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Let’s sing it! Songs for ‘ordinary’ people

Written By: - Date published: 11:55 am, October 19th, 2012 - 109 comments
Categories: activism, class war, democratic participation, history, music, Revolution, video, workers' rights - Tags:

Revolutions, political movements and protests are fueled by songs.  They bring people together in common cause, draw attention to devastating conditions, tell stories of unbearable hardship, reassure the oppressed that they are not alone, and inspire people to take political action.

Nina Simone sings ‘Pirate Jenny’ Lyrics

I woke up the other morning with this Pulp song in my head.  It’s catchy and very much naff 90s fashion in style and clothes  – the days when consumer society was dominant and unavoidable.  However, in it’s time it was a great pop song attack on wealthy pseuds who want to ease their conscience by slumming it with the “common” folk – without understand the daily struggles of people on low and mediocre incomes. Common People

This thread is for sharing your favourite songs that tell of the struggles of ordinary people: of social issues, community solidarity, protests, political movements and revolution.  It’s also for you to comment on, and tell stories of, and about such songs.

Hope you get to spend Labour Weekend the way you want to! And take a moment to ponder on its significance.

Update: From Rosie comes the topical video of the day so far Home Brew ‘Listen to Us’.

109 comments on “Let’s sing it! Songs for ‘ordinary’ people”

  1. s y d 1

    heres my two to kick it off, Gil Scott-Heron, Woody Guthrie

    the revolution will be live!

  2. Pete Segar’s version of which side are you on.  The song was written by Florence Reece, the wife of Sam Reece who was a union leader of the coal miners in Kentucky in 1931.  The miners and management were involved at the time in a bloody, violent struggle.  The song is particularly relevant for some supposedly lefty politicians …

  3. King Kong 3

    My politcal anthems are;

    Shoplifters of the World Unite – The Smiths
    Freeedom isn’t free (theres a heafty fuck’n fee) – Team America World Police
    Jake the peg – Rolf Harris

    • Why am I not surprised that a RWNJ celebrates songs that deal with theft, the loss of freedom and the making fun of someone with a disability …

      • King Kong 3.1.1

        The same reason I am not suprised by the total sense of humour failure by a bleeding heart lefty.

        • mickysavage 3.1.1.1

          But KK this is meant to be a celebratory discussion of passionate activist songs and you turn up and do the equivalent of farting in church …

          • King Kong 3.1.1.1.1

            Which is really funny…unless you are some kind of pious dork.

            • mickysavage 3.1.1.1.1.1

              You miss the point KK.  Song and music are extraordinarily important parts of the class struggle.  They transmit really important ideas like solidarity and pride and resistance and justice.

              And you show up during a discussion about their importance and come out with some really naif stuff like an idiot song that an Australian celebrity put out 40 years ago.

              It is really naff.  It is an insult to a really important discussion.

              And instead of poking fun how about you acknowledge that you have no understanding of what is being discussed.

    • Rosie 3.2

      Bloody hell KK. We agree on something – The Smiths, Shoplifters of the world Unite.

    • QoT 3.3

      … you do realise that the TAWP song is taking the piss, right?

  4. Shorts 4

    Crass -Systematic Death

    A look at modern day life in its very depressing reality

  5. just saying 5

    Too many songs to mention.

    However, the two I’ve found myself humming today are:

    Joseph Arthur – We travel as equals or not at all….*

    …..and Making Plans for Nigel -XTC (because of the title of a recent blogpost at BR).

    And while we’re on the subject of the fabulous Nina Simone – Four Women:

    *also posted today in a comment lost in moderation

  6. Olwyn 6

    Two songs from two eras: Joshua Gone Barbados

    and

    Navigator by the Pogues:

  7. Bless ya Karol ….

    “Top rankin” – Bob Marley and the Wailers
    “Run to the hills” – Iron Maiden
    “War Pigs” – Black Sabbath
    “Killing yourself to live” – Black Sabbath
    “Animals” – Pink Floyd
    “You keep on moving” – Deep Purple

    “It serves me right to suffer” – John Lee Hooker
    “Strange Fruit” – Billie Holiday

    “Mayland Blues” – Mahatma Blues (Cheers bbf)
    “Toughman Blues” – Mahatma Blues
    “I’ve got the Blues” – Mahatma Blues

    Anything by Chris Cornell

    Have a great Weekend everyone 🙂
    PS So many more, couldn’t put them all in Sorry M8’s

  8. What? No Sex Pistols? no Clash?

    How about Ted Nugent? Heh.

