11.11.2012

remembrance day: 11 anti-war songs for 11.11

Many artists and bands have recorded anti-war songs, and they're not always those associated with protest. Here are 11 songs that decry the deceit, corruption, and futility of war.

1. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye

2. Generals and Majors - Andy Partridge (XTC)

3. Welcome to the Occupation - REM

4. The Call Up - Joe Strummer, Mick Jones (The Clash)

5. Wargasm - Donita Sparks, Suzi Gardner (L7)

6. 99 Luftballons (99 Red Balloons) - Fahrenkrog-Petersen / Karges / McAlea (Nena)

7. And the Band Played Waltzin' Matilda - Eric Bogle (The Pogues)

8. The Words that Maketh Murder - P J Harvey

9. Self Evident - Ani DiFranco

10. Rich Man's War - Steve Earle

And number 11, one of the most enduring peace and justice songs ever written: Blowin' in the Wind - Bob Dylan

Limiting myself to 11, I omitted powerful anti-war songs by Black Sabbath, Jynkz, Phil Ochs, Billy Bragg, Pete Seeger, Green Day, and so many more. Please post yours below.

37 comments:

johngoldfine said...

Perhaps this is the Phil Ochs' song you mention, but how about Peace & Folk Music Las Vegas style? Here's "A Simple Song of Freedom" sung by the lyricist:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL8GeX43MrU

Is it shameful to confess I like the tarted-up version here much more than the more 'authentic' Ochs' version?

:)

laura k said...

Not only is not shameful, but I take exception to the expression "tarted up" to refer to musical interpretation! I once blogged here about a musical love of mine, The Waterboys, and their version of "Sweet Thing" that does more justice to the song than Van Morrison did.

Link: Simple Song of Freedom by Phil Ochs, via Bobby Darin

Not the Phil Ochs songs I was thinking of, but someone will post that one, I'm sure.

johngoldfine said...

There's 'Fortunate Son' by CCR.

johngoldfine said...

I'm an agnostic on the question of these two versions of 'Sweet Thing,' though, all other things being equal, I would follow Van Morrison to the gates of hell and beyond.

laura k said...

I would follow Van Morrison to the gates of hell and beyond.

I'm pretty sure Mike Scott of The Waterboys feels the same way. His three greatest influences seem to be Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, and his Irish roots.

allan said...

Richard Thompson, with a live version of Dad's Gonna Kill Me. (Also, the studio version)

allan said...

CHRISTIANS AT WAR (words: John F. Kendrick, tune: Onward Christian
Soldiers, published in Industrial Worker "Little Red Songbook," March 1916)

Onward, Christian soldiers! Duty's way is plain;
Slay your Christian neighbors, or by them be slain,
Pulpiteers are spouting effervescent swill,
God above is calling you to rob and rape and kill,
All your acts are sanctified by the Lamb on high;
If you love the Holy Ghost, go murder, pray and die.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Rip and tear and smite!
Let the gentle Jesus bless your dynamite.
Splinter skulls with shrapnel, fertilize the sod;
Folks who do not speak your tongue deserve the curse of God.
Smash the doors of every home, pretty maidens seize;
Use your might and sacred right to treat them as you please.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Eat and drink your fill;
Rob with bloody fingers, Christ okays the bill,
Steal the farmers' savings, take their grain and meat;
Even though the children starve, the Savior's bums must eat,
Burn the peasants' cottages, orphans leave bereft;
In Jehovah's holy name, wreak ruin right and left.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Drench the land with gore;
Mercy is a weakness all the gods abhor.
Bayonet the babies, jab the mothers, too;
Hoist the cross of Calvary to hallow all you do.
File your bullets' noses flat, poison every well;
God decrees your enemies must all go plumb to hell.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Blight all that you meet;
Trample human freedom under pious feet.
Praise the Lord whose dollar sign dupes his favored race!
Make the foreign trash respect your bullion brand of grace.
Trust in mock salvation, serve as tyrant's tools;
History will say of you: "That pack of G.. d.. fools."

****

Amy said...

