Songs about war and peace

“The latest things in clothes will be black.”

I made a series of mixed CDs from my CD collection in the first decade of the 21st century. (The whys I’ll write about next week.) They are songs about war and peace in honor of the Veterans Day weekend.

A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan. This is the Rolling Thunder Revue version from 1975.

Shades of Grey – Billy Joel. I was surprised I went with this song instead of his Goodnight Saigon.

The Ostrich – Steppenwolf. I’ve loved this song and the eponymous album it comes from for a long time.

The Call Up – the Clash. Here’s what the song from the triple album collection Sandinista! is about.

One More Parade – They Might Be Giants—the great Phil Ochs song.

The big fool says to push on.

Waist Deep In The Big Muddy – Dick Gaughan. This is from Where Have All The Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger, a compilation double CD that I bought at the Old Songs Festival near Albany in the early aughts. For a time, Seeger was banned from singing it on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

War – the Temptations. Recorded first by the Tempts, Berry Gordy thought the song might be too controversial for one of Motown’s premiere artists. But Norman Whitfield was allowed to get Edwin Starr, a second-tier in the Motor City hierarchy, to release it as a single, which went to #1 pop for three weeks.

Wooden Ships – Jefferson Airplane. The song is credited to David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and the Airplane’s Paul Kantner. But on my CSN LP, it lists only Crosby and Stills.

If I Had A Rocket Launcher– Bruce Cockburn. I have a LOT of Cockburn on vinyl. Grammarly wants me to change the first word to Suppose. 

The Unknown Soldier – the Doors. From the Waiting for the Sun album, the first Doors album I owned.

The War Is Over – Phil Ochs. I didn’t have my first Ochs album until after he died in 1976.

Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution – Living Colour, live at The Ritz. The great Tracy Chapman song. I have this on some compilation CD.

Business Goes On As Usual – Roberta Flack. It’s a great song on her Chapter Two album,  written by Fred Hellerman of the Weavers and Fran Minkoff. It was recorded by The Chad Mitchell Trio; John Denver, David Boise & Michael Johnson; and others.

Give Peace A Chance – Louis Armstrong. And why not? (I didn’t pick Mitch Miller, thank your lucky stars.)

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

2 thoughts on “Songs about war and peace”

  1. not a war song per se but I remember when I was in high school, my calc teacher talking about how when the Vietnam draft was happening and people got their “lottery numbers” for it, they’d march across campus singing “One Is the Loneliest Number.” (I don’t know what number they went up to in the year he became eligible but he wasn’t drafted)

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