For What It’s Worth. Mojo Magazine’s Top 100 Protest Songs.

As we all take a moment to absorb the results of the U.S. election, I figured now is as good a time to list the “100 Greatest Protest Songs Ever!” according to the May 2004 issue of Mojo magazine (“White Riot” by The Clash was repeated twice). Of course this list is completely provisional. I have embedded a web link for each entry based on the link from Mojo. It either refers you to a record label where you can buy the track or a site with more information on the artist or song. I have not had the chance to verify these links so don’t complain if they don’t work. Fight the power!

100. Chaotic Discord- “Fuck Religion, Fuck Politics, Fuck the Lot of You
99. Asian Dub Foundation- “Real Great Britain
98. Chelsea- “Right to Work
97. Tom Lehrer- “Pollution
96. Fela Kuti and Afrika 70- “Zombie
95. Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy- “Famous and Dandy (Like Amos and Andy)
94. Sun Ra Arkestra- “Nuclear War
93. The Pop Group- “We Are All Prostitutes”
92. The Dils- “I Hate the Rich
91. Culturcide- “They Aren’t the World”
90. The Rolling Stones- “We Love You
89. Merle Haggard- “Okie From Muskogee
88. Max Roach- “Freedom Day
87. The Deviants- “Let’s Loot the Supermarket (Again Like We Did Last Summer)”
86. Sonic Youth- “Youth Against Fascism
85. Beastie Boys- “In a World Gone Mad
84. Ralph McTell- “Streets of London
83. Negativland- “Christianity is Stupid/Hitlerstupid
82. Linton Kwesi Johnson- “Sonny’s Lettah (Anti-Sus Poem)”
81. Victor Jara- “Preguntas Por Puerto Montt
80. The Smiths- “Meat is Murder
79. Swamp Dogg- “God Bless America For What?
78. Merle Travis- “Dark as a Dungeon
77. Rage Against the Machine- “Sleep Now In the Fire
76. Leon Rosselson- “The World Turned Upside Down”
75. Josh White- “Free & Equal Blues
74. Discharge- “Realities of War”
73. The Mothers of Invention- “Trouble Every Day”
72. Jimmy Cliff- “Vietnam
71. Archie Shepp- “Attica Blues
70. The Jam- “Mr. Clean”
69. Creedence Clearwater Revival- “Fortunate Son”
68. Robert Wyatt- “Shipbuilding
67. Parliament- “Oh Lord, Why Lord/Prayer
66. Simon and Garfunkel- “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night”
65. Johnny Paycheck- “Take This Job and Shove It”
64. The Beat- “Stand Down Margaret”
63. U2- “Pride (In the Name of Love)
62. Lesley Gore- “You Don’t Own Me
61. Marlena Shaw- “Woman of the Ghetto”
60. The Specials- “Ghost Town
59. Bill Withers- “I Can’t Write Left-Handed”
58. Eddie Cochran- “Summertime Blues
57. The Almanac Singers- “Which Side Are You On?”
56. Eric Bogle- “No Man’s Land (The Green Fields of France)”
55. Steve Earle- “John Walker’s Blues
54. MC5- “American Ruse
53. Boogie Down Productions- “Stop the Violence
52. The Staple Singers- “Respect Yourself”
51. Elvis Costello- “Oliver’s Army
50. Junior Murvin- “The Police and Thieves
49. The Ramones- “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg
48. John Prine- “Sam Stone
47. Public Enemy- “Fight the Power
46. Laura Lee- “Wedlock is a Padlock
45. The Impressions- “This is My Country”
44. Buffy Saint Marie- “Universal Soldier
43. John Lennon- “Woman is the Nigger of the World”
42. The Clash- “White Riot
41. Brand Nubian- “Wake Up”
40. Bruce Springsteen- “Born in the USA
39. Artists United Against Apartheid- “Sun City
38. Tom Robinson Band- “Glad to Be Gay
37. Janis Ian- “Society’s Child (Baby I’ve Been Thinking)
36. Frankie Goes To Hollywood- “Two Tribes
35. The Who- “My Generation
34. Les McCain and Eddie Harris- “Compared to What
33. Buffalo Springfield- “For What It’s Worth”
32. Peter Gabriel- “Biko
31. Sly and the Family Stone- “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey
30. The Clash- “White Riot” (Repeat)
29. The Last Poets- “Wake Up Niggers”
28. Johnny Cash- “San Quentin
27. Curtis Mayfield- “We Got to Have Peace
26. Billy Bragg- “There Is Power In a Union
25. Country Joe and the Fish- “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag
24. Serge Gainsbourg- “Aux Armes et Caetera
23. Nina Simone- “Young, Gifted and Black
22. Dead Kennedy- “Nazi Punks, Fuck Off
21. Gil Scott-Heron- “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
20. Edwin Starr- “War
19. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young- “Ohio
18. Aretha Franklin- “Respect
17. The Beatles- “Revolution/Revolution #1
16. Woody Guthrie- “This Land is Your Land
15. Stevie Wonder- “Living For the City”
14. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five- “The Message
13. Phil Ochs- “I Ain’t Marching Anymore
12. Special Aka- “Nelson Mandela
11. Band Aid- “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”
10. N.W.A.- “Fuck Tha Police
09. Marvin Gaye- “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”
08. The Wailers- “Get Up, Stand Up
07. Sam Cooke- “A Change Is Gonna Come
06. John Lennon- “Give Peace a Chance”
05. Billie Holiday- “Strange Fruit
04. Sex Pistols- “God Save the Queen
03. James Brown- “Say It Loud- I’m Black and I’m Proud
02. Pete Seeger: “We Shall Overcome
01. BobDylan- “Masters of War”


  1. OOm gallery’s show of black musicans…damm fine selection of original works. Well done for pogus caesar being there and taking photographs – especially am taken by jimmy cliff, burning spear and pablo!!!! this has got absolutely nothing to do with my life long love of reggae. caesar’s work is also on a site called digital handsworth, some solid background details on the artistes..

Comments are closed.