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Thread: History lessons in Music

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  1. #1
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    History lessons in Music

    I currently have a Woody Guthrie collection playing as I work, and it is like a history lesson of the social issues and events of the early 20th century in America, with songs dedicated to the Coolie Dam, migrants workers, Hobos riding the rails, etc.

    I wonder what current songs would tell the tale of this era?
    I've Been Frosted

  2. #2
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    I don't know about right now but several songs come to mind that sing about historical events.

    "Bloody Sunday" by U2 sings about one of the nastier moments of the Civil Rights struggle.
    "(Pride) In the Name of Love", also by U2, mentions MLK's assassination
    "We Didn't Start the Fire", by Billy Joel, is a fast-paced trip from the '50s to the late '80s.
    The Moody Blues did a song about the moon shot; Rush has done one about the shuttles.
    Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sang about the Kent State killings in 1970.

    I'm sure there's a lot more!
    I've been finally defrosted by cassiesmom!
    "Not my circus, not my monkeys!"-Polish proverb

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by smokey the elder View Post
    I don't know about right now but several songs come to mind that sing about historical events.

    "Bloody Sunday" by U2 sings about one of the nastier moments of the Civil Rights struggle.
    "(Pride) In the Name of Love", also by U2, mentions MLK's assassination
    "We Didn't Start the Fire", by Billy Joel, is a fast-paced trip from the '50s to the late '80s.
    The Moody Blues did a song about the moon shot; Rush has done one about the shuttles.
    Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sang about the Kent State killings in 1970.

    I'm sure there's a lot more!
    Rush's albums are rife with social commentary and criticism. Net Boy (put your message in a modem, and sail it on the cyber sea), Test for echo, Roll the Bones, (It's not a rap, it;s a "spoken word piece" ), 2112, The Trees, Neil's poetry is amazing.

    Queen (Hammer to Fall, cold war commentary "For those who grew up tall and proud, in the shadow of the mushroom cloud")
    Emerson Lake and Palmer Black moon Paper Blood
    Roger Waters Amused to Death (Never EVER fall asleep to that album while you're on alert!)


    There are a lot of rock commentaries on currrent issues, unfortunately they're all longer than 3 minutes, rarely get airplay, and tend to be ignored. Hard to sell commercials if you're playing songs that are 5 minutes+ long.


    When I'm listening to music with the kids in the car, I tend to pick out certain songs and tell them about why the song was written. They've come to think that it's pretty cool that music is so intertwined with history.
    The one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind wasn't king, he was stoned for seeing light.

  4. #4
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    What comes to mind immediately is Pink Floyd's "The Wall." There's gotta be some by Bob Dylan, too.





    "I don't know which weapons will be used in the third World war, but in the fourth, it will be sticks and stones" --- Albert Einstein.


  5. #5
    I believe that U2's "New Year's Day" is also about the Struggles.
    Then there's Dion's "Abraham, Martin and John"
    Laura Nyro "Save The Country" (RFK, JFK and MLK)
    CCR's "Fortunate Son" (Vietnam)
    CSNY "Chicago" (Chicago 7 trial)

    And many, many more I'm sure...

  6. #6
    Let's not forget the Charlie Daniels Band's roots in the anti-war movement in the early '70s, with Uneasy Rider and Still in Saigon.

    Charlie has yet to explain how he went from the roots of the band in the 70s to the jingoistic appearances he does now.
    The one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind wasn't king, he was stoned for seeing light.

  7. #7
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    Interesting thread. I'll have to check back.
    Anne
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    RIP Emily (Oct 8, 2013), Rose (Sept 24, 2001), Maggie (Fall 2003)

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