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Thread: History lessons in Music

  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?
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  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!
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  3. #3
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    Interesting thread. I'll have to check back.
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  4. #4
    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.

  5. #5
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    What comes to mind immediately is Pink Floyd's "The Wall." There's gotta be some by Bob Dylan, too.
    Randi



    "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.


  6. #6
    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...

  7. #7
    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.

  8. #8
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    Neil Peart is an amazing writer.

    Roger Waters is phenomenal.

    ------------

    Listening to music with the 'youngsters' is fun, I have a nephew that thanked me once for 'turning him on to music'.
    Nothing gives me more pleasure than to hear kids listening to 70s, 80s music. Better yet?

    Listening to them sing-a-long....

    ------------

    American Pie, Don McLean?

  9. #9
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    Dunno a thing about 'current songs.' All I listen to are Oldies stations, for 1950's through 60's music. Plus ballroom dance music!

    Lots of anti Vietnam music:
    Country Joe and the Fish "Whoopee, We're all Gonna Die",
    Peter, Paul and Mary: "Blowin' In the Wind" "Down by the Riverside (Ain't Gonna Study War No More)" and "If I Had a Hammer."
    Crosby Still and Nash, "Wooden Ships:

    And other songs of the time:
    Dion, "Abraham, Martin and John"
    Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Bad Moon Rising" (the election of Nixon, how did they know?!)

    Then there were all the songs on LDS and acid trips, plus all the environmental songs, with John Denver leading that movement.
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  10. #10
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    Bruce Springsteen "Born in the USA"
    Chicago "Dialog Parts I and II", vocals by Terry Kath and Peter Cetera
    Five Man Electrical Band "Signs" - Long-haired freaky people need not apply
    Three Dog Night "Black and White"
    I've been Boo'd ... right off the stage!

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  11. #11
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    I can't think of any one in particular at the moment, other than "In the Ghetto", by Elvis. Of course all of the songs dealing with war, drugs, rebellion, etc, pretty much defines things today - unfortunately. Are there any songs about "twerking"????

    I don't really listen to much music of this day - I'm a child of the 60's 70's and 80's when there was so much folk music, and music that was actually music, and not some of this nonsense "street music" - chanting to the beat of the drum. AARRGGGHHHHH !!! Loved the Everly Brothers, Pat Boone (Goone as so many call him), Peter, Paul & Mary, Glen Campbell, Andy Williams, Roger Whittaker, John Denver, Moody Blues (even tho more "rock"), and so many more like those listed. I'm even so "square", that I LOVE Yanni.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pomtzu View Post
    I LOVE Yanni.
    Dreamy, wasn't he?!

    I was thinking about this during the day. And through all the upheaval of various times, love songs continue and are always part of the musical landscape.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
    Then there were all the songs on LDS and acid trips, plus all the environmental songs, with John Denver leading that movement.
    Tonight I went to a ballgame and and LDS choir sang "god bless America", and later "Thank god I'm a country boy by John Denver was played over the PA....Your post made me smile.

    I think you meant LSD?

    Thinking about the choir on LSD is pretty wild?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
    Dreamy, wasn't he?!

    I was thinking about this during the day. And through all the upheaval of various times, love songs continue and are always part of the musical landscape.
    Oh yes indeed - very dreamy!

    And a couple of more recent singers that I love, are Josh Groban and Susan Boyle. I could listen to them all day!
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    Wolfy ~ Fuzzbutt #3
    My little dog ~ a heartbeat at my feet

    Sparky the Fuzzbutt - PT's DOTD 8/3/2010
    RIP 2/28/1999~10/9/2012
    Myndi the Fuzzbutt - Mom's DOTD - Everyday
    RIP 1/24/1996~8/9/2013
    Ellie - Mom to the Fuzzbuttz

    To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
    Ecclesiastes 3:1
    The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power
    To know just when the hands will stop - on what day, or what hour.
    Now is the only time you have, so live it with a will -
    Don't wait until tomorrow - the hands may then be still.
    ~~~~true author unknown~~~~

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