Politics and music

MUSIC IS AROUND PEOPLE EVERY DAY. WHETHER IT’S COMING THROUGH AN IPOD, OR ON A TELEVISION COMMERCIAL, OR EVEN A MUSICIAN IN THE SUBWAY, IT IS A RELEVANT PART OF OUR LIVES. AS ARTISTS GAIN A FAN BASE, AND DEVELOP THEIR CRAFT, MORE MEANING COMES THROUGH THEIR PRODUCT, INFLUENCING THEIR CULTURE. ONCE ARTISTS HAVE A FOLLOWING, THEY CAN CERTAINLY RELAY ANY MESSAGE TO THEIR AUDIENCE. THROUGH ARTIST’S LYRICS, POWER AND THEIR PERSONAL BELIEVES, POPULAR MUSIC CAN EXPRESS POLITICAL MESSAGES, WHETHER IT’S REBELLING POLITICS, PROTESTING WAR, OR HELPING A WORLDLY CAUSE.

ARTISTS WITH A LARGE FOLLOWING CAN EXPRESS THEIR POLITICS THROUGH THEIR LYRICS AND THE MESSAGE IS HEARD LOUD AND CLEAR. IT WASN’T, AND STILL ISN’T, UNCOMMON FOR ARTISTS TO OPPOSE THE GOVERNMENT IN THEIR MUSIC. ONCE THE BEATLES ROSE TO THE TOP, THEIR FANS WORSHIPED EACH SONG THEY PRODUCED. IN THEIR 1966 SONG ‘TAXMAN,’ GEORGE HARRISON WROTE, “THERE’S ONE FOR YOU, NINETEEN FOR ME. ‘CAUSE I’M THE TAXMAN,” (THE BEATLES) NEGATIVELY SPEAKING OF THE WAY BRITISH GOVERNMENT GETS MONEY.

THIS IS A SONG THAT WAS NOT ONLY RELEVANT IN 1966, BUT STILL TODAY, TAXES ARE TOO HIGH, AND THERE’S NOT MUCH TO SHOW WHERE COMMON PEOPLE’S MONEY ARE GOING. AS AN UPBEAT AND CATCHY SONG, PEOPLE COULD SING AND RELATE TO IT, AND ALSO BE ANGRY AT THE TAX SYSTEM. BILLY BRAGG’S, IN HIS SONG ‘IT SAYS HERE,’ EXPRESSES HIS IDEA OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT BEING UNFAIR, AND FAILING TO BE THE DEMOCRACY IT PROMISED TO BE. HE POINTS OUT THE ISSUE OF HOW THE PRESS AT THAT TIME WASN’T AS INFORMATIVE AS HE WISHED; ONLY PRINTING ARTICLES OF THE PRINCE AND OTHER UNIMPORTANT INFORMATION CONCERNING THE COMMON PEOPLE’S LIVES. PEOPLE GOT HIS MESSAGE, BECAUSE OF HIS LYRICS.

ARTISTS ALL OVER GAINED INSPIRATION FROM THEIR DISLIKE OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND THEIR FANS WOULD SING ALONG AGREEING WITH THEM. ANOTHER COMMON MESSAGE SONGS SENT WERE AGAINST WAR AND WANTING PEACE. “SONGS CAN DISGUISE (ARTISTS) POLITICS (AS) A DEFINING PART OF THEIR ART AND THEIR CAREERS,” (STREET 247). VERY FAMOUSLY, JOHN LENNON’S “IMAGINE” SPEAKS OF A WORLD FULL OF PEACE, UNITY AND COMMUNISM. HE WROTE THIS AFTER LIVING A LIFE IN WHICH WAR HAPPENED, AN IDEA THAT DID NOT INTEREST HIM IN THE LEAST BIT. THE SOFT SOUND, MOSTLY PIANO, OF THE SONG TIED WITH LENNON’S PURE VOICE GIVES A DREAMY FEEL TO THE SONG.

