As revolutions spread across Northern Africa and the Middle East, what songs will best foment freedom? What songs would you play if you were a rebel Pirate Radio DJ? Or if you where handing out thousands of cheap MP3 players to the crowds? (which brings up an interesting debate. Is pirate radio dead in the era of cheap USB sticks packed with songs to copy and share?)
Revolution, now and then, is a good thing, especially when dictators are deposed and freedom sweeps in. But in the recent uprisings seem to be fueled by religious fanaticism and socialist ideals. Hopefully, with the chips in the air, there is the chance that liberty will prevail.
Great philosophers from Aristotle to Jay-Z have known that music can motivate, inspire and drive emotions. Plato said it more directly: “All musical innovation is full of dangers to the whole city” (…) “one may not change the musical modes without changing, at the same time, the fundamental laws of State”” (Plato, Republic, Book III).
So what is your Revolution Radio playlist? Of course there will be lots of rock, rap, and punk. Rock and Roll creates an itch for freedom. Some tunes will overtly reference revolution, some will instill an insatiable desire for it, and others will simply be so aggro that the listener gets amped up to fight for liberty. Am I ethnocentric? Yes, because Western music is the international language! There are Western rock, pop, and top 40 stations on every continent, and in remote places like Belarus, Dubai, Serbia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, and Lebanon. The revolution will be accompanied with three chords on an electric guitar, and a mixmaster thumping the 808.
Rock played a role in the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960s in the US, and blasted as the Berlin Wall fell.
Here are my first picks. Post your suggestions for the playlist below.
- Rock the Casbah by The Clash
- Clampdown by The Clash
- F#@% tha Police by N.W.A.
- Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N Roses
- Peace Train by Cat Stevens
- God Save the Queen by The Sex Pistols
- War Pigs by Black Sabbath
- Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf
- Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd
- California Uber Alles by The Dead Kennedys
- Freewill by RUSH
- We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister
- Cult of Personality by Living Colour