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Three Great Protest Songs

Updated on June 19, 2013

There are some protest songs that are obviously protest songs, and there are others which many people don't even realize are protest songs. Below are three of my favorites. Feel free to suggest others in the comments section!

Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen

This song has often been misunderstood by flag wavers who just assume this is about how great it is to be American. In fact, it is a song protesting how American troops returning from Vietnam were mistreated by not only left-wing anti-war protesters and the labor market, but by their own government as well. Lack of care for vets lead to many returning soldiers' lives going into tailspins. Unemployment, substance abuse and neglect was the price many draftees paid for having been born in the USA at that time.

In the Year 2525 - Zager and Evans

This has pretty straight forward lyrics about fear of technology taking over the world. However, there is something refreshing in the pessimism of the lyrics and the tune. Sure, robots and technology and pills will run human beings in the future, but the fatalistic atmosphere of the song makes me feel good. It is as if there is nothing we can do about the advent of technology, so we may as well just go with it, no matter what the consequences will be. We will always want to know how far we can push technological boundaries, even to our own detriment.

Barry McGuire - Eve of Destruction

This is a scathing attack on the hypocrisy of US society in the 1960s, at the height of the Vietnam War, the Cold War and during the Civil Rights movement. The lyrics are really powerful and in your face. Unfortunately, McGuire later became a Born Again Christian and for some reason apologized for this songs and for many of his other older songs. Needless to say he never achieved anything as good as this song and some of his other '60s material.


Which of the three songs is your favorite?

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