Politics in Music

My favorite anti-war song is “Fortunate Son,” which is about how the sons of the wealthy avoided service during the Vietnam War.   It was a song that could have been written for George W. Bush.

Musicians don’t often express political views in their compositions, but when they do, they can have an impact.

Nash 2.5
Nash 2.5
Do you have a favorite piece of music that has political theme?  If so, post it here so other Trailmixers can hear it. (How to add video to your comment)

— Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor

Published by

Nash 2.5

Retired professor of business & economics at a small college in Northern Maine.

64 thoughts on “Politics in Music”

  1. aside from woody guthrie, the weavers were special favorites along this line.

  2. Jace:

    Trailmixers might not know that the “Big Muddy” song was actually about the Vietnam War, and the “Big Fool” was LBJ.

    I read somewhere that the incident described in this song really happened, with some differences: boot camp recruits were ordered to march into a swamp, and some drowned. This resulted in changes in recruit training practices. I believe it involved Marines at Paris Island, during WWII.

  3. httpv://youtu.be/cVab37kgir0

    Sunday Serendipity.

    Beethoven was not immune to the political influences of his day.
    In honor of the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
    ‘Eroica’ in it’s entirety. Enjoy!

  4. Nash,

    I had not heard that. Always wondered what inspired the song.
    I remember the Smothers Brothers taking some heat at the time for their views and the views of some of their ‘anti-war’ guests.

  5. Nash 2.5,
    here’s another ronnie gilbert oldie updated -somewhat

    always liked the line:
    ” Why do we kill people who are killing people
    To show that killing people is wrong?”

  6. Craig:

    I’ve heard about “Rage Against the Machine,” but they never get played on the local “classic Rock” station.

  7. A lot John Lennon’s music
    The Russian River Peace Navy always marches to
    Give Peace a Chance

  8. Oliver’s Army by Elvis Costello is the most listenable (to me), but no list would be complete without U2 (pick a song, almost any song).

  9. Craig.Crawford,

    Thanks for posting the pic. Wow, always amazes me how they hold signs saying God hates Fags. I’m not a believer but God and Hate just don’t compute..

  10. Clinton with Diane Sawyer on Bergdahl: “We Bring Our People Home”
    by Taylor Marsh Video

    “It doesn’t matter how they ended up in a prisoner of war situation. We bring our people home.” – Hillary Clinton

    DIANE SAWYER interviewed Hillary Clinton in an exclusive as her Hard Choices book tour gears up. One question Sawyer asked was whether President Obama made “a deal with the devil” in the Bergdahl – Taliban prisoner swap.

    “I think this was a very hard choice, which is why I think my book is aptly named,” Clinton said. “If you look at what the factors were going into the decision, of course there are competing interests and values. And one of our values is we bring everybody home off the battlefield the best we can. It doesn’t matter how they ended up in a prisoner of war situation.”
    Oh, and since Karl Rove cares so much.

  11. jace: I remember the Smothers Brothers taking some heat at the time for their views and the views of some of their ‘anti-war’ guests.

    They took heat alright. CBS cancelled the show. Here is a Wiki-list of anti-Vietnam War songs.

    Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour can be watched via Netflix DVD’s and other venues. It is important viewing to get a flavor for how things were on television regarding the anti-war side. Much of the television programming of the mid 60’s to early 70’s was neutral if not pro-war. Select portions of Laugh-In are also available to watch. At the time my draft district was providing more bodies to the military than any other district in Michigan.

  12. Craig.Crawford:
    quite a moment during our time yesterday at DC’s Gay Pride Parade — “Dykes on Bikes” meet the Haters.

    I would never call one of my previous girlfriend a “dyke on a bike”, even though she did ride a Harley. Did not go to Pride Parade this year.

    One of my co-workers got the shock of his gay life last week – blatant harassment of a transgender woman. Me. At one of the federal office buildings where we work. Got the full treatment, except for a pat down. The guard refused to accept my badge, until the person he told me to sign in at told him he had to let me enter. Then wrong pronouns, metal detector going off when I had no metal on me (I suspect the test button), than full arms out wanding in public, lots of wanding. Our agency was holding the annual Pride Ceremony so I am guessing the guard got fed up with all what he sees are the “queers and f#^@hs” going through he decided to take revenge on me.

