Story behind the Protest Song: A Reference Guide to the 50 Songs That Changed the 20th Century, 1st Edition

  • Hardeep Phull
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 1567206859
  • ISBN-13: 9781567206852
  • DDC: 782.421592
  • Grade Level Range: 9th Grade - College Senior
  • 284 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2008 | Published/Released June 2009
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2008

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Features the most influential musical protests and statements recorded to date, providing pop-culture viewpoints on some of the most tumultuous times in modern history. Includes songs about the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, policy in the Middle East, teenage rebellion, animal rights, and criticisms of mass media.


"This volume does an outstanding job exploring the origins and influences of the protest song, from a detailed account of the civil rights anthem, "We Shall Overcome," to Green Day's denunciation of the U.S.-led "War on Terror" in its 2004 song, "American Idiot." The first chapter serves as the springboard for the rest of the work, delving into the many aspects that "We Shall Overcome," has taken on over the course of a century. The volume highlights fifty songs, with additional songs mentioned in numerous sidebars. The stories featured throughout the work are compelling, illustrating how "pop culture can provide such an effective insight into many other aspects of history." History teachers will appreciate the author's reflection that he only grasped the full effect of the 1970 Kent State shootings after listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Ohio." The entries are clearly organized, introducing the songwriter(s) and the inspiration that led to the featured song, then placing the songs in their social, political and cultural contexts. The author offers detailed analysis of the music and lyrics, going on to reflect on the song's lasting impact and modern relevance. While the work offers a thorough examination of protest songs within the 20th century timeframe, it points out that recent political events such as the war in Iraq have seen the protest song return to the mainstream. High school students will find the volume's language accessible and teachers can incorporate the interesting subject matter into cross-curricular units. An appendix of songs listed both chronologically and alphabetically, a bibliography of print and electronic sources and a general index round out the work. Highly recommended for high school and public libraries."--Doug's Student Reference Room, July 2009

— Doug Achterman

Table of Contents

Front Cover.
Half Title Page.
Title Page.
Copyright Page.
1: “We Shall Overcome”.
2: The Birth of a Nation (1939–1964).
3: Everybody Look What’s Going Down (1965–1968).
4: Where have all the Flowers Gone? (1968–1970).
5: Things Ain’t What They Used to be (1970–1974).
6: Raging Against The Machine (1977–1982).
7: Signs O’ The Times (1982–1985).
8: Rebels Without a Pause (1986–1993).
9: Modern Life is Rubbish (1994–1998).
About the Author.