This Summer I Hear the Drumming

Protest songs were on everybody’s mind
Where had all the protest singers gone
But protest comes from the basement and the streets
Not the 7-times-an-hour pop songs

 

I’ve been watching the protests on the news for the past two months.  They’ve taken place all around the country and under many different circumstances.  I admit that at the time of the first big protest after the election, I didn’t quite see the point. The election was over.  Valdamort won.  Why waste the time marching in the streets?  Even then, I thought the protests would fizzle out to the point where just a few hardcore people were left out there, just like the same five people who protested the Iraq war by holding signs up every Saturday morning at the Bidwell Market.  Admirable in my eyes, but ineffective.  I’m happy to say that I was wrong.  Protesting and confronting House and Senate members has had an effect.  Is it right to think that the protests will continue and that the crowds will keep growing?

I’m a sucker for a good protest song.  The current climate(change?) around the country seems ripe for a few good protest songs.  If we’re to believe the lyrics that I quoted above from Dan Bern, there won’t be any more protest songs that become popular on commercial radio.  I think that’s right.  I think that protest songs get released fairly often.  They’re mostly not hits and if they are, they are mostly being heard by a different segment of the population.  Younger.  Maybe ethnic.  I did a google search on “what was the last great protest song?” Nothing substantive came up.  I did get a link to an article from The Village Voice about the 50 best protest songs of 2016.  I looked at them and didn’t recognize any of the songs.  How big of a hit would a protest song have to be for me to have heard it?  I don’t listen to Top 40 so it would have to permeate society to the point where it’s on a commercial.  Who would even write a great protest song at this point?  Bruce maybe?  Tom Petty?  The time where protest songs were also hit songs on the radio seems like a distant memory.

 

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