Protest songs are united by the fact they all have something to say, something to dispute, or something to rile against, whether it be political, social, or personal. Story Behind the Protest Song features 50 of the most influential musical protests and statements recorded to date, providing pop-culture viewpoints on some of the most tumultuous times in modern history. Among the featured: songs about the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, the most recent upheaval over policy in the Middle East, as well as teenage rebellion, animal rights, criticisms of mass media, and even protest songs that lambaste other protest songs.
This indispensable guide tackles it all: the behind-the-scenes stories of the most influential protest songs in American popular culture, examining the subjects they address, the legacy they left, and the fabric of the songs themselves. Chronically arranged entries cover nearly 70 years of music and offer an expansive range of genres, including rock, punk, pop, soul, hip-hop, country, folk, indie, heavy metal, and more.
Each entry discusses the songwriter(s); the inspiration behind the song; and the social, cultural, and political context in which the song was released. Following a detailed musical and lyrical analysis, the entries explain the songs' impact and relevance today. Among the featured:
• The Unknown Soldier (The Doors)
• Masters of War (Bob Dylan)
• Say It Loud-I'm Black and I'm Proud (James Brown)
• Get Up, Stand Up (The Wailers)
• Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)
• Their Law (Prodigy)
• American Idiot (Green Day)
• Sweet Home Alabama (Lynrd Skynrd)
• Born in the USA (Bruce Springsteen)
• Southern Man (Neil Young)
Entries are accompanied by further readings and a select discographies as well as a comprehensive resource guide at the end of the book. A must-read for students of music, history, and politics, this volume offers a unique reflection on the most significant and moving protest songs in American history.