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The Friday mix: Songs of war and peace in honor of our veterans

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone. I couldn’t quite get the Friday mix posted yesterday, so here it is a day late.

I am grateful for the work done and sacrifices made by our armed forces. While I don’t always agree with the way and places they are deployed, I recognize that the life I live would not be possible without the work they do. In honor of Memorial Day, I have compiled a mix of songs about soldiers, war, and peace.

Sincere thanks.

Of course, the world would be a better place if no one needed armed forces and many of these songs are of a protest nature. I appreciate what they do, but I think we can all agree that it would be better not to have to send soldiers into harm’s way in the first place.

  1. Both Sides of the Gun – Ben Harper
    This song is a protest specifically against the Iraq War. He talks about an archaic doctrine that no longer serves us and brings a war that can’t be won.
  2. Goodnight Saigon – Billy Joel
    A powerful song that follows marines from training to deployment in the Viet Nam War.
  3. War Pigs – Cake
    The Black Sabbath classic covered in Cake’s droll indie-funk style.
  4. Spanish Bombs – The Clash
    I have no doubt that this is the catchiest, happiest sounding song about the Spanish Civil War (‘36 – ’39) ever written.
  5. Running Gun Blues – David Bowie
    Some seriously old school Bowie from “The Man Who Sold the World.” It’s about a soldier who has completely lost it and sneaks out at night to kill more civilians after peace has been declared. No disrespect intended to our honorable veterans. The song is cool.
  6. Whine & Grine / Stand Down Margaret – The English Beat
    OK, so the first half of this song is just a ska song about a girl, but the second half is a protest song asking Margaret Thatcher not to start World War III.
  7. It’s a Mistake – Men at Work
    Colin Hay tells a tale of accidental war a la Dr. Strangelove, and points out that the casualties are just as dead, regardless of why a conflict starts.
  8. World Wide Suicide – Pearl Jam
    Eddie Vedder said of this song, “It’s about [Pat Tillman] and a bunch of the guys who didn’t get as much coverage—the guys who barely got a paragraph instead of ten pages.”
  9. Goodbye Blue Sky – Pink Floyd
    This song about the aftermath of war is beautiful and chilling.
  10. Us and Them – The Easy Star Allstars
    This is from the brilliant reggae cover of the Pink Floyd classic. It isn’t so much a protest song as much as a discussion of the causes and senselessness of war. The Allstars do a fantastic job with it.
  11. People Get Ready – Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Phoebe Snow
    The classic peace ballad by The Impressions given a gentle and soulful treatment with the incomparable vocals of Ladysmith.
  12. What the Fuck Are We Saying? – Lenny Kravitz
    Another plea for peace and sanity, this time from my favorite of Kravitz’s album, “Mama Said.”
  13. Melt the Guns – XTC
    This is a weird as anything XTC has done, and that’s saying something.
  14. Don’t Kill – Hammel on Trial
    Hammel is from Syracuse, NY and he plays a lot of smart, funny songs. Here’s a heartfelt protest song that absolutely rocks.
  15. One World (Not Three) – The Police
    Sure Sting can get preachy, but this one has a sunny melody, a great positive message, and horns.
  16. Peace – Los Lobos
    Los Lobos are in my top 5 favorite bands, largely because David Hidalgo is an incredible songwriter. I love the heavy acoustic groove and the lyrics are inspiring.
    Enjoy with a glass of iced lemonade to kick off your summer. Have a great long weekend.
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May 29, 2010 - Posted by | Classic Rock, Mix CD, Popular, punk, reggae, Rock, Soul

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