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Historically significant songs from long ago

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:help:hello there.. i have a school project i have to do where im supposed to choose a song from a long time ago.. im not exactly sure how far back the song has to date, but i know its supposed to be pretty dang old (but my teachers pretty flexible so im not worried about specifics..). well the assignment is to pick a song that has historical meaning or significance that relates to the time period or certain events that were happening at the time and explain its significance to the time and/or time it reflected. i dont know what to research and have no idea what song to do.. any ideas?? ex: goodnight saigon by billy joel was what i wanted to do, but another student is already doing it, though my teacher said he would prefer and older one then that.

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"Abraham, Martin and John" by Dion - 1969

This has a lot of historical relevancy to the time it was recorded. The events featured changed the world, while the somewhat profound lyrics are wrapped in a great musical arrangement.

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pick a song that has historical meaning or significance that relates to the time period or certain events that were happening at the time and explain its significance to the time and/or time it reflected.

I guess you could use God Save The Queen by the Sex Pistols, but I'm not sure how your teacher would react to using that song....

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Loreena McKeenitt has a song called the Highwayman on her CD Mystic dream(?). It was a poem by Longfellow, but it is beautiful and romantic and has to do with the Revolutionary War. (Is that "dang long ago" enough.) It relates the horrors of the British insistance of the Quartering Act on the new settlers in "the colonies" (soon to be the United States). If your teacher wants the song to have been written at the time about a situation, then how about Ohio by Neil Young.

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Loreena McKeenitt has a song called the Highwayman on her CD Mystic dream(?). It was a poem by Longfellow, but it is beautiful and romantic and has to do with the Revolutionary War. (Is that "dang long ago" enough.) It relates the horrors of the British insistance of the Quartering Act on the new settlers in "the colonies" (soon to be the United States). If your teacher wants the song to have been written at the time about a situation, then how about Ohio by Neil Young.

I like the idea of The Highwayman.

Also if you had a specific facination with Billy JOel you could do "We DIdn't Start the Fire." it covers over three decades of significant historical and social issues.

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"Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday. Probably the most chilling song about racism and lynchings ever made.

Lyrics:

SOUTHERN TREES

BEAR A STRANGE FRUIT

BLOOD ON THE LEAVES

AND BLOOD AT THE ROOT

BLACK BODIES SWINGIN?

IN THE SOUTHERN BREEZE

STRANGE FRUIT HANGIN?

FROM THE POPLAR TREES

PASTORAL SCENE OF THE GALLANT SOUTH

THE BULGING EYES AND THE TWISTED MOUTH

SCENT OF MAGNOLIA

SWEET AND FRESH

THEN THE SUDDEN SMELL OF BURNIN? FLESH

HERE IS A FRUIT

FOR THE CROWS TO PLUCK

FOR THE RAIN TO GATHER

FOR THE WIND TO SUCK

FOR THE SUN TO ROT

FOR THE TREE TO DROP

HERE IS A STRANGE

AND BITTER

CROP

You could probably get a few papers out of this song. I believe she recorded it in 1939. It was written by a Jewish teacher in 1924 in response to lynchings in the South. Anyway, take a look at this one.

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this sounds stupid, but Sympathy For The Devil by guns and roses... it covers SO many historical events (like the russian revoloution).

If not Ohio by CSNY.

Yes GNR did do SFTD but it was originally the Stones, and personally I like the original much better.

Anyway, "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield is about the riots on Sunset Strip in the 60's and "Revolution" by The Beatles is about Chinese Communism.

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strange fruit is fantastic, well done daslied! nina simone and jeff buckley have both done amazing covers. the lyrics are so eerie. it's an amazing song because the lyrics are somewhat abstract but get the meaning across without any doubt. chilling as you say.

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"What's goin' On ?" -- Marvin Gaye : While no particular events are mentioned, the violence of the times that it was written in is inferred ( racial unrest/ protests/ assasinations/ Vietnam war, etc. ).

