33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, from Billie Holiday to Green Day

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 4/5/2011
  • Publisher: Harpercollins

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From one of the United Kingdom's most prominent music critics, a page-turning and wonderfully researched history of 33 songs that have transformed the world through the twentieth century and beyond. When pop music meets politics, the results are often thrilling, sometimes life-changing, and never simple. The protest songs of such great artists as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, U2, Public Enemy, Fela Kuti, R.E.M., Rage Against the Machine, and the Clash represent pop music at its most charged and relevant, providing the soundtrack and informing social change since the 1930s. They capture the attention and passions of listeners, force their way into the news, and make their presence felt from the streets to the corridors of power. 33 Revolutions Per Minute is a history of protest music embodied in 33 songs that span seven decades and four continents, from Billie Holiday crooning "Strange Fruit" before a shocked audience to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young paying tribute to the Vietnam protesters killed at Kent State in "Ohio," to Green Day railing against President Bush and twenty-first-century media in "American Idiot." With the aid of exclusive new interviews, Dorian Lynskey explores the individuals, ideas, and events behind each song. This expansive survey examines how music has engaged with racial unrest, nuclear paranoia, apartheid, war, poverty, and oppression, offering hope, stirring anger, inciting action, and producing songs that continue to resonate years down the line, sometimes at great cost to the musicians involved. For the audience who embraced Alex Ross's The Rest Is Noise, Bob Dylan's Chronicles, or Simon Reynolds's Rip It Up and Start Again, 33 Revolutions Per Minute is an absorbing and moving account of 33 songs that made history.

Author Biography

Dorian Lynskey is a music writer for the Guardian. He also writes for Q, The Word, and Spin, among other publications. 33 Revolutions Per Minute is his first book.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. xiii
˘Strange Fruit÷p. 3
˘This Land Is Your Land÷p. 14
˘We Shall Overcome÷p. 33
˘Masters of War÷p. 51
˘Mississippi Goddam÷p. 70
Country Joe and the Fish, ˘I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag÷p. 87
˘Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud÷p. 109
Plastic Ono Band, ˘Give Peace a Chance˘p. 126
˘War÷p. 143
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, ˘Ohio÷p. 159
˘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised÷p. 180
˘Living for the City÷p. 195
1973-1977 (chile, nigeria, Jamaica)
˘Manifiesto÷p. 215
Fela Kuti and Afrika 70, ˘Zombie÷p. 231
Max Romeo and the Upsetters, ˘War Ina Babylon÷p. 245
The Clash, ˘White Riot÷p. 265
˘I Was Born This Way÷p. 283
˘Sonny's Lettah (Anti-Sus Poem)÷p. 299
The Dead Kennedys, ˘Holiday in Cambodia÷p. 315
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five feat. Melle Mel and Duke Bootee, ˘The Message÷p. 329
Crass, ˘How Does It Feel?÷p. 340
Frankie Goes to Hollywood, ˘Two Tribes÷p. 356
U2, ˘Pride (In the Name of Love)÷p. 368
The Special AKA, ˘Nelson Mandela÷p. 386
Billy Bragg, ˘Between the Wars÷p. 400
R.E.M., ˘Exhuming McCarthy÷p. 412
Public Enemy, ˘Fight the Power÷p. 429
Huggy Bear, ˘Her Jazz÷p. 447
The Prodigy feat. Pop Will Eat Itself, ˘Their Law÷p. 462
Manic Street Preachers, ˘Of Walking Abortion÷p. 476
Rage Against the Machine, ˘Sleep Now in the Fire÷p. 489
Steve Earle, ˘John Walker's Blues÷p. 506
Green Day, ˘American Idiot÷p. 521
Epiloguep. 535
Acknowledgmentsp. 539
Protest Songs Before 1900p. 541
Songs and Albums Mentioned in the Textp. 543
One Hundred Recommended Songsp. 569
Sourcesp. 573
Indexp. 637
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