For decades, music has had a great impact on the cultural and political processes in society. The songs have inspired people for acts of bravery and condemning injustice; they’ve been raising hope and shaping the world view of many generations. Let’s recall the 9 songs that have made a difference for the world and keep changing it right as we speak.
Billie Holiday – “Strange Fruit” (1939)
In 1999, Time magazine named Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” the song of the century. This is a song-protest against accepting a violent reality where people are lynched for the color of their skin.
John Lennon – “Imagine” (1971)
Probably, John Lennon’s most famous song – it is a musician’s manifest about his idea of the perfect world. Imagine the planet with no wars, poverty, and hunger; the world, where all people are brothers and sisters and architects of their own fortune.
Sex Pistols – “God Save The Queen” (1977)
The anthem of the 1970s young generation that rejects to live according to the obsolete rules. Sex Pistols wrote this song especially for the Birthday and Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. They played it on the boat, navigating past the Palace of Westminster.
Public Enemy – “Fight the Power” (1989)
The track of the legendary band Public Enemy is a message to every black American with the urge to fight for their rights. Since 1989, rap has no longer been just another entertaining music style. From that year on, a mic in the performer’s hand became a torch, lighting the path to freedom.
Bob Dylan – “Blowin ‘in the Wind” (1962)
A song that made the then novice folk singer Bob Dylan overwhelmingly popular and gave the world hope.
The Beatles – “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (1964)
74 million people were live watching and listening to the four British guys offering a strange young lady to hold her hand. At that moment, millions of girls dreamt of finding themselves in that stranger’s place. The Beatles started winning over the world to change the face of rock and pop music forever.
Band Aid – “Do they Know it’s Christmas” (1984)
Can the music speak out about injustice and is it capable of inspiring for something truly wonderful? Since 1984, there has been no doubt in that. Thanks to the legendary Live AID marathon and “Do they Know it’s Christmas” song, performed by the top musicians of their time, 24 million dollars were raised to aid people in Africa suffering from famine.
Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)
Every young generation has its icons and idols. In the 1990s, it was Nirvana – the group that made rock music popular and rebellious again. As a side effect, it also started a trend for checked shirts and loosen jumpers.
Edwin Starr – “War” (1970)
This is probably the world’s greatest anti-war hit, which names things exactly as they are. Why can’t we live in peace? Who needs wars? Edwin Starr knows the answers to these questions.
Not every song, of course, can change the world but every song, played in the right time and right place, can improve your spirit – and it’s quite a lot already. Love, peace, rock-n-roll!