My two personal favorites: Blowing in the Wind and Where Have All the Flowers Gone.

Also, almost any Phil Ochs song, in particular, I Ain't Marching Any More.

And Fixing to Die Rag by Country Joe and the Fish.

I am sure I could go on, but those are my favorites.

Amy said...

Others:

Bring Them Home (Pete Seeger)

The Big Muddy (Same)

The War is Over (Ochs)

Universal Soldier (Buffy St Marie)

The soundtrack of my teenage years....

Amy said...

Laura, I must admit that aside from the Marvin Gaye song, I don't even know the songs on your list! Age difference or taste difference? But now I guess I should go listen to those!

allan said...

Judging from your other choices, I'd say age. Maybe L can include links to the songs in the main post.

Amy said...

And I just realized you made Blowing in the Wind number 11. (I read too quickly...)

laura k said...

No, not age. It's not like most of these songs are from my youth.

Amy, I think it's because you don't follow music. Not that I follow new sounds, but I listen to a lot of different music, and I think (based on what you've said in gamethreads) that you don't.

Also, I worked on the list - started with about 50 songs (including what you and John have listed here) and whittled it down to 11.

laura k said...

Maybe L can include links to the songs in the main post.

Sorry. They're all googleable, I'm sure.

Allan, you can put in links if you like, but if you do, please point them to standard, recognizable versions.

Amy said...

Yeah, I don't follow music. I also have trouble deciphering lyrics on many songs so rarely know what they are about unless I pull the lyrics up on the computer and read them. These days I almost only listen to classical music and sometimes to the music from the 60s and 70s that I already know. Comfort in familiarity.

laura k said...

And I just realized you made Blowing in the Wind number 11. (I read too quickly...)

That's ok, it bears repeating.

allan said...

Another REM song: Until The Day Is Done

laura k said...

music from the 60s and 70s that I already know

Right, that's what I meant. My musical frame of reference is broader, I think.

Another REM song: Until The Day Is Done

Another: Mr. Richards.

Also: Flowers of Guatemala.

Amy said...

My musical frame of reference is broader, I think.

No need to think about that---it clearly is! :)

johngoldfine said...

"Richard Thompson, with a live version..."

Richard Thompson is always with us here in Swanville--my second grandson was named 'Thompson' by two big RT fans, son and daughter-in-law.

allan said...

I added links to the main post.

& For Amy: The studio version of the Richard Thompson song has lyrics posted. :>)

Kev said...

Dick Gaughan : Why Old Men Cry

http://youtu.be/Jk06k64ZyJc

Buffy Sainte-Marie - Universal Soldier

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGWsGyNsw00

laura k said...

Allan just noticed there is no #8! This has been written for weeks, we've both proofed it... *sigh*.

#8 coming soon.

laura k said...

my second grandson was named 'Thompson' by two big RT fans, son and daughter-in-law.

Really nice!

allan said...

There must be a TON of good anti-war rap songs.

laura k said...

There must be a TON of good anti-war rap songs.

Yes, and I probably know many people who would know some. Unfortunately most will not see this post.

Kev said...

You asked The Perceptionists - Memorial Day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtAiwk_5Lzs

laura k said...

Thanks, Kev!

laura k said...

KRS-One is an obvious place to look, although I can't think of any titles.

laura k said...

Better link for KRS-One

allan said...

2 rap songs

Paris, AWOL
Eminem, Mosh

David Cho said...

Shocked that With God on Our Side is nowhere near the list! But then I am not familiar with any of the top 10 songs!

Hi Laura :).

David Cho said...

One of my favs: Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream by E. McCurdy.

laura k said...

Hi David! And you've just added two. :)

Amy said...

Wow, I'd forgotten those two. Great songs. (And I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't know almost all of Laura's top ten.)

laura k said...

You know, the post doesn't say these are my top 10. :)

These are simply 11 (not 10) anti-war songs. I wasn't going for my faves or best-of - I was going for different styles and genres.

Amy said...

OK, Laura's eleven that are at the top of her post? :)