Occupy Music

Occupy Seattle - Westlake Park / photo by Christopher Nelson

Recent news of Miley Cyrus dedicating her song “Liberty Walk” to “to the thousands of people who are standing up for what they believe in,” those who are taking part in the Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy Movement in general, has drawn mixed response from music fans, protestors and pretty much everyone else. That she probably actually belongs to the 1% (or is close to it) might irritate some, though others might argue that like many celebrities — musicians, actors, and other entertainers — she’s merely adding her voice to those rising in protest against the growing social and economic inequality in the U.S. and around the world. Some artists have united under the Occupy Musicians organization, and a handful of others have taken to the streets, and parks, and other public areas, to join the protest and even inspire others with their songs. Veterans of music protest, like Joan Baez and Crosby and Nash, and newer artists, including Talib Kweli, Amanda Palmer and Gogol Bordello have all performed or spoken at various Occupy protests around the country, while hundreds of known and unknown songwriters have picked up guitars, pens or whatever else to write songs of their own, which you’ll find all over the internet and proliferating on Facebook groups like “Occupy Songs.” It’s still unclear if anyone will stand out as this generation’s Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, or Bob Dylan, but as with generations past, there’s no doubt that the troubles of today will produce the songs of tomorrow.

Collected here are a handful of songs, some written or performed specifically for the Occupy movement and some not… and some only related in name alone. Let us know what songs you think best represent the movement or which are occupying your brain right now.

Joseph Arthur – We Stand As One

R.E.M. – Welcome to the Occupation

David Crosby & Graham Nash – Teach Your Children

Joan Baez – Joe Hill

Pete Seeger – Joe Hill

Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop of Travis – The Beautiful Occupation

Dusty Springfield – Occupy Your Mind

Talib Kweli using the People’s Mic

Sean Lennon and Rufus Wainwright – Material World

John Lennon – Power to the People

Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth

Amanda Palmer – The World Turned Upside Down

Gogol Bordello – Start Wearing Purple

Tom Morello – This Land Is Your Land

Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, David Amram and Occupy Columbus Circle – This Little Light

Giant Sand – Occupied

The Skatalites – Occupation

Allen Stone – Unaware

Atmosphere – Scapegoat

Pink Floyd – Money

D.O.A. – Class War

Penguin Prison – Don’t Fuck With My Money

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11 Comments

  1. Sechs
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink
  2. Localist
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    What about Seattle? Local boys Virgin Islands played at the Occupy Camp in Westlake and have several relevant tracks:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BBFXK_AZtc

    “Smells like Gold”
    “No Doctor”
    Etc…

  3. Michael Lang
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Are you kidding? How couldn’t you include Lupe Fiasco’s recently received Occupy-themed mixtape “Friend of the People / I Fight Evil” with the definitive song: “The End of The World”?

  4. adam Lewis
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I really like this one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq3BYw4xjxE

    And tons of Franti

    Oh this is appropriate! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ghwDHu7j_I

  5. Cindy Chartier
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this!!! Tears of pain, sorrow and joy fill my heart and soul.

  6. Teri Wolf
    Posted December 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Lorraine Hart and I, both residents of the South Puget Sound area, have created a song in honor of the “occupy” movements around the world and, also, in honor of the 99-percent — That’s you and me.

    The song is called “Occupy Song- So Many, So Wrong”

    Here’s the YouTube link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnkGADjN-dQ

  7. Lucas Kwong
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Check out the video we shot for “Payroll,” Brother K’s genre-mashing “salute” to the soul-sucking world system we have to confront every day. Shot at Yale’s graduation, Columbia and OWS before the raid on Zuccotti, the video traces the survival of an idea: from its inception on the streets, to its co-optation by corporatized education, to its near death at the hands of ‘market forces,’ to its triumph as an expression of the people’s will. Dissent is unkillable… brotherk.bandcamp.com

    Youtube link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tCNUJJQd3g

  8. Derek Sunshine
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink
  9. Will
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Hey there,

    Here’s another Occupy Music Video I found on Youtube and wanted to share with everyone. It’s really inspiring and shows how Occupy has spread around the world. I also really enjoyed the music.

    It’s called “The 99% Speak: Stand Up America.

    Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe-6Yf8cOFo

  10. Teri Hitt
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Thank you for these wonderful videos. It’s music and art that wield the secret frequencies that will help to turn this thing around. I’ve got a few songs related, Faceless Face of Big Business and Freedom of Press/Wake Up Sleepy Head, there are excerpts up on the site
    http://www.gracegravity.com
    Peace everybody, this is a long haul, but it will happen.

    Grace Gravity

  11. Peace Meal
    Posted May 2, 2012 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Konk Zooben’s Occupy your brain? http://konkzooben.com/occupy_your_brain

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