Protest songs about Ireland


Journalists of British daily The Guardian have made a list of protest songs. All of them in the English language.

I ‘ll reproduce some of that list on this blog. Not exactly in the same way as they did. Eg, they have options to listen to songs on Spotify, which is not available in all countries.

And I have added links. And grouped the songs according to themes. The theme of this entry is Ireland.

On the Blanket Mick Hanly with Christy Moore 1980.

Ireland’s powerful history of rebel songs gained some notable new additions during the hunger strikes of the 70s and 80s. None was more formidable than this outraged, deeply emotive protest about the treatment of the Maze prisoners demanding political status and refusing to wear prison uniforms. “If we stay silent we’re guilty, while these men lie naked and cold,” sang Moore and Hanly with quiet intensity – at personal risk to themselves on the frontlines of Republican rallies and marches. CI

Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six The Pogues 1988.

Released while the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four were still in jail, this was to the Troubles as Free Nelson Mandela was to South Africa. But where the Special AKA were persuasive, the Pogues were simply furious. Segueing from the folky Streets of Sorrow, bemoaning Northern Ireland’s tragedy, it slams into McGowan’s punk-driven denunciation of British justice. Fearful of Thatcher’s “oxygen of publicity” laws, gutless broadcasters banned it and a live performance on Friday Night Live was abruptly interrupted by adverts. SY

Suspect Device Stiff Little Fingers 1978.

John Peel heavily supported this Belfast punk band’s vicious debut single, featuring a lyric (co-written by music journalist and SLF manager Gordon Ogilvie) that compared angry Belfast youth with the bombs that ripped Northern Ireland apart at the height of the Troubles. The other star was the sandpaper-throated howl of frontman Jake Burns, who reached a state of near-apoplexy as he imagined himself “the suspect device the army can’t defuse”, set to “blow up in their face!” GM

Irish music blogs under attack over royalties: here.

2 thoughts on “Protest songs about Ireland

  1. Pingback: USA bans Celtic music in Cuba | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: British poet Attila the Stockbroker on Trump, history and music | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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