  9. The Woodpecker 9

    Tracy Chapman ” Talkin about a Revolution”
    Never learned to link sorry!

  10. This song is for all wannabe politicians everywhere …

  11. captain hook 11

    the times they are a-changin’– the byrds.
    where have all the flowers gone–pete seeger.
    little boxes.
    powderfinger–neil young.
    hey hey my my–neil young.
    and once you’re gone then you cant come back.
    when you’re out of the blue and into the black.

  12. captain hook 12

    MY GENERATION—-THE WHO.

  13. just saying 13

    Pink, and the song’s author from Four Non-Blondes, (now oddly blonde) along with an auditorium of back-up singers, belt out the anthem “What’s Going On”

  14. Olwyn 14

    The list would feel incomplete without Sound of da Police:

  15. “We may rise and fall, but in the end
    We meet our fate together”

    ~Creed ‘One’ (lyrics only)

  16. They’ll try to, push drugs that keep us all dumbed down
    And hope that, we will never see the truth around
    (So come on)

    Another promise, another seed
    Another, packaged lie to keep us trapped in greed
    And all the, green belts wrapped around our minds
    And endless red tape to keep the truth confined
    (So come on)

    They will not force us
    They will stop degrading us
    They will not control us
    We will be victorious
    So come on

    ~Muse ‘Uprising’ (lyrics only)

  17. Akldnut 17

    Strawbs – Part of the union 1973

    Now I’m a union man
    Amazed at what I am
    I say what I think
    That the company stinks
    Yes I’m a union man.

    When we meet in the local hall
    I’ll be voting with them all
    With a hell of a shout
    It’s out brothers out
    And the rise of the factory’s fall.

    Oh you don’t get me I’m part of the union
    You don’t get me I’m part of the union
    You don’t get me I’m part of the union
    Till the day I die, till the day I die.

    I loved this song then and I still do!

    • rosy 17.1

      +1 there are lots from when I was very young – almost all my politics was learned through music, but the Thatcher years brought many more. Standing the test of time for me is almost
      everything from Big Country’s Steeltown.

      Especially Steeltown,
      http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=e3Veko70OfQ&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3De3Veko70OfQ&gl=GB
      and

      Where the rose is sown,

      http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=-pBfIMLzDfE&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D-pBfIMLzDfE&gl=GB

      Need to interpret the Scottish accents, but.

      Notable mention from this era is the Modfather… Paul Weller and the much maligned Style Council

      [karol: I couldn’t get the videos at your link to work. They seem to be on mobile. I think I found the right ones and added them to your comment. Hope that’s OK?]

      • karol 17.1.1

        Ah, I use to have that Big Country album on vinyl, rosy.  They satrted about the same time as U2, but didn’t seem to last as long in the mainstream.

        • Rosie 17.1.1.1

          Stuart Adamson of Big Country suicided in his early (or was it mid?) forties. He was a recovering alcoholic and had been sober for upwards of ten years until something triggered him to drink again. He quickly became unwell and suicided a few months after taking up the drink. RIP. Stuart Adamson. He was a man with such potential.

          • karol 17.1.1.1.1

            That’s really sad, Rosie.  I just listened to those 2 songs again.  Brought back memories. I had that LP when I was living in London.  My grandparents were rom working class Scottish families, so I feel some connection with that country, and those songs – albeit a distant connection.

          • rosy 17.1.1.1.2

            Thanks for fixing the links Karol. I was logging in on a tablet so must remember to check for problems next time I do that. I was in Scotland, so couldn’t resist posting. Ditto re Scottish working class roots.

            Yes, Rosie – terribly sad about Stuart. Self-medicating with alcohol for depression never ends well, i guess. Apparently the song ‘east of eden’ is the personal description of his depression. I managed to see him perform live a few times. An extremely talented man who spoke for a lot of people, including me.

