This is our truth, tell us yours
The New Statesman published their list here. It is, as is traditional with the New Statesman, a middle aged, transatlantic list. Mine probably will be, too, and is in no particular order.
1. Gil Scott-Heron – The Bottle – because there’s no better song about alienated men and women destroying themselves because of the futility of dreaming about building a better world. ‘Defenders of the dollar eagle / Said what you’re doing man ain’t legal’
2. Junior Murvin – Police and Thieves – ‘All the peace makers/ Turned war officers’ – just perfect….
3. Bruce Springsteen – Born In The USA – If it needs explaining you probably haven’t listened hard enough
4. Millie Jackson – A Child of God (It’s Hard To Believe) – How can anyone go to church on Sunday, then wear a sheet on Monday?
5. Staple Singers – Respect Yourself
‘Oh, you cuss around women folk
And you don’t even know their names
And you dumb enough to think
That’ll make you a big ol man’
6. Billy Bragg – Between The Wars
7. Robert Wyatt – Shipbuilding
8. Tracy Chapman – Fast Car – Another song about drink, low pay and the dream of a life somewhere else, as if Chapman was channelling all of Springsteen’s Nebraska album.
9. Prince – Sign O’The Times – Political funk perfection about a big disease with a little name
10. Steeleye Span and every drunken folk singer north of the Wash – Blackleg Miner – with bonus credibility points for anyone who gets the place names right, unlike Maddy Prior.
11. Manic Street Preachers – Let Robeson Sing
12. The Nightwatchman – Ballad of Joe Hill
13. Tom Robinson – Glad to be Gay
14. Sister Rosetta Tharpe – This Train – The song that inspired Bruce Springsteen’s Land of Hope and Dreams, and hundreds of others, but oh the power and the courage of a black woman singing that this train don’t carry no Jim Crow and no discrimination, and everyone is treated just like a man on this train.
15. Peter Gabriel – Biko
16. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five – White Lines -just edging out The Message
17. Rory Gallagher – Loanshark Blues
18. Alex Glasgow – The Socialist ABC
19. Curtis Mayfield – People Get Ready
20.Manic Street Preachers – All We Make Is Entertainment –
The insides of our nation have been exposed
It only confirms what we already know
Pointless jobs just lead to pointless lives
It’s breaking up our bones, it’s breaking up our minds