Movement songs give a brief glimpse into the tumultuous decade of the 1960s. Musicians felt they were inflicting a change in society through their music. Each song was a commentary on prominent issues of the time, such as civil rights issues and the war in Vietnam.
Give Peace A Chance
“Give Peace A Chance” was a song written by John Lennon at the end of 1960s. This was the first solo single from the former Beatles member. The song deals with the Vietnam War, which helped it to become an anthem during many anti-war protests of the time.
If I Had A Hammer
“If I Had A Hammer” was written by prominent folk singer Pete Seeger. The song became quite popular after it was recorded by the trio Peter, Paul and Mary in 1962. Many people believed the song was a good representation of issues relating to the civil rights movement.
I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag
"I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag," released in 1967 by Country Joe and the Fish, was a song that dealt directly with the Vietnam War. The song received very little attention until the band performed it at Woodstock.
For What It's Worth
Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” became a popular 1967 student protest song. Lyrics reflect on troubles of the era and fit any social ills of the time period. The song’s writer, Stephen Stills, later went on to form Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Abraham, Martin and John
"Abraham, Martin and John" was written by Dick Holler but recorded by Dion in 1968. The song’s intention was to be a tribute -- as well as a reaction -- to the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy. The song also addresses the contributions Abraham Lincoln made to bring about change in the United States.
Sly and the Family Stone created the 1969 song “Everyday People” as a way to call for peace in addition to fair treatment for all people. The lyrics of this song encourage people of all races to get along with one another.
Blowin In The Wind
Bob Dylan originally wrote “Blowin In The Wind” in 1963. The protest song takes on many themes of the time, such as war and freedom for all. As with “If I Had A Hammer,” Peter, Paul and Mary made a version of this song that became popular with protesters of several movements.