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Not that old, but a poignant song that touches heavily on the troubles in Ireland is u2's Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

It has been said that Bono was placed on the IRA's hit list because of this song and a performance of it. No offnce to our Irish members, and maybe they know more about this? I find it very interesting, being of Irish descent. It would definately be something no one else would do.

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Another good one (which probably most young 'uns wouldn't know about) is "American Pie" by Don McLean. For as fun and happy as it sounds, it's actually a pretty sad song about the deaths of some big name rockers of the time (the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens) as well as several other significant events. A good site to walk you through the song is http://www.schlatter.org/ampie.htm

Good Luck! :thumbsup:

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As a history teacher who has done a similar assignment I can tell you some of the songs I have seen...

Over There-Various-Written by Georgr M. Cohan about Wolrd War I

Russians-Sting-About the Cold War

Fortunate Son-Creedence CLearwater Revival-Vietnam

Boogie Woogie Bugle BOy of Company B-The Andrew Sisters-World War II

We shall overcome-various-about the civil rights movement

Sun City-Various-Apartheid

The Times they are a changin'-Bob Dylan-THe Counter-culture

Brother Can You spare a Dime-Gorney Harburg-The Great Depression

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a few other classics:

The Byrds - Draft Morning (Vietnam)

Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changing (the sixties cultural revolution)

The Specials - Ghost Town (apologies to our mainly American forumites as this one may not be as well known - this was a massive hit in the 80s in the UK and is about conditions for young people in the run down inner cities which lead to a series of race riots under the hated Margaret Thatcher government)

Paul Robeson - The Moscow COncert ( a massively important cultural/political event by a majorly under-recognised American figure).

Public Enemny - take your pick from 911 Is A Joke, Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos etc.etc.

Various - Buddy Can You Spare A Dime (the Depression)

Sly & The Family Stone - There's A Riot Going On (work it out)

Plus you could probably garner dozens from the work of the likes of Pete Seeger, Doc Boggs etc.

And finally, the two Beatles ones mentioned - Revolution was not about 'Chinese Communism' (it just mentioned Chariman Mao.... doesn't quite add up to the same thing). And as far as I know the only actual news mentioned in A Day In The Life was the news based on the roiad survey in Blackburn which reported the number of holes in the road. Hardly a major political/cultural event. ;)

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Actually, I believe the impetus for "A Day In The Life" was a story in paper John Lennon ready about a Guiness heir who died in a car wreck. That's the "He blew his mind out in a car" part. I can't remember his name, though, and it's probably not very significant historically.

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With Lennon?s opening and closing verses book-ending McCartney?s piano led mid-section, A Day in the Life shows how seemingly disparate elements can be fitted together into a cohesive and powerful whole. Lennon was a voracious assimilator of information from books, newspapers and TV, turning the smallest observations into song ideas. The Daily Mail provided the inspiration for the line about the holes in Blackburn, which was then given a suitably surreal twist, while the death of Guinness heir Tara Browne in a car crash inspired the man who ?blew his mind out in a car?. Meanwhile the line ?I?d love to turn you on? was enough to get the song banned by the BBC.

The apocalyptic string crescendo was McCartney?s idea, influenced by his knowledge of avant garde composers such as Stockhausen and his wish to create what he saw as ?a happening?. The orchestra was instructed to play every note on their instruments, starting at the lowest and finishing at the highest, over the course of 24 bars ? listen closely and you can hear Beatles roadie Mal Evans counting them down in the background.

A Day in The Life marks one of the last flowerings of Lennon and McCartney?s collaborative spirit ? henceforth they would generally write alone. There would be many more Fab moments, but few would match this for sheer unbridled power and adventurousness.

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And finally, the two Beatles ones mentioned - Revolution was not about 'Chinese Communism' (it just mentioned Chariman Mao.... doesn't quite add up to the same thing). And as far as I know the only actual news mentioned in A Day In The Life was the news based on the roiad survey in Blackburn which reported the number of holes in the road. Hardly a major political/cultural event. ;)

Well I was recently playing a game of Trivial Pursuit and the question was "Which Beatles song was inspired by the Cummunist regime of China?" Answer: Revolution How dare you challenge they almighty Trivial Pursuit?!? :laughing:

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