Friday, April 22, 2011

What's the best protest song ever?

Asks The Nation.

It's clearly a naked grab for your e-mail address. They've already got mine; I've had a sub since the 60s. 

I remember this question--best protest song?-- popping up among nostalgists in the late 70s, when we'd hit our thirties, when disco and MBAs elbowed their way to center stage.

My perennial nominee:  Compared to What Les McCann and Eddie Harris jamming at Montreux in 1969; then, going big on the pop charts in '71.  What good is a protest song if it only gets sung at hootenannys and movement potlucks?  The BEST protest song has the lines you want to shout right now.
Slaughterhouse is killin' hogs
Twisted children killin' frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin' logs
Tired old ladies kissin' dogs....

The President, he's got his war
Folks don't know just what it's for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason....

Runner-up choice: something--almost anything--from Phil Ochs.




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Of the biblical allotment of three score and ten I have lived only three of them more than a bicycle ride from one of the Great Lakes. I grew up ten blocks from Lake Erie in the (once Irish/Italian ghetto, now newly-hip) "Near West Side" of Cleveland. I can still cycle to the Milwaukee lakefront in an hour and a half; but, a round-trip has always been more than I would (noror ever did) attempt. -0- I'm a "...somewhat combative pacifist and fairly cooperative anarchist," after the example of Grace Paley (1922-2007). -0- I'm always cheerful when I pay my taxes (having refused--when necessary--to pay that portion of them dedicated to war). -0- And I always, always vote.