Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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My top 20 political songs

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



3 comments on “My top 20 political songs

  1. jemima2013
    August 23, 2014

    great choices, ones i would add are

    that’s entertainment, the jam….well the personal is political

    White riot the clash

    Bloody Sunday, SLF, actually a clever punk song tho i am sure lots of English fans didnt get the references

    Tramp the earth down Elvis costello

    ship building Elvis Costello

    Is it worth it
    A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
    And a bicycle on the boy’s birthday
    It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
    By the women and children
    Soon we’ll be shipbuilding

    and any and al Dylan songs, depending on how he wants them to be seen at any moment, tho Maggies Farm in the 80s was just the perfect song


  2. nrkatalyst
    August 23, 2014

    Great selection, I’d personally have to add the Worker’s Song by Dropkick Murphy’s


    • jemima2013
      August 23, 2014

      ohhhh off to google 🙂


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This entry was posted on August 23, 2014 by in Uncategorized.

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