I had a sudden rush of nostalgia when I read Laurie Penny’s recent post about the Daily Mail’s homophobia towards the right wing blogger Iain Dale, mainly because she gave an honourable mention to the Tom Robinson classic: Sing if you’re Glad to be Gay. The first album I ever bought was Power in the Darkness by the Tom Robinson Band, in fact I’ve still got it today, complete with the clenched fist stencil that came with it that you were presumably supposed to use for grafittiing on walls, an activity I of course have never been involved in: oh no.

Anyway, listening to that song again brought back some memories. Memories of the 80’s and life under Thatcher, and of the music that made up my own personal soundtrack of those times. I’m not talking here about Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet or any of the rest of that New Romantic shite that everyone cites when the subject of 80’s music comes up, but of the protest songs, songs with a distinctly political message that provided a backdrop to that era. Well, for those of us who were politically active at the time anyway.

So here’s my selection of favourite late ’70’s/80’s/early 90’s protesty tunes: feel free to add more in the comments.

Oh yes, and I’ve also got a request to make. It’s pretty clear now that unless there’s a miracle, the Tories are going to be back in Government again within the next 12 months: if they’re anything like the last lot we’ve got some interesting/crappy years ahead of us. So will someone please please sort some decent fucking music out!

Like this little lot. Enjoy!

Billy Bragg: Which Side are You On

Tracy Chapman: Talking ’bout a Revolution

Elvis Costello: Shipbuilding and Tramp the Dirt Down

Dire Straits: Brothers in Arms

Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin: Sisters are doing it for Themselves

Peter Gabriel: Biko

Linton Kwesi Johnson: Fite Dem Back

Latin Quarter: Radio Africa

Bob Marley: Get up, Stand Up

Prince: Sign o’ the Times

Rage against the Machine: Killing in the Name

R.E.M: Orange Crush

Sinead O’ Connor: Black Boys on Mopeds

Sting: They Dance Alone

The Beat: Stand down Margaret

The Clash: London Calling

The Communards: Breadline Britain

The Jam: Going Underground

The Redskins: It Can be Done

The Specials: Ghost Town

The Style Council: Walls Come Tumbling Down

Tom Robinson Band: Aint gonna take it

U2: Sunday Bloody Sunday

UB40: One in Ten


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