In celebration of Independence Day, find the 54 most important protest songs ever created. A list of the greatest political songs ever produced by some of musics most talented artists. Includes a powerful playlist of songs about freedom, equality and justice for all people.
St. Louis, MO-IL – Many believe that the right to protest is what makes America one of the greatest nations in the world. Although there are many ways to protest, history books often cite rallies, demonstrations and marches. But what about music?
Protest songs and great American political music artists have always been part of American culture. The United States National Anthem itself is a direct protest against British rule, and for many in this nation, the 4th of July celebrates independence from that rule. But for some, the holiday represents a time of conflict and subjugation for Indigenous and African-Americans. Protest music, or better yet freedom music, arose out of that very sentiment. Jazz music, which evolved from Negro slave spirituals, pushed against the grain of classical music. And as American music continued to develop new sounds, several musicians implemented social issues and activism in their music.
In the 1960’s, protest music provided the soundtrack to a tumultuous era. Now, in 2018, popular music has gone in many directions, but protest music remains alive and well. Protest music reminds us of the progress we still need and can make.
This is what inspired jazz fusion artist Rafa Selase to compile a list of what he calls the 54 top protest songs ever produced. Among this list of musical greats are some of the most legendary artists not only America has known, but who have also made it onto the world stage. The compilation includes a variety of legends such as Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, Lee Greenwood, Hugh Masekela, Patti Griffin and Marvin Gaye. It is a not only a celebration of music, but an acknowledgment of the magical contributions to equality, peace and oppression that artist have committed.
In addition to the list, Selase created a Spotify playlist titled, “Protest Songs: Songs About Freedom”