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August 15, 2010

Favourite Political Tracks

Back in July I was interviewed by Chris Jury for his programme Agitpop on North Cotswold Community Radio (NCCR), and asked to select the 10 'political' records that have moved/influenced me the most.  As you can see, I decided to interpret 'political' in the broadest, largely Aristotelian sense.  You can now listen to the programme in full at  Here are the tracks I chose, in no particular order:

Nina Simone: Aint Got No (I Got Life)

Nina Simone: Mississippi Goddam

Verdi: Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves

Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows

Barry McGuire: Eve of Destruction

John Lennon: Working Class Hero

Emmylou Harris: Deeper Well

Clash: London Calling

Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter

Beethoven: Ode to Joy

In the event, there wasn't time for the Beethoven, and we ended with Gimme Shelter. But that proved a terrific finale, with its move from the extreme fragility of human life and happiness - so devastatingly captured in the scene from Apocalypse Now where it is used as a soundtrack - to the tentative possibility of love and redemption at the end.  Overall, I wanted a rousing mix of the human spirit enduring and ultimately soaring in the face of adversity - Aint Got No (I Got Life); Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves; Deeper Well, coruscating anger against injustice and hypocrisy - Mississippi Goddam; Eve of Destruction -and sly, sardonic wit - Everybody Knows; Working Class Hero.  London Calling is, admittedly, not exactly a political song - certainly in its lyrics - but I can never hear its raw. pounding energy without wanting to get up and change the world, at least for a bit.  It would be my choice to open the London Olympics.

So what are your favourite 'political' songs (interpreted as loosely as you like)?  Do let me know via this blog or Twitter (

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