A 21 Protest Song Salute

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Singer and activist Tom Morello says it’s his job as a musician “to steel the backbone of people on the front lines of social justice struggles, and to put wind in sails of those struggles.” Here’s a list of 21 songs that have done just that — from Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land to Public Enemy’s Fight the Power

Submit your own song suggestions in the comments below. If you have protest songs of your own on YouTube, include links to them or tag them “moyersprotestsongs”.

[Warning to parents and teachers: Some songs contain profanity. Also, Moyers & Company and Public Affairs Television do not endorse any advertisements or promotional links contained within the embedded videos.]

Which Side Are You On, Florence Reece (1931)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYr09q9dHSo&w=420&h=315]

Strange Fruit, Billie Holiday (1939)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ZyuULy9zs&w=420&h=315]

This Land Is Your Land, Woody Guthrie (1940/1944)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyGPyFacg3w&w=420&h=315]

We Shall Overcome, sung here by Joan Baez (traditional)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkNsEH1GD7Q&w=420&h=315]

Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Cash (1955)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5Ts4M3irWM&w=420&h=315]

A Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke (1964)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbO2_077ixs&w=420&h=315]

Times They Are A-Changing, Bob Dylan (1964)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCWdCKPtnYE&w=420&h=315]

Compared to What? Les McCann and Eddie Harris (1969)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzvlivbptXk&w=420&h=315]

Fortunate Son, Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ec0XKhAHR5I&w=420&h=315]

Give Peace A Chance, John Lennon (1969)

John Lennon – Give Peace A Chance by hushhush112

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Gil Scott-Heron (1970)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6OASOH_66A&w=420&h=315]

Ohio; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1970/1974)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnOoNM0U6oc&w=560&h=315]

What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye (1971)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzPA-FrVu3I&w=420&h=315]

Get Up, Stand Up , Bob Marley (1973)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7iXcKKpdx0&w=420&h=315]

Zombie, Fela Kuti (1977)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=godPOaurk6w&w=560&h=315]

F— tha Police, N.W.A (1988)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDlHgkKDUVo&w=420&h=315]

Fight the Power, Public Enemy (1989/1990)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_t13-0Joyc&w=560&h=315]

The Ghost of Tom Joad, Bruce Springsteen, featuring Tom Morello (1995)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLFLrTnue9s&w=420&h=315]

Clandestino Manu Chao, (1998)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSEUH4KRfN8&w=420&h=315]

Sleep Now in the Fire, Rage Against the Machine (1999)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w211KOQ5BMI&w=420&h=315]

American Idiot, Green Day (2004)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqZOYgUolC4&w=560&h=315]

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