  18. mike 18

    What no ‘Hurricane’ by Bob Dylan?

  19. Cayte Shepherd 19

    I am reading the biography of Michael Joseph Savage ‘From the Cradle to the Grave’ by Barry Gustafson.
    At this torrid time in our history I think this ought to be a compulsory read.
    It is very very good.

  20. It’s a bit camp but Dire Straits Industrial Disease is pretty relevant.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Disease_(song)

  21. Clashman 21

    A liilte cliche perhaps but for mine you cant go past Rage Against The Machine – all of it.
    Try this one, “Wake Up”

    The Clash -” Know Your Rights”

    “White Riot”

  22. aj 23

    Youngstown. – The Boss at his best

    “Well my daddy come on the Ohio works
    When he come home from World War Two
    Now the yard’s just scrap and rubble
    He said “Them big boys did what Hitler couldn’t do.
    “These mills they built the tanks and bombs
    That won this country’s wars
    We sent our sons to Korea and Vietnam
    Now we’re wondering what they were dyin’ for”

    “From the Monongahela valley
    To the Mesabi iron range
    To the coal mines of Appalachia
    The story’s always the same
    700 tons of metal a day
    Now sir you tell me the world’s changed
    Once I made you rich enough
    Rich enough to forget my name”

  23. …I dedicate these following lyrics to DunnoKeyO Ltd & Co because I tracked them down after having started recalling the main chorus after spending a lot of time thinking about DKO ltd co’s activities. (no guesses why).

    We’re setting sail to the place on the map
    from which no one has ever returned
    Drawn by the promise of the joker and the fool
    by the light of the crosses that burned.

    It’s the place where they keep all the darkness you need.
    You sail away from the light of the world on this trip, baby.

    Avarice and greed are gonna drive you over the endless sea
    They will leave you drifting in the shallows
    or drowning in the oceans of history
    Traveling the world, you’re in search of no good
    but I’m sure you’ll build your Sodom like you knew you would
    Using all the good people for your galley slaves
    as you’re little boat struggles through the warning waves, but you don’t pay

    You will pay tomorrow
    You’re gonna pay tomorrow
    You will pay tomorrow

    Save me. Save me from tomorrow
    I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools. No, no
    Oh, save me. Save me from tomorrow
    I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools

    ~World Party Ship of Fools (lyrics only)

    N.b. Interesting that this song was created at a time when the neo con was taking hold worldwide…

  24. Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M get the money, dollar dollar bill yo…

  25. Rosie 26

    Good on you Karol. We all have our own soundtracks to our personal views and experiences of social and political change – with old faves and new ones. It’s quite funny because as I hopped on to this article this was playing on Radio Active:
    Homebrew (NZ): :Listen to us

    Heres some others:
    Tom Waits: Hell broke Luce from last years album “Bad as me”

    The Hot Grits (NZ) with the Ballad of Joe Stalin

    80’s classic from Patti Smith: People have the power

    Gary Clail:Privatise the air (suck in in like a millionaire)

    Finally, but only because I’ll run out room heres Clanadonia. Why? because they are crazy neo pagan Scots dudes and theres nothing like drums and pipes to stir the blood

    • karol 26.1

      Ah so many good songs from commenters here.  Some of my old favourites – Billy Bragg, Woody, the Boss, Tracey Chapman, Nina Simone, Patti Smith, Dylan, Seeger, Gil Scott Heron …. and many more plus some I’ve enjoyed seeing for the first time.
       
      But, Rosie that Homebrew Video must be the topical choice of the day.  I want to see if I can add the link to it to an update to my post. Having a bit of a problem because I’m not getting a “visual” view of my editable post, only the html view – will see if I can get it to work.

      • Rosie 26.1.1

        Hi Karol. Sorry can’t make any suggestions re computer sorcery with that link….thats not my area of expertise unfortunately. The Homebrew song was released prior to the election last year. And does any one remember Upper Hutt Posse? Well they’re back with an album they bought out last year. It is excellent political and social commentary. Have heard songs from the album and listened to interviews but haven’t got a copy as yet. I still say “album”. LOL.

