Tom Morello’s Favorite Songs About Rebellion And Liberation
Although he’s always loved heavy metal, Tom Morello says it was bands like Public Enemy and The Clash who taught him that it was possible to combine good music with revolutionary politics. In this playlist for AARP, he shares some of his favorite rebellion and liberation songs.
To imagine performed by John Lennon
“With some songs, one of the things they have in common is that they are composed of such tremendous craftsmanship and a magnificent melody that their underlying meaning sometimes escapes the listener. John Lennon’s “Imagine” would top the list. In the pantheon of “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen. and maybe “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine, it’s a song that people sometimes enjoy without realizing that it’s a radical anarchist manifesto.
This land is your land performed by Woody Guthrie
“Another song you probably didn’t learn the censored verses of until you were in third grade.” This is Woody Guthrie’s radical manifesto. You know, the lines ‘No one alive can ever stop me / As I walk this free highway / No one alive can ever turn me back’ because this earth was made for you and me. It was a song written against “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin. Woody Guthrie was deeply offended by this song and therefore wrote a song for the people. And someday, if everything goes the way I want it to, it will replace our national anthem.
Biko performed by Pierre Gabriel
“Biko, a sort of Martin Luther King Jr. from apartheid-era South Africa, was assassinated by apartheid police while in custody. This song by Peter Gabriel was one of the songs that really politicized me in my youth and made me realize that it was a global struggle.
Get up, get up performed by Bob Marley and the Wailers
“’Get Up, Stand Up’ is a song I heard at rallies on the streets of Tokyo in Peoria, Illinois. [Bob Marley’s] the words and his wisdom are absolutely timeless, and people will continue to stand up and stand up and fight for their rights to his music for centuries, I guess. “
Fight the power performed by Public Enemy
“Public Enemy was an information service for African Americans for a decade or more. The timeless lyrics throughout the catalog and in particular in this song – “Most of my heroes don’t appear on the stamps” are all you need to know. It lays bare the real founding principle of this country, which is to demand freedom while embracing white supremacy. And Chuck D had the courage to say it on the microphone.
Highway to Hell performed by AC / DC
“For me it’s a heavy metal song, headbanging, wild youthful liberation. It’s the middle finger to people. Like, we’re gonna rock hard tonight and no one, not even the devil, is gonna stop us. “
The ghost of Tom Joad performed by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band with Tom Morello
“’The Ghost of Tom Joad’ has three iterations: the plaintive minor-key acoustic ballad on Bruce Springsteen’s record of the same name, the thunderous version of Rage Against the Machine, and the hybrid version that Bruce and I played a number of times. of times. [The song is] Steinbeck’s hero drawing The Grapes of Wrath and modernize it to the struggles of migrants, the oppressed and the homeless, and the spirit of resistance to injustice that exists in the hearts and minds of the people of this country. “
Strange fruits performed by Billie Holiday
“It was telling the truth about the lynching in the United States and the horrific days of Jim Crow and beyond. And it’s an absolute culmination of artistic achievement, with this vocal performance and these lyrics and this subject, [it] It is something that should be taught in all American history classes, both at home and abroad.
The star-spangled banner performed by Jimi Hendrix
“It’s the idea that music doesn’t need lyrics to be political, and deconstructing the stilted and sometimes stuffy ‘Star-Spangled Banner’, and reinterpreting it creating the tumultuous sounds of the late years. 60s, from the bombs of the Vietnam War to street battles in Chicago, through his Marshall stack, Jimi Hendrix has shown the possibility of the guitar as a divination wand of truth in revelation.
Bella ciao performed by Giovanna Daffini
“’Bella Ciao’ is a global anti-fascist anthem, an Italian folk song that anti-Nazi supporters sang during WWII. It is not that well known in the United States, but it is sung all over the world, on barricades and on pickets where people are standing up against fascists.
Revolution of a man performed by Tom Morello: The Night Watchman
“’One Man Revolution’ is one of my songs. This is the first song from my first solo album. I was the only black kid in an all-white town, the only anarchist in a conservative high school, the only heavy metal guitarist to wear spandex at Harvard University, then the only Ivy League, Star Trek-lovers, Dungeons & Dragons-playing a nerd in the world’s biggest political rock-rap group. So this song has served as a sort of personal manifesto since the day I wrote it.
Rebellious girl performed by Bikini Kill
“It’s just, I think, one of the greatest anthems of all time, just like punk feminism, power over the people, destroying patriarchy with three chords.”
Born like this performed by Lady Gaga
“I might not be well known as a Lady Gaga fan, but I am. And that song, ‘Born This Way’, I just think it’s a great song of personal liberation and freedom and to embrace who you are.I think it’s one of the greatest personal liberation hymns of all time.
Anarchy in the UK performed by the Sex Pistols
“’Anarchy in the UK’ is the song that convinced me to play electric guitar. Until I heard the Sex Pistols tape I was sure you needed an expensive Les Paul and a Marshall battery wall and a castle on a Scottish loch to rock ‘ n’roll. The Sex Pistols taught me that you just need a wet basement and you really, really, really have to mean it.
With God by our side by Bob Dylan
“My list was incomplete without Bob Dylan. You can skip American History 101 in college. Listen to this song from start to finish. You will get the picture. The picture is absolutely HD on that one.