Protest Songs in History

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Protest songs from the Vietnam War
and Civil Rights Movement

Simple Song of Freedom
Bobby Darin

Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you've never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don't want a war.
Hey, there, mister black man, can you hear me?
I don't want your diamonds or your game
I just want to be someone known to you as me
And I will bet my life you want the same.
Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don’t want a war.
Seven hundred million are ya list'nin’?
Most of what you read is made of lies
But, speakin’ one to one ain't it everybody's sun
To wake to in the mornin’ when we rise?
Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don’t want a war.
Brother Solzhenitsyn, are you busy?
If not, won't you drop this friend a line
Tell me if the man who is plowin' up your land
Has got the war machine upon his mind?
Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don’t want a war.
Now, no doubt some folks enjoy doin' battle
Like presidents, prime ministers and kings
So, let's all build them shelves
Where they can fight among themselves
Leave the people be who love to sing.
Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We, the people here, don’t want a war.
I say … let it fill the air …
Tellin’ people everywhere …
We, the people here, don't want a war.

Bobby Darin
Bobby Darin, otherwise known by his birth name of Walden Robert Cassotto, was born on May 14th in the year of 1936. He lived until the age of 37 and died December 20th, 1973. Darin was of Italian descent and grew up in a poor, working class family. His childhood was during the Great Depression and lived most of his youth in a cardboard box on the streets. Due to the unhygienic conditions, he was a sickly infant and at the age of 8 he was diagnosed with a disease that left him with a fatally weakened heart. The doctors said that was would be lucky if he lived to the age of 16.

Driven by poverty, illness and the news that his life would inevitably end much shorter than normal, Darin expressed his emotions through his musical talent. Like many people in American at the time, he changed his name to something more American that didn’t reveal his original nationality. After some time without success, he was paired with a young woman named Connie Francis. Francis needed help to start her career, so Darin helped her write songs and fell in love with her. Unfortunately, her father disapproved of their romance and threatened Darin with a gun saying that he was never allowed to see his daughter again. His first major hit was ‘Spilsh Splash’, which was written after betting that he couldn’t begin a song with the words, ‘Splish Spash’. Darin was also an actor.

After living in isolation for 2 years, Bobby Darin wrote the protest song ‘Simple song of Freedom’ and began ‘Direction Records’, a recording studio that promoted folk and protest music. He created and appeared on his own TV show called The Bobby Darin Amusement Company, which ran until his death. On December 19th, after forgetting to take his medication before seeing a dentist- resulting in poisoning, 5 surgeons worked for over 6 hours on his weak valves. The operation was a success, but Darin died before regaining consciousness.

His protest song was directed to the General American Public and mentioned the roles and responsibility (or lack...
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