Previously here on Mystic Sons, we posted a blog titled '10 Songs For When Everything Turns Out Alright'. Simply, the list gives a rundown of songs best played when happy days come around. Now, the focus will be on songs that have made a difference.
Great songs are transcendental. They can even make a difference to the world, either by rousing strong emotions, inspiring scores of people, or shining light on a problem or inequality that needs to be addressed. The following songs have done just that, which is why they rightfully make up this list of 10 songs that made a difference to the world. (Note: The songs have been listed from the oldest to the most recent.)
Billie Holiday - 'Strange Fruit'
Racism is still, tragically, a thing today, and that is the main reason why Billie Holiday's 'Strange Fruit' has endured for almost 80 years now since it was released way back in 1939. Lady Day keeps it real all throughout, tackling racism in a manner that is both haunting and moving at the same time. Her soaring vocals tell the whole story of racism.
Aretha Franklin - 'Think'
The Queen of Soul released 'Think' just a month after Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. Not coincidentally, it became a rallying cry for the black liberation movement, according to The Telegraph. More than that, the song has become a beacon of women empowerment.
Edwin Starr - 'War'
The ultimate anti-war anthem, Edwin Starr's irreverent condemnation of the Vietnam War openly vilifies the atrocities of war itself and advocates for a world without it. The message of this upbeat classic, which is as much a political statement as it is a song for the ages, is simple and straightforward, but is undeniably powerful and enduring even years after Starr first sang it in 1970.
John Lennon - 'Imagine'
The signature song of John Lennon had people imagining an assortment of possibilities in a world without racism, religion, divisiveness, greed, and conflict. Lennon's song, released way back in 1971, continues to resonate despite it being Utopian. Everyone wants the same type of world that the Beatles co-founder imagined back then.
Sex Pistols - 'God Save The Queen'
The punk equivalent of 'Fight the Power' this Sex Pistols special, at the time of its release at least (1977), was a stinging, in-your-face rebuke of British politics, which had begun turning off quite a lot of people, notably the younger demographic of the burgeoning punk movement in England. The anger is still palpable years later, with BBC even using it to troll Tory MP Andrew Rosindel back in 2016.
U2 - 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'
This overtly political U2 released in 1983 is inspired by the Blood Sunday incident in Derry, where British troops opened fire on unarmed civil rights protesters and bystanders. It is a powerful denunciation of the violence that has long been plaguing Northern Ireland. 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' went on to become one of the band's greatest and most enduring hits. More importantly, Lottoland states that it shone a light on the plight of Northern Ireland. By then, violence had peaked, trapping the region in a vicious cycle of attacks and reprisals. Now, more than 3 decades after U2 released 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' an uneasy peace has been forged, yet the scars of violence have remained.
Band Aid - 'Do They Know It's Christmas?'
Organised by Boomtown Rats lead singer Bob Geldof in 1984, this Christmas single brought together some of the biggest and brightest stars in the music industry for a noteworthy cause: raise money to aid the Ethiopian famine. The song raised millions of pounds, and has become a Christmas anthem that still resonates today.
Public Enemy - 'Fight the Power'
Brash, profanity-laced, and powerful, this anti-establishment hit from Public Enemy is both a sociopolitical commentary about the sad predicament that minorities need to endure and a searing call to action. Released as a single in 1989, 'Fight the Power' is unapologetic and confrontational, yet its message is authentic and empowering.
Michael Jackson - 'Heal the World'
Back in 1992, the Balkan Region and Somalia were both being torn apart by war, and the world was in need of a whole lot of healing. That's when the world's greatest showman, the inimitable Michael Jackson, came up with 'Heal the World'. Jackson gave the world a beautiful song with an even more beautiful message. As a result of the success of the song, The King of Pop founded the Heal the World Foundation.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert - 'Same Love'
The world is truly making headway in as far as accepting the LGBT community, but as 'Same Love' proves, there is more work to be done, especially on the issues of gay rights and homophobia. Macklemore would know, as he once drew flak for performing this very same song. The Guardian reveals that Macklemore was heavily criticised by former prime minister Tony Abbot and Liberal senator Eric Abetz after the 34-year-old performed 'Same Love' at the NRL grand final. No wonder the song, which was released in 2012, has become an anthem for LGBT rights.