Music has forever had a massive impact on people, events, cultures, politics, and even traditions. Whether you’re a teenager jamming to Billie Eilish or a dad humming to the Beatles, one thing is clear, everybody has a favorite tune they hum to, be it consciously or unconsciously. Music has the power to spread positive change and bring people and nations together for historical changes.
It is surprising how much impact music can have on your mood and emotions. There are songs like Coldplay’s ‘Counting Stars’ that make you remember how you once were addicted to something and then there are songs like ‘Telephone’ by Lady Gaga that make you feel like Gaga wouldn’t be facing problems had she used the Spectrum cell phone plans. It can either make you motivated enough to make you feel like you can conquer the day or it can bring you down in mere seconds, reminding you of the downs you’ve faced in life. However, there are some that have the power to change the world even.
‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ by Sam Cooke (1964)
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At the time of the civil rights movement in the United States, inspired by Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the wind” and his life events, Cooke wrote this song to protest in favor of the movement after Martin Luther King was killed. This song spoke boldly about segregation and was released as a single a few months after Cooke was allegedly shot by a motel manager who accused him of rape.
‘Imagine’ by John Lennon (1971)
You honestly have to be living under a rock if you’ve never heard “Imagine” by John Lennon. This song is what John Lennon was famous for and was quickly marked as his signature song and his best-known solo work. Being the title track of his second album, this song channeled how much Lennon craved world peace and harmony. While this widely resonating song evoked sadness after John Lennon’s assassination, it later was seen as a mockery by people claiming it was just a contradictory song by a multi-millionaire asking the rest of the world to imagine no assets.
‘Strange Fruit’ by Billie Holiday (1939)
Racism sadly still exists in this world even though there have been ample movements to circle it out of our societies and this world. This song dangles the harsh reality of racism in our faces so people never forget. This was basically a protest song about lynching in Southern America and its cruelty at the time these atrocities prevailed. It became a depiction of the racism, brutality, and unfair practices suffered by many in the US. Becoming the song of the century in 1999, this song has been recently sampled by Kanye West in his album ‘Yeezus’ after almost 70 years. Holiday even got inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame for this song.
‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ by U2 (1983)
Being one of U2’s signature songs, ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ came out as a reminder of the Bloody Sunday event in Derry, where a number of Irish civilians were killed by British paratroopers during a civil rights movement. As an openly political song, it was sung by Bono always holding a white flag as a sign of peace.
‘What’s Going On’ by Marvin Gaye (1971)
Shedding light on the world’s trouble in a subtle way through his Pop songs, Marvin Gaye addressed some of the greatest problems of his time, namely poverty and drug abuse. Through this song, Gaye raised his voice against the Vietnam War. Moreover, this song sent a sense of positivity and hope by inspiring to rule out negativities and spread love in the world.
‘Man in the Mirror’ by Michael Jackson (1987)
Through this song, Michael Jackson urged a lot of people to change themselves from within, in order to see betterment around them. Talking about the sufferings in his surroundings and how the singer never paid attention to problems like hunger and poverty, he conveys a sense of call to action for the listeners to be humble, be aware of their surroundings, and change for the better.
These were just a few of the many examples of songs that played a part in changing the world, by bringing together people to overcome racism, lynching, cruelty, classism, violence and so many other negative attributes. Music always has a strong influence on its listeners and these songs help change the world for the better or for the worse.