Rock Theories

The Politics of Rock

Everyone has had some sort of opinion or feelings related to politics. If you truly have not felt affected by politics you probably have at least seen the reactions to others and noticed the repercussions in the media and popular culture. Rock music has been no exception to the effects of politics. Below are a couple of the examples we found where rock music emulated some political opinion or protest to a politicians or countries actions.

Creedence Clearwater Revival in Fortunate Son –

Many of today’s youth unfortunately may have never heard of this song or even know what the premise is behind it. Fortunately they have not experienced the premise around which the song was written; namely, being pressured to go to war. During the time much of society was oblivious to the attitudes of the rising angst that was surrounding those who were forced to war. The problem was that many of the fortunate were able to escape going to war while the poorer blue collar individuals could not due to their unfortunate circumstance. So the prevalent fervor is often dictated by the wealthy in society. However, luckily this song gave voice to those who felt they were poor and fighting a war for the wealthy man’s benefit.

Guns and Roses in Civil War –

The uselessness of war is captured in this song. Communication amongst the nations is at fault for most of the wars we’ve experienced and that is also signified here. Axl Rose came up with much of the song after being inspired as a child when he attended a rally with his mother in memory of Martin Luther King when he was shot. It started off as simply a sound check jibberish and evolved into something more. It comes mostly from real life encounters and opinions held by the group. Like the saying somewhat says – If you don’t learn from history you will repeat it.

Buffalo Springfield in For What it’s Worth aka Stop, what’s that sound?

Many rate this as the top protest song they’ve heard. Funny thing about this song is that it wasn’t meant to be a song about protest or politics. It was written about the 1976 riots that happened in Los Angeles.  It was more of an aside about police brutality and the unjust violence against ‘long hairs’ who tended to smoke weed and hang outside of bars and clubs in LA.

There you have it, some protest songs that really stood out and had an impact upon politics. Sometimes facets of society can’t speak for themselves and music once again can help express views and give people feelings they may have never had without it. There are countless other significant songs we can give credit to as well like The Impressions in ‘People Get Ready.’