Prev: «   |   Next: »
  • Anne Iredale

    It's everyone's right to protest (peacefully), but I'm standing with my placard saying 'Please like my list!'.

    • Timcubus

      where is buffalo springfield for what its worth or sto hey whats that sound????!!!!!!! CANT BELIEVE THATS IT MISSING eace and love

    • Lee McAteer

      OK, I like your list.

  • Anne, I liked your list and actually heard a few songs I had not heard before. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job.

  • No big disagreement with the list, but CCR's "Fortunate Son" oughta be in there somewhere.

  • John

    What about Buffalo Springfield's For What It's Worth.

  • Rick S

    Barry McGuire… "Eve of Destruction"?

  • Brandon G

    You should make another list of protest songs

    sense theres a few more good ones, too bad csny's "ohio" misses it by a year

  • Anne Iredale

    Thanks Mike

    I wasn't familiar with Fortunate Son – I listened and it's good.

    • Mike

      You are very welcome Anne. There are several good ones that came along later. Two of my favorites are “War Pigs” bu Black Sabbath and “Civil War” by Guns & Roses. Also, the greatest anti-war song of all time: “One Tin Soldier” by Coven. Originally recorded in 1969 by a Canadian band, the song was re-recorded by Coven in the 1971 film “Billy Jack.” I grew up in that era so I know a lot about this music.

  • Anne Iredale

    Thanks John

    For What It's Worth is actually one of my favourite songs. I didn't include it because Stephen Stills has said that it was written about the clash between the police and young protestors over the closing of a club on the Sunset Strip. Of course, it was taken up as a protest song and served that function well. But it wasn't written as a general protest song. Perhaps it was pedantic of me, but I like to be correct!

  • Anne Iredale

    Thanks Rick

    Eve of Destruction didn't quite make the cut – it would be in a Top 20

  • Anne Iredale

    Thanks Brandon

    Yes, Ohio is a powerful song. Perhaps there are possibilities for other lists?

  • Y/W, Annie. CCR was my fav. group back when I was a kid and "Fortunate Son" was my theme song. I was a poor boy in a county full of rich rancher's kids, so I knew I'd be drafted before any of them. (I was in the last lottery, my number was 14 but the draft ended my sr. yr. in h.s. Yes, I'm an old coot)

    Both of their "Rain" songs were subtle protest songs, too, IMHO.

    All today I thought of this topic (a good one!) and I thought of others, but another of my fav. songs of the era and genre would be Jimmy Cliff's "Vietnam". There are several vids on YouTube, but the best quality is the one w/ a single photo.

    Peter, Paul and Mary had several songs that *might* be protest songs: "If I Had a Hammer", "The Times They Are a'Changin'" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone".

    How about The Beatle's "Revolution"? John Lennon said "all our songs are anti-war".

    Joan Baez "We Shall Overcome"

    Just about anything from Phil Ochs.

    I was going to add "War" by Edwin Starr, but doing a search earlier, I found out it was released in 1970 (but was written the previous year)

    Again, great list. Had me thinking about it all day!

    • Richard Davis

      Another old coot checking in. The list is a good one, and there was many good songs from those times. I my self was looking at the draft, my lottery number was #1 when it was stopped in my last year of high school, so I think we were a couple of lucky old COOTS! Thanks for some good memories.

      • JNagarya

        “Old coot”? I was vocal against US involvement beginning in 1965, and became eligible for the draft the day I was graduated from high school, and on the streets nonviolently active during 1968, which was years before there was a lottery.

        But it wasn’t only about my draft status, from which terror I freed myself in early 1968, which freeing me up to be even more active against that involvement.

        But I still don’t know the meaning of “old coot,” perhaps because there’s no future in getting older so I’m going in the opposite direction.

  • Hair Splitter

    Pffft…I'm with Rick S. This list is bogus without Eve of Destruction.

