nation into a war based on lies.”


Simple Song of Freedom

The Song by Bobby Darin “Simple Song of Freedom” was released in 1969 and rendered his views of freedom and the social events manifesting around him, especially the Vietnam war. He’s singing about the need to stop fighting bring integrity and love back to our society. One line that alluded to the war was his line “We, the people, don’t want a war” The modern song that’s also a protest song is “Cry” by Michael Jackson. It was released in 2001 and its themes are war, brotherhood, and truth. The video had a long line of people holding hands next to each other that spread across a long distance. The song emphasized the need to come together, stop the wars and change the world. Which is similar to the themes in the song “Simple Song of Freedom” by Bobby Darin, which had a more mellow tone, like a country song. While the song Cry was had a more sad tone. But I think the listener understood the message that’s rendered in both of these songs, even though the wording and music may be different.
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What’s going on in the World today?




Marvin Gaye “What’s going on” was release in 1971 by subsidiary label of Motown records,  while the events of Vietnam was going on, and the few decades of the civil rights movement, music like Marvin Gaye, and many others music artist describe din the last few blogs post shows that many people, were aware of many of the things that were going on, and wanted to share there feelings and opinions through there music.  This allowed there fans to take a moment to really think about what was going on in the world.

The All Star tribute shows that much have not really change as far as some of the lyrics are concern, this collaboration was done right after Sept 11 2001 even though they contributed the precedes to the Red Cross to help with the cure of Aids.. So War is still an issue in both era.  I guess a difference is that the world has issues, but people trty to use music as a way of spreading a message, hoping people can hear and may make people better.




Protest With Music

I selected two very moving protest songs of the past 100 years. The first song I chose was “Only a Pawn in Their Game,” by Bob Dylan (1964). The version that I posted is a cover, as I was not able to find the original version on YouTube. The second song I selected was “The General,” by The Dispatch (2000). “Only a Pawn in Their Game” is a song about the racist nature of the world during the 20th century. It specifically mentions the assassination of the civil rights activist Medgar Evers. Dylan goes on to mention how although many people preformed terrible deeds, usually due to racism, it was not solely their fault. It was the fault of society, and he says that each person in only “a pawn in their game.” “The General” is an anti-war song about a general who claims that it “is not worth fighting.” The entire song the general is telling his soldiers to go home, and enjoy their lives. The message is that we should avoid war, because we are taking away people’s lives.

In general, protest songs have not really changed over the years. The bottom line is that they are supposed to convey a message to the public and create a change. However, today I think these songs are more direct and crude, as opposed to being more subtle 50 years ago. Today there are also new genres, such as hip-hop, which have produced certain protest songs as well. Besides those few changed there are not many distinct differences in protest songs over the years. The two songs I chose could have been written anytime over the past 50 years, and they would fit in to any time period. Social protests did not change much, as a whole. Like protest songs, they simply just became more outright and uncut. People are not afraid to say or do anything these days.