Music History

Published on April 27th, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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The Ongoing History of New Music, Encore Presentation: Songs of Protest and Dissent

Sometimes people get so pissed off or so inspired by something that they just have to sing about it. This is the protest song, an artform that has been with us for centuries. It’s music that encourages political and social change. And if done right—and if circumstances are correct—the song can mobilize people to take action, lift spirits and annoy (or even scare) authorities of the establishment.

Protest music comes in all forms: classical, folk, reggae, pop, hip hop and, of course, rock. It can rail against war, demand social justice, call out politicians and petition for greater rights for women, minorities, labour and the marginalized.The singers and musicians behind this music may be regarded as thought leaders, social influencers and even prophets—and least for a time. What I’d like to go is go through the history of protest in

What I’d like to go is go through the history of protest in song from the world of alt-rock, those times when a loud guitar becomes tool for making things better—for everyone.

Songs from this week’s show include:

  • Dropkick Murphys, “Fortunate Son”
  • MC5, “Kick Out the Jams”
  • Sex Pistols, “God Save the Queen”
  • Clash, “Guns of Brixton”
  • DOA, “My Old Man’s a Bum”
  • English Beat, “Stand Down Margaret”
  • The Smiths, “The Queen is Dead”
  • Rage Against the Machine, “Killing in the Name”
  • Green Day, “Wake Me When September Ends”

Here’s a playlist from Eric Wilhite.

Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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