Help me build a "Songbook of Unity and Resistance"
February 1, 2017 10:20 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to try to make a compilation of song lyrics good for singing at protests. Ideally, this should be something easy to print a few dozen or hundred copies of to pass out, to help build momentum. Please help me brainstorm ideas!

Apparently deludingmyself and I have been thinking along similar lines. I'm considering a loosely structured list of songs around a few themes. Each song should be pretty well-known and easy to sing; the less well-known, the more important it is that it be easy to sing (so people can catch on to the melody quickly).

America, the Beautiful
The Star-Spangled Banner
This Land is Your Land

Civil rights
We Shall Overcome

Women's rights
(embarrassingly empty right now, please help!)

Worker's rights
Solidarity Forever
Which Side Are You On?

Down By the Riverside

Additional category suggestions very welcome, too.
posted by biogeo to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have a similar Ask here from a few weeks ago, and heads up--just submitted a Projects entry for the playlist that's coming out of it.

Do keep in mind with respect to lyrics that the newer and more well known the song, the more copyright shit you'll have to deal with if you want to put a lot of energy into distributing this thing. Which is one of the reason that existing songbooks lean on older music.

Re suggestions:
Bread and Roses is for women, for sure. Uh, do you want old stuff or new stuff?
posted by sciatrix at 10:57 AM on February 1, 2017 [4 favorites]

[Project mentioned].
posted by sciatrix at 11:04 AM on February 1, 2017

The Wisconsin Solidarity Singers have done a songbook that may work for this.
posted by notjustthefish at 11:35 AM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

All You Fascists Are Bound To Lose is a great song by Woody Guthrie. Billy Bragg and Wilco also recorded it. It has a very catchy chorus.
posted by irisclara at 12:52 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately copyright is an issue, but I recently taught my low-intermediate students Katy Perry's "Roar" and it was easy to learn and sing, and the result was surprisingly empowering. It raised the energy level more than any other pop song I've done.
posted by betweenthebars at 1:03 PM on February 1, 2017

How about Leslie Fish's "Bring It Down" ?

The couple times I've heard her play this live, I'm virtually certain the second line was "We'll take World War Three in trade", which puts a bit of a different cast on it.
posted by sourcequench at 1:20 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

The melody of They Shall Not Pass by Grace Petrie is maybe a bit complex for large group singing but the chorus and the lyrics are wonderful.
posted by Heloise9 at 3:19 PM on February 1, 2017

The group around me at Women's March kept singing "This Little Light of Mine". No one knew more than the chorus, but lyrics are easy, most people know it, and the first two verses should work well in a unity/resistance situation
posted by JannaK at 3:23 PM on February 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I remember thinking Let's Face It was catchy but a little overly earnest and on-the-nose when it came out, but boy I sure don't think that now.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:52 PM on February 1, 2017

The folks that wrote Rise Up and Sing, as well as Rise Again have done a lot of legwork on this. Scroll down to the bottom of this page and there are lists of songs as well as an effort to create a Music Box of sorts with videos of the songs being performed.
posted by childofTethys at 4:18 PM on February 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

If I Had a Hammer, especially the final verse. I learned it at 4-H camp without the final verse...Peter Paul & Mary?
posted by childofTethys at 4:23 PM on February 1, 2017

« Older Feeding a hungry crowd with food restrictions   |   Qaudcopter/drone recommendations for a 12 year old... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.