        • karol 26.1.1.1

          Ah, yes,. I remember the Hombrew song last election.  It highlights Keys conveniently faulty memory, his dishonesty and his  slipperiness, as well as some issues that are even more crucial now. Why didn’t more people pay attention?

  26. Phil 27

    Still brings tears and rage.
    Damn the Tories no matter which country they call “home”.

    • Phil 27.1

      Oh, and before the Nationalists start yelling Pom!

    • The Woodpecker 27.2

      Epic Phil. Loved the comments. I have a friend from Liverpool who is saving a bottle of “special” for when the day comes.

  27. Roy 28

    Richard Thompson’s Time to Ring Some Changes.

    This old house is a tumbling down
    The walls are gone but the roof is sound
    The landlord’s deaf, he can never be found
    It’s time to ring some changes

    They’ll arrest you son if you just stand still
    They’ll ask you to pose with your hand in the till
    They’ll ask you to die when you’ve written your will
    It’s time to ring some changes

    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes

    You earn your money for your daily bread
    But the bread’s gone up so you need more money
    But the money’s gone down, better borrow instead
    It’s time to ring some changes

    Now the politicians, they look so smug
    They say tell the truth, then they give you a shrug
    You might find the truth swept under the rug
    It’s time to ring some changes

    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes

    Now listen here to the self-made man
    He says why can’t you if I can
    Can’t you push buttons, can’t you make plans
    It’s time to ring some changes

    I’m going to tear this mansion down
    Get my feet back on the ground
    Penny for penny and pound for pound
    It’s time to ring some changes

    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes
    Time to ring some changes

    Covers by various artists on YouTube, plus one of the man himself.

  28. Tiger Mountain 29

    Clash–“Washington Bullets”

  29. appleboy 30

    A lovely line from a Wellington boy, Samuel Flynn Scott , in his ‘Union Man”

    “Cut off the hands of old John Key, I’m a union man and I’ll never believe that you’re working for me”.

    Perfect then , perfect now.

  30. A.D. 31

    “Get up, stand up”, little wonder that Bob Marley was targeted for assassination and any by Rage Against the Machine especially “Know your enemy”

  31. Jenny 32

    Inspired by todays struggle for justice in the Middle East, From Mangere East our own Roger Fowler gives us his contribution to the genre of “Songs for ‘ordinary people’. Though written for the Palestinians the haunting chorus has a message for all of us.

    Since the fatal Marvie Marmara attacks Roger Fowler twice entered the Palestinian territory of Gaza in defiance of the brutal and illegal Israeli siege at the head of the Kiaora Gaza delegation part of two recent successful international siege busting convoys into Gaza where from first hand experience he was inspired to write this song.

    Queens Service medal winner, and Mangere East Learning Centre founding manager, Roger Fowler sings his own tribute to the struggles of the Palestinians. Accompaniment by Tigi Ness.

    http://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/kia-ora-gazas-new-song-we-are-all-palestinians/

    With two successful aid missions under his belt, next month Roger Fowler is going to attempt to enter Gaza for a third time. This time for an extended journalistic fact finding mission to explore and report back on the weakening of the siege of Gaza in the wake of the Arab Spring.

    In the tradition of Woody Guthrie Roger Fowler is a version of political activist, balladeer and true working class hero.

  32. Daveosaurus 33

    “But don’t kid yourself that none of us know
    That when money disappears, where it all goes
    You want our work ethic and you want us to strive
    To fund gold-plated piss-pots on Paratai Drive”

    – Verlaines, “Paratai Drive (a musical Ponzi scheme in one act)”

  33. uke 34

    “Gladiators” by the Irish folksing Andy Irvine.

    An inspiring song about the IWW activist the UK-born Tom Barker, who was in NZ during the 1912 Waihi strike and then moved to Australia where he fought conscription during WWI. He was deported and eventually ended back in the UK, where he became mayor of St Pancras, London, and famously raised the red flag on the town hall!

    Lyrics here: http://www.andyirvine.com/lyrics/gladiators.html

    Sound file (WMA) here: http://www.freightandsalvage.org/gladiators-andy-irvine

    • karol 34.1

      Thanks for that uke.  I listened to it 2 or 3 times while I was doing some chores.  It is a powerful song. 
      And as Jenny says below of balladeers, folk singers have been the traditional story tellers of ordinary people.  I’m a bit of a history buff.  Also the Gladiators song reminded me of the times in my youth that I hung out in folk clubs in Auckland, and occasionally in Sydney.
       
