Where Have the Protest Songs Gone?

We got an E-mail to Letters@FolkAlley.com this week that intrigued us. It was from a singer/songwriter who was promoting the fact that he had a song on Neil Young’s new Living With War site. There are more than 300 songs on the Songs of the Times page – music written in response to the fact that the U.S. is battling endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, moving troops into Lebanon and embroiling the fighting forces of nations who used to think highly of us.

And, Linda asked me, “Is this all there is? Why isn’t every songwriter producing protest songs – like they did in the ’60s?” Which raises several questions: are they out there, but we’re not hearing them?; were there really tons of protest songs being written in the ’60s?; are we afraid of controversy because we’ve been programmed to be uber politically correct?; have we all gotten weak with acceptance over the situation in the Middle East? I don’t have the answers. I was a kid in the ’60s. I listened to the Beatles and learned all the words to “These Boots are Made for Walking.” Pete Seeger I knew, but only because he recorded children’s music. So, tell us, what happened then and what’s happening now?

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