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  • 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.