Rhetoric of Protest Songs Rhetoric of the protest songs has a very extensive history. The oldest protest song on record is "The Cutty Wren" from the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 against feudal oppression, nearly six hundred years ago (Songs of Work and Protest 9). Protest music has developed over the years and has made its presence in history. The protest music of Vietnam War is the concentration of this paper. The two main artists of focus are Bob Dylan and John Lennon. Their songs will be analyzed and criticized naritively. Bob Dylan was one of the most influential musicians of the time. Dylan was born in the fine town of Duluth, Minnesota on May 24, 1941. He grew up in Hibbing, "My life in a stolen minute, " Dylan wrote, "Hibbing’s a good ol’ town. I ran away from it when I was ten, twelve, thirteen, fifteen, fifteen and a half, seventeen an’ eighteen. I been caught an’ brought back all but once."(Dylan Songs 12). He taught himself how to play the guitar, piano, autoharp, and harmonica. Throughout his experiences he absorbed many different styles of music. "Open up your eyes an’ ears an’ yer influenced an’ there’s nothing you can do about it . . . I just seem to draw into myself whatever comes my way and it comes out me."(12) He graduated from high school in Hibbing and attended the University of Minnesota for about six months than left for New York and began writing comical-satirical talking blues songs. Next, he moved into a deeper view, of the world through his protest music. Later in his career he entered the integration movement with the song "Blowin in the Wind". His biography can be told through his songs, they have always reflected his thoughts, emotions, and life. Dylan’s lyrics not only express hi... ... middle of paper ... ...as the highest of ethic values, the ideals that we hope to reach one day. The song inspired many people and gave them hope. Lennon will always be remembered for his inspirational and idealistic music that changed the way the world looked at things. Together these two songs had a great impact on the peoples views toward the war. The reflected the thoughts of some and inspired others. In different ways they both contributed to helping bring Vietnam to an end by inspiring protesters and soldiers. Bibliography: Fowke Edith and Glazer, Joe. Songs of Work and Protest. Dover Publications, Inc., New York. 1973. Stewart Chuck. Dylan Songs. Witmark and Sons. 1973 Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc. 1995. The Legend of John Lennon http://www.legend-johnlennon.com/ Thompson, Michael. "John Lennon." Rolling Stone June 1971: 62-70.
John Lennon was very outspoken and contributed greatly to his mission of peace. “He became an increasingly important symbol of the burgeoning counterculture” (DeCurtis). John went against the normal acts and beliefs of society and spoke out. He always expressed his true views and nothing else. This is because he believed in questioning authority and not conforming for anything.“[He] helped redefine the rules of acceptable behavior for rock stars” (DeCurtis). This once again shows his desire to stand out and speak out. He reformed many ideas and practices that needed reform and some that did not. But no matter what he was doing, it was always supporting the fight for peace. Even when it did not involve politics or the stand for peace, he acted differently from what was expected of him by the majority of the population. “How the chords can change the world. To me, that is John Lennon” (Ono 117). John thought that change was necessary, and he intended to do everything he could to insure that it happened. “A man who stood up!” (Ono 117). John expressed and conveyed his beliefs, no matter the consequences. His immense support of the fight for peace helped more and more people see a different side of the world.
Each of the singers wanted everyone to be able to live life in Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. Also to be able to be safe in their own country to be able to have to freedom to say what they wanted “freedom of Speech”.
To the persistent individual, though, there is a body of music in existence that merits regard. It is powerful music written by the youth of America, youngsters who did have a stake in the Vietnam War. There can be little question about the origins of the power which American protest music conveyed: those who wrote such music lived each day with the real knowledge that they were losing friends in, and could possibly be forced themselves to go to, Vietnam. One such group, Creedence Clearwater Revival, made its contribution to this genre near the end of the Vietnam War.
The 1960s was the era of rebellion. It was a time when views of many people started to change dramatically as unexpected things were happening from the Cold War to the assassinations of nation’s leaders. So within this disturbed era, many citizens started to rebel and question the authorities saying that they were ruining the country. The younger generation, especially, stood firmly in front to lead the action to change the ideas of the older generation. One of the main methods they used to speak their opinions was through music and we can see the power it had on the people through one of the main protest anthems called “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1969. The song speaks out to the elite controlled America and becomes one of many instances of the younger generation questioning and rebelling against the authority in the late 1960s. They send people a message that the citizens of United States do not live in a fair world and the authorities are not doing their jobs. By creating images through the comparative and descriptive lyrics such as who “waves the flag” , and “some folks are born with silver spoons in hand”, its repetition of the chorus “it ain’t me” and the instrumentation of the song which sounds like the cry of the working class to signify that the Vietnam War is a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight, this song by the Creedence Clearwater Revival shouts to the world that the elite-controlled America is unfair as it can get; and becomes a big part of the counterculture movement. However, contrary to the message of the song, challenges to authority and privilege did not come exclusively from the working class. Rather, members of the upper class were also involved in opposition movements, for instance vi...
