Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, Episode 757: 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”

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

We’re still looking for more affiliates in 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.

If you’re in the US and you want to stream the show, I wish I could help. A performing rights organization called SESAC has made threatening noises about suing non-American radio stations who dare stream into the US without paying crazy fees. Most Canadian broadcasters had no choice but to geo-block their streams. But hey, if you know of an American station that would like to take the show, contact me and we’ll make it a priority.

OneFM in Singapore says they’ll take the show sometime in June.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38443 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “The Ongoing History of New Music, Episode 757: Protest and Dissent

  • Alan, love your program! One great, less well-known protest song that you might want to consider (although too late for this week, I’m sure) is “2 + 2 = ?” by the Bob Seger System from 1968. It is perhaps the best Anti-Viet Nam War song that most people haven’t heard. The lyrics still resonate today.


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