Protest songs spread social messages and brought societal changes or brought change to current events via music. Using the artist’s popularity brings attention to a certain issue. It also may be folk, classical, or commercial in the genre.
Phil Ochs once explained, “A protest song is a song that’s so specific that you cannot mistake it for BS.” Its texts may have significant cognitive content. The labour movement musical Pins and Needles summed up the definition of a protest song in a number called “Sing Me a Song of Social Significance.”
According to Denisoff, protest songs divided into 2 parts as either “magnetic” or “rhetorical”. “Magnetic” protest songs were aimed at attracting people to the movement and promoting group solidarity and commitment, & “Rhetorical” protest songs, on the other hand, are often characterized by individual indignation and offer a straightforward political message designed to change political opinion.
Here comes the list of Top 20 protest songs of All-Time which will change your perception of music.
20 – “Alright” – Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp A Butterfly, “Alright” is one of a smash in Lamar’s masterwork of 2015, an anthem of the Black Lives movement.
19 – “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” – James Brown
No matter what the color of your skin is, we can all value the feelings of James Brown’s traditional hymn of civil rights. He shouts, “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud /Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud, one more time/Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud, huh.”
18 – “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” – Country Joe and the Fish
This song is about the Vietnam war. There is a mirror version that reflects the futility of the moment for each emotional and caring desire, for each pair with bloodstained pair. Driving with a sarcastic and dark mood the song that stuck to the Woodstock Nation was this only cultural touchstone for Country Joe and Fish.
17 – “Ohio” – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
This iconic hymn of the counterculture of this basic rock orchestra was composed with uneasy intensity.
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16 – “To The Teeth” – Ani DiFranco
One of the most prominent activists and feminists in the musical community, DiFranco has always been part of the ballad’s response to the tragedy at Columbine High School. Her independent record label is named Righteous Babe.
15 – “The Times They Are A-Changin”- Bob Dylan
It’s one of the best-known protest songs of the 1960s. Dylan said in 1985, “It was clearly a song with a goal, intended to compose a large tune, short, succinct, hypnotically stacked verses.
14 – “Rebel Girl” – Bikini Kill
Bikini Kill was one of the leading feminist punk groups in the movement of riot grrrl. This song is probably the most renowned song of the group, refuting notions and celebrating women’s unity.
13 – “Get Up & Stand Up” – Bob Marley
Get up! Stand Up is a political song openly. Bob Marley is mostly renowned for smoking enormous quantity of marijuana and his political protest tracks. He’s the leading Reggae musician ever.
12 – “Masters Of War” – Bob Dylan
Dylan is exactly at the point in “The masters of war” and calls out the Military-Industrial complex for its readiness to harm the globe for profit.
11 – “The Message” – Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
“The Message,” released in 1982, was one of the most essential songs to make hip hop a social criticism platform. The Bronx ensemble recalls songs about urban poverty and urban violence that culminate in the refrain.
10 – “Born In The U.S.A”- Bruce Springsteen
Don’t let the patriotic moniker and the catchy chorus fool you. The actions and views in this 1984 megahit are extremely cynical. Written from the perspective of a veteran of the Vietnam War, Springsteen protests against the ill-treatment of troops who survived a horrific war in which they may not even have fought.
9 – “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”- Dead Kennedy
Dead Kennedy used a lot of his lyrical mockery as neo-Nazis began to infiltrate his performances practically. His answer was to write “Nazi Punks FuckOff,” releasing it as the main single for their follow-up album, In God We Trust, Inc.
8 – “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” – Marvin Gaye.
What a flash of “Mercy Mercy Me” might have taken listeners back all day long. It’s an album that could only have played by Marvin. Other people might have been harder, more focused, and more forceful.
7 – “I Am Woman”- Helen Reddy
The song is, a harsh and very serious weapon.She say, “We don’t go anyhow, we don’t accept the second best and we don’t take shit from you” as straightforwardly as possible.
6 – “Killing In The Name”- Rage Against The Machine
“Killing in the Name” is the iconic song by “Rage Against the Machine” that connects the police who were racist.
5 – “Fight the Power”- Public Enemy
It was this song of the Public Enemy which includes allusions to many aspects of Afro-American culture. The sounds of James Brown’s song include samples of civil rights and black church services.
4 – “For What it’s Worth”- Buffalo Springfield
The major hymn to the resistance that set the norm of modern protests was written in November 1966 in reaction to riots that struck police against adolescents in L.A.’s Sunset Strip in L.A., after authorities enforced the curfew upon the L.A.’s contingent.
3 – “Imagine” – John Lennon
“Imagine” is widely recognized as Lennon’s finest solo song and continues to be a special call for peace and understanding.
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2 – “Blowin in the wind”- Bob Dylan
“Blowin’ in the Wind” remains the basic pattern for every protest songs ever. The writer and performer was designated as the champion of the blue-collar resistance in the great civil rights movements of the ’60s, and was positioned in the front line.
1 – Changes – 2Pac
Like many songs by Tupac, Changes to carries a message demanding justice. The song highlights numerous problems and injustices, with outstanding lines and fantastic beat, which shows the problems African-Americans face daily.
These are the best Protest Songs ever.