Protest 100: Black Sabbath – ‘Children of the Grave’

Artist:          Black Sabbath

Song:           Children of the Grave

Album:        Master of Reality

Producer:    Rodger Bain

Label:          Warner Bros.

Year:           1971

Notes:
Geezer Butler is a pacifist and this song picks up right where ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Electric Funeral’ left off. War is bad. Love is all. And the future is lost if we don’t realize that. Add in some swirling extra percussion and a looped, whispered “Children of the grave…” at the end for spooky effect, and the doom warning is complete. Ozzy also called it “the most kickass song we’d ever recorded,” in his ‘I Am Ozzy’ autobiography. Three nails verses and no chorus will do that!

Lyrics:
Revolution in their minds the children start to march
Against the world in which they have to live
And all the hate that’s in their hearts
They’re tired of being pushed around
And told just what to do
They’ll fight the world until they’ve won
And love comes flowing through, yeah

Children of tomorrow live in the tears that fall today
Will the sun rise up tomorrow bringing peace in any way?
Must the world live in the shadow of atomic fear?
Can they win the fight for peace or will they disappear, yeah

So you children of the world
Listen to what I say
If you want a better place to live in
Spread the words today
Show the world that love is still alive you must be brave
Or you children of today are children of the grave, yeah

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Nuclear Assault – ‘When Freedom Dies’

Artist:          Nuclear Assault

Song:           When Freedom Dies

Album:        Handle With Care

Producer:    Randy Burns

Label:          In-Effect

Year:           1989

Notes:
From the second you see the cover, ‘Handle With Care’ presents itself as the pinnacle of socially conscious thrash metal. And it delivers song after song (‘Critical Mass,’ ‘Search & Seizure,’ ‘Torture Tactics’) of supercharged condemnation, with catchy riffs almost everywhere. Police repression, environmental destruction, the balance between freedom and security, fascism, and abuse of authority all take a beating before the journey’s over.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
“The freedom of assembly on the part of the nation’s youth was legislated against to the extent that any person wishing to host a group larger than 100 people 16-years of age or older had to first register the event and then accept criminal liability for any misdeeds.”

.”

Lyrics:
United in a time, a time of need
Against a common foe, the enemy
The years of death endured, the years of pain
Against an evil force, a force not sane

We become the enemy
When freedom dies for security

And then the world endured, a victory won
Against an insane man and his cohorts
But once the war was done, blind fear prevailed
And years of darkness came, freedom was nailed

We become the enemy
When freedom dies for security

We let our freedom die, we let it wane
We feared an enemy’s atomic rain
But what was on our minds, what we became
We and the enemy
We are the same

We become the enemy
When freedom dies for security
We become the enemy
When freedom dies for security

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Aerosmith – ‘Nobody’s Fault’

Artist:          Aerosmith

Song:           Nobody’s Fault

Album:        Rocks

Producer:    Jack Douglas

Label:          Columbia

Year:           1976

Notes:
This one might seem like a stretch to some, but it’s one of my favorite Aerosmith songs and I heard it the way I heard it for decades before learning what actually inspired it. Written by guitarist Brad Whitford and vocalist Steven Tyler, ostensibly about earthquakes and flying, ‘Nobody’s Fault’ can be easily heard as offering a view of a world gone mad due to man’s neglect. That’s my interpretation and I’m sticking to it!

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
“To do that we’ll need to head up the bridge and make sure nobody’s gonna be messing with the throttle.”

Lyrics:
Lord I must be dreamin’
What else could this be
Everybody’s screamin’
Running’ for the sea

Holy lands are sinkin’
Birds take to the sky
The prophets are all stinking drunk
I know the reason why

Eyes are full of desire
Mind is so ill at ease
Everything is on fire
Shit piled up to the knees

Out of rhyme or reason
Everyone’s to blame
Children of the season
Don’t be lame

Sorry, you’re so sorry
Don’t be sorry
Man has known
And now he’s blown it
Upside down and hell’s the only sound
We did an awful job
And now they say it’s nobody’s fault

Old St. Andres
Seven years ago
Shove it up their richters
Red lines stop and go
Noblemen of courage
Listen with their ears
Spoke but how discouragin’
When no one really hears

One of these day’s you’ll be sorry
Too many houses on the stilt
Three million years or just a story
Four on the floor up to the hilt

Out of rhyme or reason
Everyone’s to blame
Children of the season
Don’t be lame

Sorry, we’re so sorry
Don’t be sorry
Man has known
And now he’s blown it
Upside down and hell’s the only sound
We did an awful job
And now we’re just a little too late

Eyes are full of desire
Mind is so ill at ease
Everything is on fire
Shit piled up in debris