    Co-worker had never seen real harassment before. He is still po’d about it. I told him this is life for a transperson, at least I did not get arrested or shot.

  13. Woody wrote this and many have performed it over the years and sadly it is as relevant today as when it was written

    I like the Old Crow Medicine Show version



  14. Some time you don’t need to write a new song to make it political.
    The fact that this was done in a TV commercial by coke made it an even bigger statement.


  15. don’t forget the propaganda piece to counter all those antiwar songs


  16. Craig & Blue Bronc,

    I just love freedom of speech.

    It gives every bigot with a two cent brain and a twenty dollar mouth an opportunity to be recognized for what they are.

    If they were silent, they might be suspected of foolishness and ignorance. By speaking up they remove all doubt.

    I love Mark Twain as well..

  17. boss, your label list under “join the herd” left out
    other herd names to aspire to like maverick, dogie, steer, stray, straggler….


  18. Fortunate son one of the best.

    They all fell kind of short of “Masters of War” by bob and perhaps “with god on our side”

  19. Jamie:

    The Australian film “Gallipoli” (1981) was an excellent anti-war “war movie:”

  20. On Costly, Pills, Hash, and Dung’s live album there is this one song where Stills goes off on a long ( and musically painful ) rant about Nixon…….

  21. BTW, happy to see the Heat pull it together last night and take one from the Spurs in San Antonio. Both teams were strong at home during the season. SA was stronger on the road. Including the regular season they have split 2-2 up to now. Should be a good Finals.

  22. Lovely night last night watching the Tony’s. The whole right wing may be hospitalized thanks to “Sugar Daddy” by NPH and Jackman’s crack about two kinds of people: Those who want to tell you what to do and those who mind their own business … among a lot of other lines.

  23. Do not click if easily offended. Video may disappear as CBS is stomping on appearances hard


  24. An update on the neighborhood stuff.
    First under the “no good deed goes unpunished” or maybe the “WTF did we just talk ourselves into” Mrs. Jack just called me on the phone. She was talking to the lady at Community Capital Fund( the folks giving us the grant) seems they may be looking at our Hispanic outreach with an idea for future programs. Oh and we will be ask to do a lessons learned presentation for the funders at their annual get together next spring. So the big folks are looking at us
    Wow, no pressure here lol
    It’s like the whole project has been turned on its head. I was viewing it as how do we get a playground for the neighborhood, which naturally involves talking to my neighbors , Hispanic or otherwise.
    We are doing some real out reach and making positive gains.
    Here are pictures on the blog I’ve set up for McCoy Friends y Amigos
    Our tentative date to start our on line fund raising is the first of August.
    Mean while it looks like I will be as busy as the proverbial one legged man kicking back sides.

    Later Jack

  25. Jamie
    Offended? LOL

    I wish I was limber enough to get drunk and dance to it.
    Looks like a great song for a bar band after 10pm.


  26. …pretty much anything Marley, but let’s go with a deep track that’s NOT on “Legend”:


    “Eve of Destruction” was a good one, too.

  27. I knew how talented NPH was but never expected THAT. Just loved the whole number. There’s another very different song in the show that captures Hedwig’s fight against the pain – Wig In A Box



  28. whskyjack,

    It sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you to share your grassroots neighborhood improvement strategy with others. I think you’re a hero. Surely, others will agree.

  29. As Ignex said, pretty much anything Marley, but especially this one….

    Live version of “Get up, Stand up.”


  30. The Smother’s Brothers, singing one of the songs that eventually got their TV show cancelled for being “too political.”


  31. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF3qWTrE4D0

    Listen to every word and sometime get yourself to The Wall.

  32. The things one learns from watching Rachel Maddow.

    Indiana has passed a law sort of defining when it is legal to shoot a policeman.

    Main un-intended consequence: Extremely nervous “trigger-happy” policemen.

    Won’t that be fun?

Comments are closed.