From Vietnam to Libya, Let Music Persist to Protest
By GLM Contributor, Brad Petty
Marvin Gaye recorded the timeless anti-war song What’s Going on? in 1971. In 2003 Edwin Starr would die in the U.K. years after recording War in 1970. Vietnam helped sparked some of the most politically charged songs of the recorded music era. In 2010 John Legend & The Roots released a cover album (Wake Up!) of socially and politically charged soul standards in protest to the state of the American education system.
I like the idea of recalling from the past songs that help shape a conversation about the current state of affairs. Since the release of Wake Up! North Africa has erupted with violence. The United States Congress is engaged in a costly debate about its’ budget. Japan suffers from a natural and man made disaster. My response is as follows:
- Heaven by Brett Dennen
- Devil’s Pie by D’Angelo
- Harvest for the World by The Isley Brothers
- Yes We Can Can by The Pointer Sisters
- Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away by Stevie Wonder
- People Make the World Go Round by The Stylistics
- Mr. President by Janelle Monae
And why not round out that list with the immortal social consciousness anthem by John Lennon–Imagine.