    • BlackPhoenix

      I agree that song has so much meaning

      The Byrds did a awesome job on the song but will never take the place of the original

    • JNagarya

      “Eve of Destruction” was/is heavy-handed commercial crap, written to jump onto and make money from the antiwar bandwagon. It represented the very system that was behind US involvement in Vietnam.

      The leader in writing such songs was bobby d. Period. (Donovan was a Dylan clone.) Credible songs also came from Joan Baez (usually covers of Dylan), Phil Ochs (who becomes tiresome after awhile), and a few others.

      It’s a shame so many swear by Donovan’s cover of “Universal Soldier,” but haven’t gone to the recordings of the writer of it: Buffy Sainte-Marie.

      And note the way the original Byrds dressed: they were so inspired by “The Beatles” that they dressed as if British. They were conformists in that regard.

      The point is that uncritical thinking is a problem regardless on which “side” of an issue it sits.

  • heretoday

    "Some Mother's Son" off the Kinks' wonderful "Arthur" album, is an achingly beautiful, poignant protest of all wars and the men who die in them.

    "Some mother's son lies in a field/But in his mother's eyes he looks the same/as on the day he went away…"

    • JNagarya

      Try “Tin Soldier Man” from The Kinks’ “Something Else” LP from Fall, 1967.

  • Rick S

    Eve of Destruction is still relevant today…sadly.

  • Dan D

    One Tin Soldier-Coven

    • Mike

      Absolutely. This song was actually banned by the U.S. government they hated it so much. It should be #1 on the list.

      • JNagarya

        I doubt very much it was banned by the US gov’t. Especially as I’ve seen no evidence for such a claim, not even from you.

        The military-industrial complex is about corporations controlling gov’t. So why are you blaming the victim?

  • Technoziac

    "Master of war" and "give peace a change" were my favourite songs once upon a times.

    Those were wonderful days with high motivation and emotion.

  • nick

    Any songs about the war in Iraq???

    • Pepperman

      Pearl Jam – World Wide Suicide

      Neil Young – Living with War (full album)

      Sheryl Crow – God Bless This Mess

      Ben Harper- Both Sides of The Gun

      • I shall check your list out. Neil Young rocks!

    • Bert

      Not from the 60's!

  • G

    Who'll Stop the Rain.

    The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

    Skip A Rope

    War (what is it good for?)

    Okie From Oskoge (hey, it's protesting!)

  • Skip a Rope – haven't heard that for 40 years!

    Okie from Muskogee – apparently it was supposed to be satirical. Guess I was on the other side of te fence – made me smile though.

  • Pepperman

    As a child growing up in the 70s, I listened to my parents 60s folk records over & over. This is a superbly written list. My personal list would be slightly different, but I can't fault you for any of your choices.

    Some great songs not on this list (and not already mentioned above):

    The Doors – The Unknown Soldier (1968)

    The Rascals – People Got To Be Free (1968)

    Janis Ian – Society's Child (1966)

    James Brown – Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud (1968)

    Richie Havens – Freedom (1969 Woodstock performance)

    A bunch of early 70s protest songs are also great, but miss your criteria:

    Joan Baez – All the Weary Mothers of the Earth (1971)

    Bob Marley – War (1976)

    CCR – Run Through The Jungle (1970)

    The Five Man Electrical Band – Signs (1971)

    Marvin Gaye – What's Going On (1971)

    James Brown is actually the song I'm most surprised didn't make this list – one of his signature songs, and one of the most influential black power anthems of the 60s.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I'm not familiar with all the songs you mentioned. I love all the artists mentioned except the Five Man Electrical Band – don't know them. I shall check your list out. I was really annoyed that What's Goin' On was in the '70s!

  • cheapthrills

    Where is " Sky Pilot"? "The smell of gun grease……"!

