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Protest song

A protest song is a kind of folk music (or, more recently, pop-influenced folk music). They become popular during times of social disruption and among socially neglected groups. They rail against injustice, racial discrimination, war, globalization, inflation, social inequalities and the like. Folk songs occur throughout history, as in the American Revolutionary War and the abolitionist movement of the 1800s. In the 20th Century, the union movement, the Great Depression and the Vietnam War were the primary stimuli for protest songs. The common form, with acoustic guitar and harmonica, was popularized by the work of Woody Guthrie during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. Protest music can also be traced back to the Civil War, where traditional songs such as 'We Shall Overcome' prevailed and succeeded as true protest songs.

Table of contents

Protest songs regarding unions and labor

  • "Allentown" Billy Joel
  • "Angel of Freedom"
  • "Banks of Marble"
  • "Bear The Burden in The Heat of The Day"
  • "The Blackleg Miners"
  • "The Blind Ploughman"
  • "Casey Jones - The Union Scab" Joe Hill
  • "Centralia"
  • "Coal Miner's Blues"
  • "Coal Miner's Grave"
  • "The Coal Owner And The Pitman's Wife"
  • "Come All You Coal Miners"
  • "The Diggers Song"
  • "Dump the Bosses" John Brill[?]
  • "From Little Things Big Things Grow" Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody[?]
  • "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum" Harry McClintock
  • "Hard Times Come Again No More"
  • "The International"
  • "It Takes a Long Pull to Get There"
  • "John Henry"
  • "Joe Hill"
  • "Little Man, You Had a Busy Day"
  • "Part Of The Union" The Strawbs[?]
  • "Peg and Awl"
  • "The Popular Wobbly"
  • "The Preacher and the Slave" Joe Hill
  • "Rebel Girl" Joe Hill
  • "Roll the Union On"
  • "Shearing In The Bar"
  • "Shores of Botany Bay"
  • "Sixteen Tons" Tennesee Ernie Ford[?]
  • "Solidarity Forever" Ralph Chaplin
  • "Struggle In The West"
  • "The Two Bums"
  • "There is Power in a Union" Billy Bragg
  • "This Land is Your Land" Woody Guthrie
  • "Traveling Down the Castlereagh"
  • "Union Burying Ground" Woody Guthrie
  • "Union Maid" Woody Guthrie
  • "The Union Scab" Joe Hill
  • "The Union Train"
  • "Which Side Are You On?"
  • "Why Paddy's Not At Work Today"

Protest songs concerning racism, apartheid and civil rights

Protest songs concerning war

Protest songs concerning nuclear weapons

Protest songs concerning politicians or world leaders

Protest songs against police or authority

Protest songs concerning poverty

Protest songs concerning alienation

Protest songs concerning governments and imperialism

Protest songs concerning feminism

Protest songs concerning environmentalism

Protest songs concerning prohibition and the War on Drugs

Protest songs concerning heroin, drug abuse, and drug culture

Protest songs concerning globalization and corporate dominance

Protest songs concerning guns and violence

Protest songs concerning materialism

Protest songs concerning slavery

Protest songs concerning the persecution of homosexuals

Protest songs concerning the days of the week[?]

Protest songs concerning television

  • "I Am the Slime" Frank Zappa
  • "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles
  • "Television, the Drug of the Nation" Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

Protest songs concerning music critics and the music industry

Protest songs concerning animal rights and meat consumption

Protest songs concerning protest songs

Protest songs concerning Youth Rights

  • "Dyers Eve" Metallica
  • "Hell is for Children" Pat Benatar[?]
  • "Prisoner of Society" The Living End
  • "Minor Disturbance Too Young To Rock" The Teen Idles
  • "Another Brick in the Wall" Pink Floyd

Other protest songs

Main protest song artists



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