Top 20 Political Songs

Read the story behind the songs, listen to all 20

Top 20 Political Songs: Sunday Bloody Sunday | U2 | 1983
By Ian K Smith - 25 March 9:14

"Don't talk to me about the rights of the IRA, UDA"

Top 20 Political Songs: La Marseillaise | Claude de Lisle | 1792
By Jennifer Thompson - 25 March 9:12

The anthem of the Republic was penned by a Royalist who narrowly escaped the guillotine

Top 20 Political Songs: Imagine | John Lennon | 1971
By Jennifer Thompson - 25 March 9:10

The piano used for the composition of this hippie anthem would later fetch $2m

Top 20 Political Songs: Strange Fruit | Billie Holiday | 1939
By Ian K Smith - 25 March 9:08

"Blood on the leaves and blood at the roots"

Top 20 Political Songs: What’s Going On? | Marvin Gaye | 1971
By Jennifer Thompson - 25 March 9:07

Title track of Gaye’s groundbreaking 1971 Motown album, nearly performed by Joan Baez

Top 20 Political Songs: Mississippi Goddam | Nina Simone | 1964
By Ian K Smith - 25 March 9:06

"This is a show tune, but the show hasn't been written for it yet."

Top 20 Political Songs: The Times they are a-Changin’ | Bob Dylan | 1964
By Jennifer Thompson - 25 March 9:06

"This was definitely a song with a purpose" - Bob Dylan

Top 20 Political Songs: Free Nelson Mandela | The Special AKA | 1984
By Jennifer Thompson - 25 March 9:04

Composer Jerry Dammers admitted he had known little of Mandela’s situation until the previous year a

Top 20 Political Songs: Killing in the Name | Rage Against the Machine | 1992
By Ian K Smith - 25 March 9:04

"You justify those that died by wearing the badge"

Top 20 Political Songs: Talkin' 'bout a Revolution | Tracy Chapman | 1988
By Ian K Smith - 25 March 9:03

"Poor people gonna rise up and take their share"

Diva forever for pop’s prima donna
By Suzy Klein - 25 March 7:06

Verdi offered the teenage Rufus Wainwright consolation and escape. Now, inspired by Callas, the spar

Making it pay
By Daniel Trilling - 18 March 7:11

On “Never Be Your Woman" by Wiley and “Pass Out" by Tinie Tempah

Behind NME lines
By D J Taylor - 12 March 8:09

“Nice boys” like Nick Kent wrote about the louche stars of Seventies music in a sharp but open-minde

The greatest political songs of all time
By Daniel Trilling - 08 March 15:09

Do you agree with the Political Studies Association's list?

Germ-free adolescents
By Daniel Trilling - 04 March 7:08

On "Don't Stop Believin'" by the cast of Glee.

Notes on a scandal
By Norman Lebrecht - 01 March 8:16

Does arts criticism have a future? An exclusive essay to mark the launch of our search for young mus

Young Music Critic competition
By Staff blogger - 25 February 11:44

Writers: we want you!

Just Kids
By Jude Rogers - 25 February 7:07

Two whip-thin creatures, blinking into the sunlight for an old man on the boardwalk, smile softly from the cover of this moving memoir.

The Cello Suites: In Search of a Baroque Masterpiece
By Suzy Klein - 22 February 8:17

About 15 years ago, I made a serendipitous discovery in an Oxford bookshop. At the back, in an old cardboard box, was a pile of bargain CDs - and among them, a recording of Bach's cello suites by Paul Tortelier for 50p.

Highly strung
By Jude Rogers - 19 February 10:33

The standout pop star of the year is young, gifted – and plays the harp. Jude Rogers explains why Jo

Grateful dads
By Daniel Trilling - 18 February 7:09

On Status Quo's "Down Down".

England's dreaming
By Tim Burrows - 12 February 9:31

Iain Sinclair summons up the spirit of John Clare.

Down but not out
By Yo Zushi - 11 February 11:25

Why Leonard Cohen is the ultimate comeback kid.

The Art of Listening: Simon says relax
By Daniel Trilling - 04 February 6:28

On Helping Haiti's "Everybody Hurts".

Glow sticks, superclubs . . . and Bruce Forsyth
By Dan Hancox - 27 January 17:18

Mark Watson is wrong about dancing.