California showtime
Five o’clock’s the news
Everybody’s concubine
Was prone to take a snooze

Sorry, we’re so sorry
Don’t be sorry
Man has known
And now he’s blown it
Upside down and hell’s the only sound
We did an awful job
And now we’re just a little too late

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Living Colour – ‘Time’s Up’

 

Artist:          Living Colour

Song:           Time’s Up

Album:        Time’s Up

Producer:    Ed Stasium

Label:          Epic

Year:           1990

Notes:
Though written on the more ecological tip, this song’s closing message is universal and timely: the time to act is now and all you need to do is get up and try. It also won Best Hard Rock Performance at that year’s Grammys. “A rock group consisting entirely of black members wasn’t supposed to be an issue and, in fact, could only be an issue in a culture that had collectively suppressed the music’s black roots.” (Reyes-Kulkarni, S., Diffuser, Aug. 28, 2015)

Lyrics:
Time’s up, the rivers have no life
Time’s up, the world is full of strife
Time’s up, the sky is falling
Time’s up, the Lord is calling

How you gonna stop the clock
When the well runs dry
All the rivers have died
Moment by moment, day by day
The world is just slipping away
Your future won’t save your past
The time is now, it won’t last
The time is nigh
Time to do-or-die

Time waits for no one
If you want to go on
Leave me something to grow on
The forests, the trees, the rivers, the seas
All die of this disease

Time ain’t on your side
Don’t sit idly by
You’ve just got to try

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: FEAR – ‘Let’s Have A War’

Artist:          FEAR

Song:           Let’s Have A War

Album:        The Record

Producer:    Gary Lubow

Label:          Slash

Year:           1982

Notes:
Though better known for such sophomoric gems as ‘Beef Boloney’ and ‘Gimme Some Action,’ as well as pissing everyone they could off, both onstage and in-person, there is no denying ‘Let’s Have A War’ (to ‘jack up the Dow Jones…we can blame it on the middle class!’) as documentation of who’s behind our conflicts and who suffers.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
“Fuck it. Let’s just bliss out.”

Lyics:
There’s so many of us
There’s so many of us
There’s so many
There’s so many of us
There’s so many of us
There’s so many [Repeat: x2]

Let’s have a war
So you can go and die!
Let’s have a war!
We could all use the money!
Let’s have a war!
We need the space!
Let’s have a war!
Clean out this place!

It already started in the city!
Suburbia will be just as easy!

There’s so many of us
There’s so many of us
There’s so many
There’s so many of us
There’s so many of us
There’s so many [Repeat: x2]

Let’s have a war!
Jack up the Dow Jones!
Let’s have a war!
It can start in New Jersey!
Let’s have a war!
Blame it on the middle-class!
Let’s have a war!
We’re like rats in a cage!

It already started in the city!
Suburbia will be just as easy!

There’s so many of us
There’s so many of us
There’s so many
There’s so many of us
There’s so many of us
There’s so many [Repeat: x2]

Let’s have a war!
Sell the rights to the networks!
Let’s have a war!
Let our wallets get fat like last time!
Let’s have a war!
Give guns to the queers!
Let’s have a war!
The enemy’s within!

It already started in the city!
Suburbia will be just as easy!

There’s so many of us
There’s so many of us
There’s so many
There’s so many of us
There’s so many of us
There’s so many [Repeat: x2]

There’s so many of us
There’s so many of us
There’s so many
There’s so many of us
There’s so many of us
There’s so many [Repeat: x2]

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Public Enemy – ‘Fight The Power’

 

 

Artist:          Public Enemy

Song:           Fight The Power

Album:        Fear Of A Black Planet (1990)

Producer:    The Bomb Squad

Label:          Def Jam

Year:           1989 (‘Do The Right Thing’ soundtrack)

Notes:
With samples ripped straight from both the civil rights movement and James Brown, an inescapable head-nodder of a beat, and lyrics that were impossible to misinterpret, ‘Fight The Power’ stands as one of the high-water marks of protest through music. The song’s genesis lies in a meeting between PE and Spike Lee, called by the latter to find a musical embodiment of late-80s racial tension in Brooklyn for his feature directorial debut, ‘Do The Right Thing.’

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’ 
“The government was pleased to have such a powerful ally in its fight against social evils.”

