20 September 2016

10 More Songs About Social Change

Folks, in this time between leaving IFPRI and moving to GAIN I thought I would indulge one of my great passions--music.

About 6 years ago I did a list of social change songs.  We often say improvements in nutrition are underpinned by social change. So now it is surely time for another list.

I picked songs that (a) I like, (b) say something about social change, (c) are not too embarrassing and (d) did not appear on the 2010 list.

Here they are.

1. "To Hell With Poverty" by the Gang of Four.  A classic from the early 80s.   A song about the hopelessness induced by living in poverty.

2.  "Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen -- one of the first songs to bring AIDS into the mainstream. An an amazing song.

3.  "John, I'm only Dancing" by David Bowie.  In 1971 -- a brave song about being gay in those bleak days.

4.  "People have the Power" by Patti Smith. Much prefer this to Lennon's "Power to the People".  Why? The people already have the power.

5.  "Same Love" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  When Macklemore was cool, about 5 years ago.  A beautiful song (guest vocals by Mary Lambert) about love, straight or gay.

6.  "Baltimore" by Prince.  A recent song about the death of Freddy Grey, shot in Baltimore. "Nobody got in nobody's way. So I guess you could say it was a good day.  At least a little better than the day in Baltimore".  Chilling.

7.  "Isn't it a Pity" by Nina Simone.  This live version was dedicated to the just murdered MLK.

8.  "The Community of Hope" by PJ Harvey. A song about shrinking the big food deserts in the poor parts of Washington DC.  Didn't go down too well with the DC Council, I'm told.

9.  "A Change is Gonna Come" by the Fugees.  Lauryn Hill gives the full treatment to Sam Cooke's great great song.

10. "Them Belly is Full (But We Hungry)" by Bob Marley and the Wailers.  "A hungry mob is an angry mob". Policymakers take note.

And if you want to comment on these or add some, do it below!


Unknown said...

Birmingham Sunday by Joan Baez 'And the choirs kept singing of freedom' - Showing my age!

Lawrence Haddad said...

Here is a list from Stuart Gillespie, who has fine taste in music..

The Revolution will not be Televised (Gil Scott-Heron)
Complete Control (The Clash)
Armagideon Time (The Clash)
The Words that Maketh Murder (PJ Harvey)
Oliver’s Army (Elvis Costello)
Not Great Men (Gang of Four)…and pretty much any other song on their classic first album
On Coming from a Broken Home (Gil Scott-Heron)
Fight the Power (Isley Bros)
Every Day is like Sunday (Smiths)

Richard Longhurst said...

Wot ? No Bob Dylan - Blowing in the Wind, Master of War, The times they are a-changing. No Bob Marley: Get up Stand up ? Marvin Gaye, What's goin' on ?

Must be a generational thing, I am still stuck in the 60s and 70s