Protest Songs

Last week as part of our thematic study, ‘Get up, Stand up!’ we analysed two protest songs.  Protest songs have a purpose.  A protest song tries to change things in the world.  Sometimes they do this by calling directly for something to happen, or they can inform us, appeal to our emotions, or challenge commonly held ideas. A protest song may shock us, make us angry, make us sad or inspire us. But we will feel something.

This week Year 10 students are to analyse a protest song of their choice. Here are some ideas:

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke

After hearing Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” in 1963, Sam Cooke was very moved that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was not black. Dylan’s song inspired his own. (Source: The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time).

Ohio by Crosby Stills Nash and Young

This song was a response to the killing of four students and the wounding of nine others by soldiers during a peaceful anti-war protest at Kent State University.

Imagine by John Lennon

Lennon described his song as “anti-capitalistic,” “anti-religious,” and “anti-nationalist”song. Even so it was a huge hit and it remains popular today.

Fortunate Son by Creedance Clearwater Revival is another famous protest song and you can find a link to information on this blog here.


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