Saturday, March 07, 2015

Soulful Saturday - Songs of Protest

This weekend the city of Selma, Alabama is getting a ton of visitors who want to observe the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement coming into that town and giving outsiders with a peek into what can only be seen as the underbelly of race relations in modern America. The 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday (in America, not to be confused with the 1972 incident in Ireland) also known as the Selma to Montgomery march.

So for today, I thought that a small catalog of protest songs would be appropriate. For many years people have used music to speak on the happenings of the day-- good and bad. I mean, there are songs about love, heart break, loss, joy, pain, slavery, racism, sex... everything. Way back in the golden, olden days I did a paper in college on the Civil Rights Movement, where people used whatever platform they had to voice their concerns over what was happening in America. Music was definitely one of those avenues. The music made during that time is heart stopping. It should make you do some soul searching. It should inspire you to make the world a better place before you leave this Earth.

The list of protest songs is long and there are many renditions to fall in love with. Here are a few of my favorites.

Nina Simone - Strange Fruit

Well, well, well. Since this Thursday's Scandal episode, many people clearly did not know who Nina Simone was... and I feel bad for them. This week her "I Shall Be Released" was featured on Scandal and I have seen the video pop up several times in my FaceBook feed. But even before Thursday, Nina was categorized as a musical genius. Check her out:

Turn, Turn, Turn - The Byrds

Pretty sure that my parents got tired of hearing the Byrds, the Turtles, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix streaming from my bedroom when I was in high school (I went through a serious 60s stage). Protest songs from mop headed boys? Loved it. A song that includes lines from the Bible to protest inequalities? Love it more. My favorite line: "A time for love, a time for hate. A time for peace, I swear its not too late."

Masters of War - Eddie Vedder

This is a Bob Dylan song, but we all know that I love Eddie. Long time love. War home and abroad, this song covers it all. Eddie - soft blue eyes, baritone voice and a guitar. Who can not love this guy?!? This was shot during his shorter hair phase. I like it longer, but the music is undeniably wonderful. My favorite line: "I think you will find, when your death takes it's toll, all the money you make will not buy back your soul!"

What's Going On - Marvin Gaye

A song that everyone knows AND fits as a protest song in every decade. Its smooth delivery makes it a little different, but a protest song nonetheless. What he was singing about in the 70s and 80s had happened in the 40s, 50s, 60 and still happens today. This and Inner City Blues should let YOU know that Marvin was in the know. Favorite line: "You know we've got to find a way to bring some loving here today..."

Glory - Common, John Legend

The modern day protest song. The movie was ok- the soundtrack was beautiful. John Legend is still super short (and can sing). Common is still fine. SUPA fine!! Favorite line: "Every day women and men become legends." In other words, YOU are able to bring forth change... and you should. Be legendary, my friends.


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