This past Tuesday marked Veteran’s Day in the Unites States, Remembrance Day in Canada, and in the UK, Armistice Day. We thought we would focus on a few tracks that highlighted the importance of peace or will make us never forget the atrocities of the past. It is only through learning what was that will enable us to hopefully not recommit the mistakes of the past. And maybe one day, we or our children will get to achieve that elusive goal known as peace.
Curtis Mayfield, “We Got To Have Peace”
Curtis Mayfield is one of the most iconic names in R&B and soul, and like a lot of his contemporaries, Mayfield wasn’t afraid to sing about peace and war. In “We Got To Have Peace” Mayfield sings about how we just need to have peace, for children and for the betterment of humanity as a whole.
Devendra Banhart, “Heard Somebody Say”
“Heard Somebody Said” is a pretty staight-forward song against war, with the lyrics “Here’s what we believe – it’s simple, we don’t want to kill”. It came out in 2005, during a time of uncertainty with the US involved in multiple foreign conflicts, and had young Americans sent far from home to kill others. This generation may be criticized for a lot, but there’s a feeling of humanity and understanding among many young people and this song nails it with just one line.
John Lennon, “Give Peace a Chance”
We of course have to include the iconic track written by John Lennon which was recorded for the Plastic Ono Band in 1969. This song pretty much became the anthem of the anti-war movement during the 1970’s. “Give Peace a Chance” was sung by half a million demonstrators in Washington DC at the Vietnam Moratorium Day on November 15, 1969.
Neil Young, “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World”
Many relate this song to the fall of Communism, as the song was written in 1989 at the same time as the Berlin Wall fell, which Germans just recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The song, however, was written as a criticism of the Bush Administration and its domestic and foreign policies, in particular ridiculing George W. Bush’s remarks of making the US a “kinder, gentler nation”. We all know what happened. The song remains a classic, but often misused from its original intentions.
U2, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
The opening track from the excellent, War, which was released in 1983, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is arguably U2’s most politically charged and emotional track. Criticizing the British government’s politics, policies, and practices in Northern Ireland, the song recalls the killing of 13 unarmed civilians by British troops. It is considered one of the best protest songs written and also a song about peace.
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