33 Revolutions per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, from Billie Holiday to Green Day
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Dorian Lynskey is one of the most prominent music critics writing today. With 33 Revolutions Per Minute, he offers an engrossing, insightful, and wonderfully researched history of protest music in the twentieth century and beyond. From Billie Holiday and Woodie Guthrie to Bob Dylan and the Clash to Green Day and Rage Against the Machine, 33 Revolutions Per Minute is a moving and fascinating portrait of a century of popular music that tried to change the world.
poisonous: out-of-town supermarkets are prisons; your job “slowly kills you” cars crash; planes plunge, burning, from the sky. In the United States, Radiohead released a mini-album, Airbag/How Am I Driving? whose sleeve featured a scolding quotation from Noam Chomsky: “Since we don’t participate, we don’t control and we don’t even think about questions of vital importance. We hope someone is paying attention, who has some competence. Let’s hope the ship has a captain, since we’re not taking part
Craig McLean. “Having felt what I call The Great Quiet…where people couldn’t raise their voices—at that moment, that changed for me. I realized it was shifting rapidly.” “Sing along in the age of paranoia” 33 Green Day / “American Idiot” / 2004 The Protest Song Revival That Never Was IN MAY 2006, Neil Young released Living With War, a hastily recorded blast of ire at President Bush which constituted the singer’s most direct political statement since “Ohio.” “I was hoping some
1987, quoted in Ward, 391. “the first totally black film”—Hoberman, 301. “We wanted to have a collective of men”—Gross and Grady. “That shit blew my mind”—David Dalton, “The Last Poets: Progenitors of Rap,” Gadfly, September 2000. “Smash those jelly white faces”—Oyewole and Hassan, 25. “There’s a brother here from Ohio”—Oyewole and Hassan, 29. “Jalal almost didn’t get into the group”—Gross and Grady. “dropped a bomb on black Amerikkka’s turntables”—Darius James, That’s Blaxploitation!:
War fund-raiser, via black singer Laura Duncan. In the crowd was one Robert Gordon, who had recently taken on a job at Café Society, directing the headlining show by Billie Holiday. The club was the brainchild of New Jersey shoe salesman Barney Josephson: a pithy antidote to the snooty, often racist elitism of other New York nightspots. Opening the night before New Year’s Eve 1938, it owed much of its instant success to Holiday. In her twenty-three years, Holiday had already seen plenty,
Victor Jara and his English wife, Joan.* Jara was practically unknown in the United States, but in Chile he was a folklorist, activist, and star, the charismatic champion of Chile’s poor and a key player in Allende’s election campaign. That day, he was booked to perform a halftime concert during a match between a local college basketball team and a team of copper miners, and he invited Ochs along to sing a couple of songs and talk with the workers. Over the next few weeks, Ochs came to love