Lyrics:

Yet our best trained, best educated, best equipped, best prepared troops refuse to fight
As a matter of fact, it’s safe to say that they would rather switch than fight

1989 the number another summer (get down)
Sound of the funky drummer
Music hitting your heart ’cause I know you got soul
(Brothers and sisters, hey)
Listen if you’re missing y’all
Swinging while I’m singing
Giving whatcha getting
Knowing what I know
While the Black bands sweatin’
And the rhythm rhymes rollin’
Got to give us what we want (uh)
Gotta give us what we need (hey)
Our freedom of speech is freedom or death
We got to fight the powers that be

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power (lemme hear you say)
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

As the rhythm designed to bounce
What counts is that the rhymes
Designed to fill your mind
Now that you’ve realized the pride’s arrived
We got to pump the stuff to make us tough
From the heart
It’s a start, a work of art
To revolutionize make a change nothing’s strange
People, people we are the same
No we’re not the same
‘Cause we don’t know the game
What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless
You say what is this?
My beloved let’s get down to business
Mental self defensive fitness
(Yo) bum rush the show
You gotta go for what you know
To make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be

Lemme hear you say
Fight the power (lemme hear you say)
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

Fight the power (lemme hear you say)
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

Elvis was a hero to most but he
Elvis was a hero to most
Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother fuck him and John Wayne
‘Cause I’m Black and I’m proud
I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped
Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps
Sample a look back you look and find
Nothing but rednecks for four hundred years if you check
Don’t worry be happy
Was a number one jam
Damn if I say it you can slap me right here
(Get it) let’s get this party started right
Right on, c’mon
What we got to say (yeah)
Power to the people no delay
Make everybody see
In order to fight the powers that be

Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be

What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (yeah, yeah, yeah)

What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (come on)
What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (yeah, yeah, yeah)
What have we got to say? (yeah)
Fight the power (come on)

Yo check this out man
OK talk to me about the future of Public Enemy
The future of Public Enemy gotta

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Guitar Shorty – ‘Please Mr. President’

 

Artist:          Guitar Shorty

Song:           Please Mr. President

Album:        Bare Knuckle

Producer:    Wyzard (bass, Mother’s Finest)

Label:          Alligator

Year:           2010

Notes:
Guitar Shorty (nee David William Kearney) has been at it since the 1950s, performing with the likes B.B. King, Sam Cooke, and Ray Charles, among others. He’s also the person who turned Jimi Hendrix on to the wah pedal. In short, he’s seen a thing or two, and by the time ‘Please Mr. President’ was released had taken up residence in Harlingen, Tex., near the Mexico border. Wyzard’s production gives the song the full chunk needed to let the commander-in-chief know that Shorty expects an answer.’

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’ 
““Second, and secondly…ahem…put that thing down please, miss.” Bradley made an imperious gesture toward Carol who, stunningly enough, placed the used lollipop stick on the edge of the table.”

Lyrics:

Please Mr. President lay some stimulus on me.
Please Mr. President place some stimulus on me.
Cause I’m just a working man tryin to feed my family.

I used to have a good job working forty hard hours a week.
Had money in the bank and a mortgage I could meet.
But then they started to lay off and got a hold of me.
Now that mean ol’ banker trying to put me in the street.

Please Mr. President lay some stimulus on me.
Please Mr. president place some stimulus on me.
Cause I’m just a working man tryin to feed my family.
I’m playin this for you, Mr. President!

Now I sure don’t mind workin’- I’m not scared to break a sweat.
I’m not lookin’ for a bailout, but I gotta pay my debts.
I don’t know how to be a bad guy, I’m not gonna steal and rob.
But if I’m gonna feed my children, I gotta have some kind of job.

Please, please, please Mr. President lay some stimulus on me.
Please Mr. President place some stimulus on me.
Cause I’m just a working man tryin to feed my family.

I’ve got to have it, you know I need it.
Everybody needs stimulus

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Iron Reagan – ‘Cycle of Violence’

Artist:          Iron Reagan

Song:           Cycle of Violence

Album:        Worse Than Dead

Producer:    Phil Hall

Label:          A389

Year:           2013

Notes:

Iron Reagan (yes, it’s the pun you assume) is a crossover thrash supergroup from Richmond, Va., featuring members of Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour, and Cannabis Corpse. It kept some of Municipal Waste’s humor but added sincere political commentary. ‘Cycle of Violence’ addresses the increased ease with which public protests can descend into chaos.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’ (now seeking publisher!) –
“Cookie had meant to ask the Captain about what seemed like an endless supply of drugs onboard and if it might be playing a role in the crew’s deepening cycles of lethargy and violence.”

