Songs that changed the world…

Some thoughts …

I’ve been reflecting on what evidence there is that singing actually changes anything. Obviously it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg question. Does the song shape the change, or does the change , already in the air, shape the song? Either way, songs are a powerful way of spreading a message of change and of making people feel part of something bigger than they are. Songs can also commemorate and celebrate stirring historic events, and I’ve included some of them here.

I’ve put some examples below that I find inspiring, for starters….. I’d love to hear about yours.

MILCK’s song for the Women’s march following the election of Donald Trump in the USA

Barack Obama singing Amazing Grace at the funeral of Clementa Pinckney in 2015

Estonia’s ‘Singing Revolution’

Dr Martin Luther King talking about ‘We shall overcome’, then hear Mahalia Jackson singing it

Sydney Carter’s great song about the Peasant’s Revolt : John Ball, sung here by John Boden

Leon Rosselson’s song  World turned upside down, sung here by Billy Bragg

Rosselson again, singing his own song Palaces of Gold

Joan Baez singing Jose Martin’s Guantanamera – a folk song that became an anthem of the Cuban Revolution, then a song for peace and unity at the time of the Missile Crisis in 1962

With excellent timing, Radio 4 has a series about singing together at the moment – do take 30 minutes out to listen


One comment

  1. Reblogged this on That singing thing… and commented:

    re-posting this from August – would love some comments. Also , please add your favourite songs for change – old and new. My group and I have just been writing one to commemorate the centenary of women’s suffrage in the UK; will post this soon – watch this space!

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