      Irish folk songs have a long tradition of telling stories of working people (very apt for Labour Weekend).  The bit in the song about working men fighting imperialist wars,  reminded me of the Aussie singer Judy Small’s moving ballad about women’s experiewnce during the main imperialist wars: ‘Mothers, Daughters, Wives.
       
      The best version of her singing it that I could find on yt, was this one – pity about the US-based images in the video (especially the flag waving at the end – wasn’t the intention of the song originally).
       
      And while on yt I remembered this old ballad about Joe Hill – Joan Baez.

  34. Jenny 35

    In ancient times balladeers played the role that the media now play. Setting stories and struggles and sagas to music and rhyme, spreading the news through songs and stories from town to town throughout the land.

    Someone should write a song about Sam Kuha.

    This got very little reporting, but I heard the news of Sam kuha’s victory over WINZ today on Radio NZ.

    After being turned down for a food grant. And after a marathon electric scooter ride to his home and back to get a hammer. And after smashing the Windows at Work and Income to get attention to his plight. And after going on hunger strike. Sam Kuha has gained an extra $100 dollars a week in his benefit and a promise of an audience with the minister.

    So far Paula Bennet hasn’t followed through on that promise.

    But Sam is receiving the promised extra $100 per week. He says he can now afford luxuriess like an occasional cup of coffee.

    • captain hook 35.1

      Jenny have you listened to the radio lately.
      its all whining gamines and jibber jibber crap music or all about me me me me me.
      nobody thinks about anybody else but themselves these days.
      its their choice.
      But congrats to Sam Kuha.
      I hear what you say.
      You had to break the law to make the bastards pay.
      only a hundred bucks for a little bit of gravy.
      pull yourself together boy and go an join the navy.
      Make up your mind dude and you could be an all black.
      its al in th emind if you a job seeker.
      dont talk back.
      the futures looking bleaker.
      Sam you are a hero.
      you took it on the chin.
      even for the people who said you couldnt win.

  35. QoT 36

    What, no Bad Religion yet?

    Punk Rock Song
    Let Them Eat War

    Midnight Oil – Blue Sky Mine
    The Living End – Roll On
    Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name Of
    Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA

  36. BLiP 37

    .

    Cool thread – thanks all. My two cents: http://youtu.be/monyiOsoKxg

  37. mac1 38

    Dick Gaughan for me. “A World Turned Upside Down” about the 17th century Diggers which has huge parallels today; and also his song “Jamie Foyers” about a young Scotsman going off to “fight by the side of the people of Spain.”

    Woody Guthrie’s “Deportees”, of course, Bob Dylan’s “With God on Their Side” and Pete Seeger’s “The Banks are made of Marble” which I once sang as a young man with Prof Jim Flynn. “I Don’t Want Your Millions, Mister” and “Which Side Are You On” which I sang with Kerry Burke who knew the good songs.

    But the most powerful of all is “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” by Skip James.

    They say that the Left have the good songs (who knows of a good right wing song?) but that we lose the battles. Though I’m a performer of these good songs, I know I’d much prefer to win the battles…….

  38. captain hook 39

    me and my guitar–Freddie King (Texas Cannonball)
    *****

  39. Herodotus 40

    Prefer this version of common people, Joe Jackson complements Capt. Kirk

    Then we have these, one from a sometime local resident from SOTD

    and a song warning of doing nothing

  40. Descendant Of Smith 42

    The Skids – Working For The Yankee Dollar

    Never more than now do I feel this.

    Proclaimers – Cap In Hand

    Sentiments spoken clearly and articulately – and in our country we see it being sold and our citizens cold, hungry and homeless right here right now.

    The Clash – Career Opportunities

    170,000 jobs x 2 not coming to you soon

    And of course the jobs they want you to have:

    The Clash – Clampdown

    Lastly two New Zealand classics. One for the ignoring of current day poverty and the other about the shitty attitude to the enviornment and the controlling of water by private interests.