PEOPLE PRAISED HIM IMMENSELY, SINGING ALONG, DREAMING OF A WORLD THAT SPOKE ONLY OF PEACE. ALTHOUGH LENNON WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO SINGLE HANDILY MAKE A DREAM WORLD LIKE THAT BE REAL, BUT IT STIRRED UP PEOPLE’S MINDS, HOPEFULLY MAKING THEM THINK ABOUT THEIR DREAM WORLD. NOT AS CALMLY, BLACK SABBATH’S “WAR PIGS” REFLECTS THEIR FEELINGS ON WAR. WRITTEN IN PROTEST OF THE VIETNAM WAR, THE LYRICS, “POLITICIANS HIDE THEMSELVES AWAY, THEY ONLY STARTED WAR. WHY SHOULD THEY GO OUT TO FIGHT? THEY LEAVE THAT ROLE TO THE POOR, YEAH,” (BLACK SABBATH), GIVES AUDIENCES AN IDEA OF THE BANDS STANCE ON WAR.

THE BAND, WITH THEIR HEAVY METAL SOUND, RAGES AND FIGHTS THE IDEA OF WAR, DISAGREEING WITH THOSE WHO STARTED IT AND THE FACT THAT THE COMMON MAN IS SENT TO FIGHT AN UNENDING, NO PURPOSE WAR. STILL TODAY, THE SONG IS LOVED BY PEOPLE, BOTH THE MESSAGE AND THE TUNE. AGAIN PROTESTING THE VIETNAM WAR, COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH SANG A SONG AT WOODSTOCK IN A SATIRICAL MANNER. THE SONGS CHORUS INCLUDED THE LINES “WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR? I DON’T GIVE A DAMN,’’ (COUNTRY JOE), EMPHASIZING THEIR CONFUSION ON THE WAR. MANY MUSICIANS PROTESTED THROUGH SONG, RALLYING UP THEIR FANS TO ALL PROTEST TOGETHER.

ARTISTS USE THEIR LYRICS TO INFUSE THEIR POLITICAL IDEAS ON WAR TO THEIR AUDIENCES. POPULAR MUSIC CAN ALSO BE USED TO HELP BRING ATTENTION TO A WORLD ISSUE. ON JULY 13, 1985, THE DUEL-CONCERT ‘LIVE AID’ WAS HELD TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE ETHIOPIAN FAMINE. SIMULTANEOUSLY CONCERTS WERE HELP IN LONDON AND PHILADELPHIA WITH POPULAR ARTISTS INCLUDING ELVIS COSTELLO, PAUL MCCARTNEY, AND BLACK SABBATH. BETWEEN THE PRICES OF CONCERT TICKETS AND PHONED IN DONATIONS, OVER 50 MILLION POUND WAS RAISED. “THERE IS NO DISGUISING THE FACT THAT POP CAN MAKE A POLITICAL DIFFERENCE,” (STREET 249).

MUSIC WAS A CATALYST TO UNITE THE WORLD AND DO WHAT THEY COULD TO HELP END THE FAMINE IN AFRICA. SIMILAR, ON JULY 2, 2005, LIVE 8, A SERIES OF CONCERTS, WAS HELD TO RAISE THE AMOUNT OF AID TOWARDS AFRICAN POVERTY. MADONNA, PINK FLOYD, AND U2 WERE AMONG SOME OF THE WELL-KNOWN PERFORMERS THAT DAY. THROUGH COUNTING THE CASH, WE CAN MEASURE THE AMOUNT OF LIVES THAT HAVE SAVED BY SONG (STREET 249). AUDIENCES AROUND THE WORLD TUNE IN TO THESE HUGE CONCERTS, LISTENING AT THE DINNER TABLE, OR AT WORK, AND HOPEFULLY CALLING IN TO DO WHAT THEY CAN. MUSIC HAS PROVED ITS ABILITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN HELPING THE WORLD BECOME A BETTER PLACE.

FROM NATIONAL ANTHEMS, TO THE SEX PISTOL’S “GOD SAVE THE QUEEN” MUSIC IS HIGHLY INFLUENCED BY MUSIC. ARTISTS DEVELOP THEIR POLITICAL IDEAS INTO SONGS; THEIR CATCHY LYRICS AND BEATS INFESTING THE MINDS OF THEIR FANS, WHICH SPREAD THE MESSAGES ALONG. POPULAR MUSIC CAN ALSO GO THE OTHER WAY AND RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT WORLD ISSUES, ASKING FOR SUPPORT TO THOSE MORE FORTUNATE. MUSIC IS AN AMAZING ART, AND WHEN PUT IN THE RIGHT HANDS CAN MAKE POSITIVE CHANGES. STREET, JOHN. “ROCK, POP AND POLITICS. ” CAMBRIDGE COMPANION.