1) War – U2 (1983)
The first major commercial success of Bono’s band is also the group’s first purely political album. Among the songs stands out Sunday Bloody Sunday dedicated to the massacre of Irish civilians perpetrated by the English army on January 30, 1972. Seconds instead it is dedicated to the fear of a nuclear conflict. It is the band’s first song not performed only by Bono. The first verse is in fact sung by The Edge. Unforgettable New Year’s Day song that Bono wanted to dedicate to his wife but also in the end was dedicated to the Polish movement Solidarnosc, the union led by Lech Walesa (Nobel Prize winner in 1983) and President of Poland from 1990 to 1995.
2) Living With War – Neil Young (2006)
It was 2006 when Neil Young released what can be fully considered an anti-war concept album. The rocker’s sights are mainly American President Bush, accused of having exploited to his advantage the fear unleashed by the attack on the Twin Towers in 2001. Young’s approach to Bush is evident in the song Let’s impeach the President. Shock and Awe, as well as the title of the song, it is the name of the war tactic conducted by the Americans in Iraq which aimed to paralyze the enemies with a display of devastating military power. Families and Flags of Freedom they speak precisely of the soldiers who died in Iraq and their families. In Flags of Freedom there is also a reference to the protest songs of the first Bob Dylan: “listenin ‘to Bob Dylan singin’ in 1963”.
3) Bob Dylan – The times they are a-changing (1964)
Bob Dylan’s first albums were responsible for the rebirth of folk, at a time when the charts were dominated by the syncopated rhythms of the beat, even if the demanding roles of spokesperson for a new generation, champion of civil rights and “collective subconscious” American “have always been close to the Duluth Bard. One of the masterpieces of that period is certainly the album The times they are a-changing from 1964, characterized by some protest songs full of metaphors and rhetorical figures, often obscure, undoubtedly of great charm. The monumental title track became a manifesto of the time, as well as a heartfelt appeal to remain united and to look in the same direction, in a period of great political and social transformations.
4) Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers (1969)
The original title of the album was Volunteers of Amerikato express the group’s discontent with the Vietnam War, which was then shortened after protests by Volunteers of America (a religious charity similar to the Salvation Army). Volunteers, the last album of Jefferson Airplane’s “classic” line-up and the first recorded entirely in San Francisco, was a commercial success, despite the raw, overtly anti-militarist and anarchist lyrics. RCA opposed the use of expressions such as “up against the wall, motherfucker” in We Can Stay Togetherso “motherfucker” was transformed into a long “Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” and “fuck” became a more reassuring “fred.” The censorship didn’t stop the song from becoming a politically committed rock classic.
5) John Lennon – Imagine (1971)
Imagine is John Lennon’s fifth solo album, the second since the breakup of the Beatles. The record was co-produced by Yoko Ono and Phil Spector and saw the collaboration, among others, of former Beatles guitarist George Harrison, who participated in half of the tracks. Imagine was initially received in a cold way by critics, but he quickly climbed all the charts, above all thanks to the unforgettable melody of the title track, almost a manifesto of the pacifist and idealist thought of the former Beatle. In fact Lennon declared that the song was “anti-religious, anti-nationalist, anti-conventional and anti-capitalist, and is accepted only because it is covered in sugar”, while for Yoko Ono the message of Imagine is that “we are all one world, one country, one people”.