    Blam Blam Blam – There is no depression in NZ

    John Hanlon – Damn The Dam

  41. captain hook 43

    eve of destruction–barry maguire

  42. Rogue Trooper 44

    from the left-threaded nut job 😉
    (big ups to DLT and Che Fu)

    Are you Lost in The Supermarket? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWtylSdKSfA

    Dylan-Infidels
    Third Day-“I will always be true”
    Fleetwood Mac- “and I Go Insane, without our Silver Springs”
    Icehouse- “Can’t help Myself”
    Tull- Pibroch-Cap In Hand
    Bob Segar-Turn The Page (or Metallica)
    Pearl Jam
    Kate Bush-“Man with the Child in His Eyes”
    Byrds sing Dylan
    Emmy-Lou “All My Tears”
    Heart-Magic Man
    Concrete Blonde-Scene of a Perfect Crime; Ship Song; It’s A Mans World (James Brown)
    God Is A Bullet
    Bob Marley-Buffalo Soldiers
    Glen Campbell-Try A Little Kindness
    Dolly Parton-Silver Dagger (trad.)
    Van Halen-Human Beings
    Florence and The Machine, well that’s What The Water Gave Me
    Cranberries
    Plant and Krauss-Raising Sand-“Please Read The Letter…Through The Morning, Through The Night.”
    Neil Young-Cortez The Killer
    Cash-“if I were a carpenter…”
    Cat Stevens-Into White
    Gillian Welch “I Want To Sing That Rock and Roll”
    Deep Purple-“When A Blind Man Cries”
    Jimmy Lafave- “Shelter From The Storm”
    Portishead-‘It’s A Fire”
    Unbelievable Truth- “Settle Down” to a steady state economy
    Who-Love’s Not For Keeping
    Happy Mondays- Hallelujah
    ELP- Lucky Man
    Blondie-Union City Blue
    Steppenwolf-The Pusher and the SnowBlind Friend
    Floyd-Us and Them
    Pixies-This Monkey’s Gone To Heaven

    Now!, for the last freakin time (before I get arrested)

  43. Herodotus 45

    Thought that given the current position of NZ that someone would cover and update the lyrics or sample this to a current setting ??
    The Blams and Muldoon !!!!!

    • Adders 45.1

      Here it is: “We Have No Ambition For New Zealand” – Don McBrashen And The NACT Party Chorus

      and/or

      Without ambition…

      “We have no ambition for New Zealand
      We’re just making money for our friends
      We have no ambition for New Zealand
      We’ll be gone when it comes to an end

      Oh, and everybody’s talkin’ about John Key’s smile
      Everybody’s talkin’ about John Key’s smile
      But don’t you look into his eyes
      You’ll see what made Bill English cry

      We’ll sell your Health System
      We’ll sell your Kiwibank
      We’ll sell your ACC
      Look that way >>>>>>

      You won’t see, you won’t see

      No, no,

      We have no compassion for New Zealand
      Food parcels are all for lazy bums
      We have no compassion for New Zealand
      Even if welfare helped Key’s mum

      Oh, while everybody’s talkin’ about plastic boats
      We’re handing out your money to the Old School Coats
      You see, it’s not just cream that floats
      We’re hoping you won’t care or notice

      We’ll gut your Kindy schools
      We’ll drill some oil wells
      We’ll kill your workplace rights
      Can’t you see?

      Something smells, something smells

      Oh, oh,

      We have no ambition for New Zealand
      One more term we’ll get the things we want
      We have no ambition for New Zealand
      Hide the money in Dunne’s bouffant

      DUNNE’S BOUFFANT!”

      • Rosie 45.1.1

        A round of applause to you Adders! Choice.

