Get Up, Stand Up: Six Protest Songs That Haven't Lost Their Teeth

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Penner via Wikipedia
Rage Against the Machine in 2007
America was founded on the protest, and we've been fighting like hell ever since. From civil rights, voting rights and equal rights, America knows a thing or two about protesting. And lately, with unrest in Egypt, the protests in Austin over Texas' new abortion regulation, and people on both sides of the George Zimmerman verdict, protestors have once again caught the media's attention.

While some have a "love it or leave it" mentality, others prefer to exercise their right to kick up a little dust and make a ruckus. Of course, this wouldn't be America if it weren't by the people, for the people. It's the idea that our country was founded on, and it's not going anywhere.

So naturally, Rocks Off started thinking about some great protest songs. From past to present, music has been a way to show solidarity in large numbers, so we've compiled a list of six tracks that are perfect for any protest.


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Bob Dylan, "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963)
Inspired by Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan had a penchant for assembling poetic lyrics over thoughtful guitar parts, proving that sometimes a song is all you need to get people to think.

When he released "Blowin' in the Wind," Dylan was a 21-year-old man releasing his second album. With the Vietnam war, the JFK was assassination, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech and women fighting for equality, "Blowin' in the Wind" gave a voice to a youth who had been told they weren't old enough to have one.


Sam Cooke, "A Change Is Gonna Come" (1964)
While Bob Dylan was busy making ripples with "Blowin' in the Wind," Cooke and his band were being arrested for attempting to check into a "whites only" motel in Louisiana. With inspiration striking from both Dylan and his arrest, Cooke penned "A Change Is Gonna Come."

It was released in 1964, the same year Cooke was assassinated at a motel in Los Angeles. Even so, "A Change Is Gonna Come" went on to become an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement, and has been covered by everyone from Tina Turner and Otis Redding to Cold War Kids and Arcade Fire.


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1 comments
Matthew Ashton
Matthew Ashton

Could have just been 6 RATM songs. :P I dig me some Sam Cooke though...

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