  • critics will always be there , ans it is cheap and easy. Of cours there are many songs that could take place in this list, but i LOVED it, So wonderfull tho see and hear country joe again, You just made my day. Thanks

  • Matt

    I loved the list, and have no qualms, but do feel that 'Alice's Restaurant Massacre' by Arlo Guthrie must get a mention at least in the comments.

  • Ricky

    ah i cannot stand "give peace a chance" did john really believe things are that simple? and the song is so long, with those same words over and over again, i'd throw myself from a bridge to get away from it

  • Evan

    My personal favorite is “Sunshine” by Jonathan Edwards.

  • Ally

    Subteranean Homesick Blues?

  • Chris

    Why the insipid Donovan rendition of Universal Soldier? The original Buffie Sainte-Marie version is so much more powerful, passionate and expressive. Would you consider updating your list?

    • Thanks for writing Chris. I just listened to the Buffy version and I see why you feel this. Donovan’s is the version I’m used to (being a Brit). What you see as lack of passion, I see as eloquence. It’s all a matter of personal taste. I do like Buffy’s rendition but I still prefer Donovan’s. But hey, why don’t you do your own list? I, for one, would be interested in reading it.

      • Chris

        Hi Anne
        Nice to hear from you. For me it’s about authenticity and respect for the poet/originator. I heard Buffy sing Universal Soldier live in Bristol in 1964/5. She was a powerfully vulnerable figure on stage and this song moved me to tears. How could Donovan’s ‘popular’ version then compare?
        Protest songs of the 60s pretty much choose themselves. I wouldn’t argue much with any of your choices but I do think that Pete Seeger needs more than a passing mention. He started the ball rolling with Where Have All the Flowers Gone in 1961 and his definite We Shall Overcome from the 1963 Carnegie Hall concert does need to be squeezed into the top five.
        All the best

        • Hi again Chris
          I take your point about Where Have All the Flowers Gone and We Shall Overcome. In fact, I’m punching myself in the face right now. Seeger was a great foot soldier for peace and who could forget Joan Baez’s soaring voice of defiance.

          • Anne, when are you going to write for us again? Email me if you have any ideas that are dying to get published on

  • tongti

    Fantastic list! Personally, Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” is also a good candidate for the Top Protest Songs!

  • Kaxee

    Hello, I am an 8th grader and i have to do a history project that has to do with protesting music in the 60’s and 70’s. I would like to know if you know anybody i can have an interview with that is considered to be an expert in this field. This project is for National History Day.

  • jacob

    hey i really liked the song the war drags on it helped me with my homework

    • Anne Iredale

      Glad to hear that Jacob. Do you mean it was good background music for your homework or did it actually relate to the content of your homework?

  • Lee McAteer

    Sweet Cherry Wine – Tommy James and the Shondells. “Nuff Said!!!”

  • How I wish I’d discovered your list sooner! Me and the missus sat down and wrote a little ebook last year called ‘Protesting Songs’ and we tried to include all the names we could think of, going back to the ’60s. Yes, we’re old enough to remember Donovan (and I saw Buffy St Marie singing in Britain in 1965!) Our book is on Kindle right now, and if you get a chance, it would be great if you’d take a look at it. All positive comments, suggestions, improvements, welcome.

  • Kieran OSullivan

    What are you fighting for by Phil Ochs really should be here. “I an’t marching any more” is certainly a grate song and belongs on this list but “What are you fighting for” is a direct call to action. When Ochs says YOU he means YOU as the last verse of the song clearly states “If you’ll win the wars at home, there’ll be no fighting anymore”. As to the comment that said that Ochs got a bit tiresome after a while I have to disagree with this. Ochs was aware that a message lost its impact and innovated his music and political activity “I declare the war is over” was a song and part of political campaign to re-generate the anti-war message.

    The man even took a pig (pigasus) to a protest in 1968 to show up the farce that was the presidential election process.

    Victor Jara also deserves a place on the list the last song he ever sung was an act of defiance against the coup in Chile.

    Phil Ochs and Victor Jara singing louder than the guns even when they are gone.