      • Georgecom 45.1.2

        an update of the blamers classic:

        There is no depression in New Zealand;
        there are no sales of our farms,
        There is no depression in New Zealand;
        we can all keep perfectly calm,

        Everybody’s talking about poverty;
        everybody’s talking about poverty,
        But we’re as comfortable as can be,
        there’s no hungry kids in this country
        We have no dole queues, we have no Kiwi rail,
        we have no asset sales, we have no private jails, private jails, no, no

        There is no depression in New Zealand;
        There are no bribes to Hollywood
        There is no depression in New Zealand;
        we sleep in a well made bed

        O Everybody’s talking about poverty;
        everybody’s talking about poverty,
        But we’re as comfortable as can be,
        there’s no unrest in this country
        We have no John Banks, we have no John Key,
        we have no secrets; we have no GCSB, GCSB,

        There is no depression in New Zealand;
        there are no sales of our farms,
        There is no depression in New Zealand;
        oh we can all keep perfectly calm,
        perfectly calm, perfectly calm, perfectly calm, perfectly calm…

  44. The Woodpecker 46

    Neil Young ” Rockin in the free world”
    Doobie Bros. “Taking it to the Street”

  45. captain hook 47

    the band–aint no more cane on the brazos.

  46. Chris 48

    Mr President…Pink

  47. Chris 49

    The Times They are a Changing…..Dylan

  48. Bruce 50

    Ballad Of The Working Man – Saxon

  49. Rogue Trooper 51

    Chillies’ “give it away give it away give it away now”
    (the witches get their “power” from the “world”; The White Wizard from Above)
    -Sir Ian (Gods and Monsters)

    “What’s The Story, Morning Glory?”-Oasis
    Last Chance Texaco-Joni
    Even Better Than The “real thing”- U2

    (Nobody’s Fault But Mine)-Lead

    White Magic For Lovers-“El President”

    The Verve-Urban Hymns
    -Space and Time
    -Weeping Willow

    Mazzy Star-Amen

    (No Talking Just Head)

  50. captain hook 52

    WPA Blues–Sonny Terry

  51. Jenny 53

    One of the most powerful political songs of the 21st Century must surely be Ibrahim Qashoush’s famous song;

    “It’s time for you to go Bashar!”

    Sung before a vast crowd in Hama and posted on the internet Qashoush’s song half rap half traditional raga went viral, inspiring ordinary Syrian people to take up arms to depose the regime, especially after Qashoush was cruelly murdered, his throat cut. The words of Qashoush’s song are spray painted on walls and chanted in pro-democracy protests across the country, recordings even played in armed clashes with the army.

  52. just saying 54

    Very late in the piece I know, but no-one else has posted the powerful, sad, chilling, ‘Maralinga’ – by Paul Kelly.

    Based on testimony from the Aboriginal victims of the Maralinga atomic tests.

  53. gorj 55

    This one is huge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AjgWyxJAGQ
    Home Brew – Listen to us

  54. captain hook 56

    Salt of the Earth–The Rolling Stones.

  55. Georgecom 57

    Some of my fav protest songs over the years:

    Of course, NZ fav, French Letter by Herbs. Defined a significant period in my development & it has a cool laid back vibe. Still listen to it and feel the strong message it contains.

    “Look our any window”, Bruce Hornsby. One of the first enviro songs I heard growing up, be aware of whats going on around you. Like above helped define some of my thinking.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOoq1-ib2vg&feature=related

    “Way it is”, same artist. Issues of poverty and race in the US. Some impact on my political views.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlRQjzltaMQ

    Living Colour – social issues in the US 1980s/90s
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xxgRUyzgs0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V5VkMqM07s
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2nnfonratU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7FX6sAL0Zw

    Razorlight “America”. Whether or not about the issue, captured the mood of the GFC & the Bush years.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPrqhPqLNcw

    Jeff Simmonds – Let’s Shut Down Waihopai. Very contemporary NZ protest song. esp with Key & GCSB. A good song as well.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tygCA75r30k

  56. Jenny 58

    Work your fingers to the bone
    Wadda y’ get?

    Boney fingers, boney fingers

  57. Jenny 59

    Rain coming down and the roof won’t hold’a
    I lost my job and I feel a little olda
    Car won’t run and our love’s grown colder

    Work your fingers to the bone
    Wadda y’ got…..?

    Boney fingers, boney fingers

    Grass won’t grow and the sun’s too hot
    The whole damned world is just about shot
    You might as well like it cos’ it’s all that we’ve got

    Work your fingers to the bone
    Wadda y’ got…..?

    Boney fingers, boney fingers

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