If analyzed carefully, the melancholy verses of the song are in sharp contrast to the overpowering chorus. Ignore the addictive chorus "Born in the U.S.A.” and what you really hear is a protest song that tells the depressing story and struggle of Vietnam Veterans returning home to a disillusioned life. To his most devoted ...
Throughout time, music has been an influential part of society. As a form of entertainment and expression, its impact has always been felt both economically and emotionally. During the Vietnam war, music evolved into more a form of expression rather than pure entertainment. Emotionally charged songs became a method to oppose the war, and vent frustrations. While many songs opposed the war, numerous others focused on peace and happiness. They provided a positive perspective in an otherwise depressing time. Along with incorporating passion into music, cultural diversity increased in music greatly. Black artists became progressively more popular and accepted in the musical scene. This respect carried over to society slowly but surely. During the Vietnam war, music played a crucial role in the societal evolution into a state where emotions fueled actions, more emphasis was put on equality, all opinions counted.
The 1960’s was one of the most controversial decades in American history because of not only the Vietnam War, but there was an outbreak of protests involving civil and social conditions all across college campuses. These protests have been taken to the extent where people either have died or have been seriously injured. However, during the 1960’s, America saw a popular form of art known as protest music, which responded to the social turmoil of that era, from the civil rights movement to the war in Vietnam. A veritable pantheon of musicians, such as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan sang their songs to encourage union organizers to protest the inequities of their time, creating a diverse variety of popular protest music, which has reached out to the youthful generations everywhere demanding for a revolutionary change. The protest music took the children of the 1960’s to a completely new different level. Musicians of this generation were not going to sit and do nothing while the government lied to the people about what was going on in Vietnam. Instead, they took their guitar-strumming troubadours from the coffee houses, plugged them in, and sent the music and the message into the college dorm rooms and the homes of the youth of America. However, as decades went by, protest music does not have much of an impact as it use to because of the way things have changed over the years. Through the analysis of the music during the 1960’s, there shall be an understanding on how the different genres of protest music has affected social protesters based on how musicians have become the collective conscience of that generation through their lyrics and music and the main factors that contributed to the lack of popula...
In the midst of the Vietnam war, songs arose about much more threatening subjects. These songs reflect this generation’s increasingly likelihood of being critical of both the war and the government as compared to past generations. The first sign of...
Historically, protest songs are written and sung by performers to present a strong point of view regarding a political or social injustice. The Vietnam War was a one such political and social event that sparked many famous protest songs. Two of the most famous protest songs about the Vietnam War are “Fortunate Song” by Creedence Clearwater Revival and “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen. While written at opposite ends of the war, both songs share a similar point of view and similar musical styles. However in the end I believe that only one of songs is truly a successful protest song that continues to make a lasting impact on American politics and society.
Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau was one of the most important pieces of literature written in the mid-1800’s. This essay was written to argue against government intervention and that the people should take more responsibility and only support a government that pushes forward ideals that the general public supports. What marks Civil Disobedience as part of its time is its rejection of governmental control and favors individual liberty during the heart of the slavery debate.
Martin Luther King Jr, a national political figure, was crucial to the Civil rights Movement. Such movement was determined to change the corrupt law system by participating in multiple demonstrations—such as the march on Washington, D.C to fight inequality. The mass demonstration organized by civil rights groups was essential to put an end to wrongful laws. This form of movement involves many individuals, refusing to articulate policy demands or to embrace old ideologies. Movements are a powerful force since they break from the traditions of political organizations. Thomas Jefferson, Henry David Thoreau, and Martin Luther King Jr, emphasize on the dilemma of just and unjust laws that goes on in society. Granted, taking action upon an issue
The Vietnam War is one of the most controversial issues in American history. It is no secret that the American public was not in favor of this war, which is why the government’s decision to keep the US involved for over ten years created such a disconnect between America’s people and their government. In the third verse the Temptations sing, “People all over the world are shouting 'End the war.'” The Temptations bravely attack the government, addressing their continuation of a war no one wants. Although The Temptations avoid explicitly naming the war, or the government as the guilty party, it is evident that this is a criticism, or at least an acknowledgement of a predicament America found itself in.
...e behind the song is that all we need is love, and The Beatles were urging people to understand that peace was the best option. The Beatles like many other artists who wrote antiwar songs know that writing a song is a non-violent way of protesting, and still gets the message across that the war needs to end. Music is a universal language, and it is one of the most effective ways to spread messages.