The Observer - - Focus -

1 Woody Guthrie, as sung by Joan Baez: De­por­tee Writ­ten in 1948, about Mex­i­cans be­ing de­ported. Still rel­e­vant seven decades later.

2 Step­pen­wolf: Mon­ster/ Sui­cide/ Amer­ica

An epic tril­ogy on an em­pire built on the back of geno­cide. More rel­e­vant with each pass­ing year.

3 Jimi Hen­drix: Ma­chine Gun My gen­er­a­tion’s sear­ing cry against Viet­nam and all wars – and also as Hen­drix once said, for “peo­ple fight­ing wars within them­selves”.

4 Crosby, Stills & Nash: Long Time Gone The prom­ise of a bet­ter time and world, sung in hope and quiet rage, dur­ing dark times.

5 Patti Smith: Wait­ing Un­der­ground Long Time Gone without the light. A sum­mon­ing in ter­ri­ble times to those who’ve lost hope, for a “gath­er­ing” to make “the great ones trem­ble”.

6 Christy Moore: No Time For Love Jack War­shaw’s song about the univer­sal knock-on­the-door, the ar­rival of the po­lice, the sol­diers.

7 Bob Dy­lan: Masters of War The song that joins the dots, in white-hot rage, be­tween those who die, and those who make for­tunes from the killing.

8 Son House: Amer­i­can De­fense

The orig­i­nal Delta blues mas­ter on the sec­ond world war telling of a black sol­dier’s sac­ri­fice in a white man’s war.

9 Neil Young: Af­ter the Gold Rush

The ‘green’ song ‘ahead of its time’, more than any. If Mother Na­ture was on the run in the 1970s, she is by now crushed by the greed and bel­liger­ence of Homo sup­pos­edly ‘Sapi­ens’.

10 Giuseppe Verdi: Dio, Che Nell’Alma In­fondere

Not a ‘song’ ex­actly, but this duet from Verdi’s opera Don Car­los has be­come an Ital­ian folk song in its way: pledg­ing death be­fore servi­tude, and a vi­sion of lib­erty.

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