Lyrics:

Mandating slaughter of public views
Dictatorship prevails, rioting ensues
Just don’t ask questions, censor the news
These are all the attributes in the

Cycle of violence

Our peoples’ voices protest our rights
Deteriorating promise truth burns in the fight
Don’t try to stop us, it’s in our sights
And this just fuels the hate and spite in the

Cycle of violence

It’s a cycle of violence
The cycle will never end

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Guns n’ Roses – ‘Civil War’

 

Artist:          Guns n’ Roses

Song:           Civil War

Album:        Use Your Illusion II (1991)

Producer:    Mike Clink

Label:          Geffen

Year:           1990 (‘Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal),

Notes:

Not only is this an actual anti-war song written by what at the time was the most dangerous band in the world, its lyrics are infused with first-hand civil rights movement experience. Vocalist W. Axl Rose penned most of the words, but bassist Duff McKagan contributed the line “Did you wear the black arm band when they shot the man who said: ‘Peace could last forever’?” based on going to a march as a young child with his mom in remembrance of Martin Luther King.’ The song, appropriately enough given the times, was reintroduced as a staple of Guns n’ Roses’ live set in 2019.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’ (now seeking publisher!) –
“This compromise was sold to the civil libertarians as bringing the bogeyman out of the closet and to hawkish right-wingers as more effective law enforcement.”

Lyrics:

Look at your young men fighting
Look at your women crying
Look at your young men dying
The way they’ve always done before

Look at the hate we’re breeding
Look at the fear we’re feeding
Look at the lives we’re leading
The way we’ve always done before

My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights
And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can’t deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars

D’you wear a black armband
When they shot the man
Who said “peace could last forever”
And in my first memories
They shot Kennedy
I went numb when I learned to see
So I never fell for Vietnam
We got the wall of D.C. to remind us all
That you can’t trust freedom
When it’s not in your hands
When everybody’s fightin’
For their promised land
And

I don’t need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin’ soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain’t that fresh
I don’t need your civil war
Ow, oh no, no, no, no, no

Look at the shoes you’re filling
Look at the blood we’re spilling
Look at the world we’re killing
The way we’ve always done before
Look in the doubt we’ve wallowed
Look at the leaders we’ve followed
Look at the lies we’ve swallowed
And I don’t want to hear no more

My hands are tied
For all I’ve seen has changed my mind
But still the wars go on as the years go by
With no love of God or human rights
‘Cause all these dreams are swept aside
By bloody hands of the hypnotized
Who carry the cross of homicide
And history bears the scars of our civil wars

I don’t need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin’ soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain’t that fresh
I don’t need your civil war
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no
I don’t need your civil war
I don’t need your civil war
Your power hungry sellin’ soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain’t that fresh
I don’t need your civil war
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no uh-oh-uh, no uh-oh, uh no
I don’t need one more war

I don’t need one more war
No, no, no, no uh-oh-uh, no uh-oh, uh no
Whaz so civil ’bout war anyway?

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Sacred Reich – ‘The American Way’

Artist:          Sacred Reich

Song:           The American Way

Album:        The American Way

Producer:    Bill Metoyer

Label:          Metal Blade

Year:           1990

Notes:

Straight into the deep end! Sacred Reich bassist and main songwriter Phil Rind has a wide social justice streak in both his craft and in general and brought it to the fore with his band’s second full-length album, ‘The American Way.’ The record is one of most overtly political thrash releases ever and stacks up with the very best musically as well.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’ (now seeking publisher!) –
“All the reactionary freaks in the American Civil Liberties Union and associated organizations had ended up being right. Freedom had been traded for security.”

Lyrics:

Truth and honor, faith and pride
All conviction’s surely died
Honesty’s time has passed
Time for lies is here at last

Truth is false, I’m so fed up
How did we come to be so fucked
Hate, fear, pain, death
All our country has got left

Talk to children hear them say
Daddy left again today
Brother steals and mommy lies
Future lost before their eyes

The sun was lost behind the clouds
They wrapped it up and blacked it out
Acid rain fell today
It came and washed our hopes away

This was once the land of dreams
Now these dreams have turned to greed
In the midst of all this wealth
The poor are left to help themselves

A capitalist’s democracy
Why no one said that freedom’s free
Lady liberty rots away
No truth, no justice, the American way

Don’t look past your TV
All of us are what you see
A looking glass into our lives
What we watch is what we buy

Priorities are out of whack
Who is next to stab our back
Doesn’t it make you mad
To have lost all that we’ve had

This was once the land of dreams
Now these dreams have turned to greed
In the midst of all this wealth
The poor are left to help themselves

A capitalist’s democracy
Why no one said that freedom’s free
Lady liberty rots away
No truth, no justice, the American way

Doesn’t it fill you with disgust
That there’s no one left to trust
Is this happening, is this real
My body numb, I cannot feel

Are you happy? Are you sad?
Are emotions a thing of the past
I have no tears, I cannot cry
No one mourns for a world that’s died

This was once the land of dreams
Now these dreams have turned to greed
In the midst of all this wealth
The poor are left to help themselves

A capitalist’s democracy
Why no one said that freedom’s free
Lady liberty rots away
No truth, no justice, the American way

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.