Guess the song special "Protest songs": the militant musical quiz in tune with our times
With #Metoo, the ecological awareness or even same-sex marriage... those social matters and especially movement for the defense of civil rights or minorities, all those, have been in the last 10 years the main topics of our society. In the United States, the "Black Lives Matter" movement against police violence against African-American has grown considerably over the past few weeks, with the dramatic George Floyd affair.
Great social causes, however, didn't appear over night, they have been the subject of many songs since the beginning of the 20th century. Let's look back over few engaged pieces, relative to key themes and important events, for an educational and militant musical quiz.
An historical musical quiz to learn about the main stages of the fight against racism
Regarding racism experienced by African-Americans, the musical History of the US is punctuated by multiple engaged songs. Many of them were born during the segregation, from 1876 to 1965 during which discrimination was institutionalized. In 1939, jazz singer Billie Holiday added to the southern landscapes of the US, the barbarity of racist acts in the classic "Strange Fruit". Soul king James Brown will also publish in 1968, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, one of the most liberating songs linked to this era, "Say It Loud", which invites African-Americans to be proud of their origins.
More recent songs remind us that, unfortunately, this subject is still on trend, especially with the number of police incidents that we heard about in the US. In 1992, the group Rage Against The Machine made it the subject of one of its most famous songs, "Killing In The Name Of". This one talks about the beating of Rodney King by four police officers in Los Angeles, which led to the worst riots in the country since the 1960s. The rapper Kendrick Lamar also protested the violence in his song full of hope: "Alright”. This song became since 2015 the anthem for the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Other titles tend to raise awareness about racism. For example, in the 1989 hit, "Beds are Burning", the group Midnight Oil denounced the consequences of colonialism by asking the Australian government to give back lands to the native Pintupis. Another example could be, M.I.A., a Sri Lankan refugee arrived in London in 1986, talks about the difficulties of integrating immigrants in Western countries, in her song: "Paper Planes".
"Peace and love" with musical quiz focusing on pacifist songs
Looking over those events in American History or Western colonialism, by analysing lyrics of songs, gives an educational dimension to the musical quiz. Bu we can also include some other topics.
Over the years, artist expressed themselves against violence of all kinds (military, political, etc.) and released some great songs, sometimes pacifist, some others more revolutionary. In the 60s and 70s, began the hippie movement, and many artists got mobilized against international conflicts. In 1971, Marvin Gaye denounced Vietnam War and police repression against protesters, In "What’s Going On". Without forgetting of course one of the most famous songs of that year, "Imagine", in which the Beatles dream of a better world. On the French side, Michel Polnareff gave us a year later, an equally optimistic message with "On Ira Tous Au Paradis" – in which he demands forgiveness and equality between all. A song so universal that it was produced with 500 amateur singers, randomly invited to sing on the day of its recording!
The opposition against some military actions also gave birth to more revolutionary songs like U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" in 1983. It is a tribute to the victims of the civil rights demonstrations at the end of January 72 in Northern Ireland.
Charity songs: essentials for a “Guess the song” focused on solidarity
What is more engaged than a song whose funds are donated to charities? For a musical quiz under the sign of solidarity, we just have to pick songs from the 80s and 90s. During these two decades, people carried out massive actions, in particular against hunger in the world.
In France, we all know the famous song from les Restos du Coeur written by Jean-Jacques Goldman and sung by Les Enfoirés, which we all hummed at least once in front of the annual TV show. A beautiful moment of solidarity which brings in almost 20 million euros each year to the association created by Coluche.
But it is of course in the US that songs have raised unbelievable amount of money, to support great causes. Michael Jackson contributed to this success since he is the creator of two hits we can discuss here. He first co-composed with Lionel Richie one of the best-selling songs in History: "We Are The World", for the choir USA For Africa. The single, released in 1985, has raised more than $ 63 million against hunger in Ethiopia, and the sing will be used again in 2010 to help survivors of the earthquake in Haiti. Moreover, the "King of Pop" released in 1992 the famous song "Heal the World", from his album Dangerous, to once again fight against hunger, poverty, but also childhood illness. The title launched the creation of the association of the same name.
Windows to the future and causes of 2020
Other social movement have been the main topic of some famous songs we all know, dealing with the LGBTQ rights or woman's liberation. With social networks, those matters get more and more visibility and they will undoubtedly reach the headlines in the 2020s. Use musical quiz to try getting a better understanding over current and future issues, looking over our History and the evolution of societies.
The environment will obviously be one of the most important topics of our generation. While less attention was paid to this particular subject during the 20th century, global warming and ecology appeared more often in lyrics at the start of the 3rd millennium. In France, we can look ahits from Yannick Noah or Mickey 3D: “Aux Arbres Citoyens” and “Respire”… And I'm sure our playlist will get more and more songs over the upcoming years!