A soldier is killed in action as described in this 1974 pop song. It was a hit in Britain by Paper Lace and then again in the USA by this group. All the same, despite the 1970s release the tune is more likely about the American Civil War and not Vietnam. Horses and older forms of communication are cited as the clues to this.
It is surely one of the bounciest, bubble gum anti-war songs on record! That it was interpreted as being about Vietnam can show that sentiments for peace transcend the centuries and generations – that war is war.
On September 15, 1963, four girls were killed in Birmingham, Alabama: a church was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan. John Coltrane starts this tune almost blowing a quiet prayer for the victims of racial violence. As the band gets more involved, the song remains an elegy, subdued from the “sheets of sound” Coltrane often produced.
A ponderous song title gets us into a tune about research ethics when it comes to human subjects. We might not know what the lyrics are about without this title!
It may be easier to mix potions in beakers, but experiments on live people carry high ethical standards… in theory.
Stanley Milgram, a Yale University psychologist, was interested, in the 1960s, in researching how willing we might be to do things we are personally against, if the things to do were instructed to be done by someone in authority. Giving others electric shocks was the experiment (37 did, hence the title).
The larger implication of this behavior suggested that ordinary people could become accomplices to awful events such as the Holocaust. Thus, human nature could be by default manipulated and even dark and evil.
This could still have implications for public policy, in which laws would be necessary to temper our natural inclinations?
Liner notes to a Neil Young compilation state this 1975 song was banned in Spain.
There is not too much definitively known about Conquistador Hernán Cortez (1485–1547). We know he took over Mexico for Spain in the 1500s, which meant the fall of the Aztec Empire there. Young calls him a killer, and a destroyer of a peaceful civilization.
This is simplistic; there were Aztec wars. Young may be making a more general statement against imperialism and colonization, and besides, leaves most of the room in the song for his guitar solos.
Conquistadors were like soldiers and warriors and explorers who did the colonizing for Spain and Portugal through the 15th to 17th centuries.
Apart from this, it isn’t clear what the song is about, though politically, it has been interpreted in various ways. Given the 1967 date, around the Vietnam War, the song could be an anti-war statement: once shiny armour and sharp blades seemed the way to go in centuries past, for international relations and conquests. But in modern times, such accoutrements of war are dilapidated and rested upon by symbols of death, vultures.
Libertarian Ron Paul used this Michael McDonald-penned 1976 song as part of his 2012 US presidential campaign, calling for less government. However, Takin’ It To The Streets appears to be a cynical message about poor people being unrepresented politically and not getting the assistance they need. Thus, they must join together to take action themselves. Perhaps in this way the message could be stretched to be libertarian, an ideology that highly values individual freedom and personal initiative. However, the song has a more group or collective notion of political activism.
From 2006, a personal statement of the feelings of Pink toward U.S. President George W. Bush. Among other issues such as education and abortion, Pink maintains the President did not address homelessness adequately, and has retrograde views on homosexuality. The jabs at Bush’s drug use could be criticized for being low blows and not sticking to the issues (and could she be immune from any hypocrisy?) However, there is some cleverness in the suggestion that Bush used to have addictions, and has only improved himself by messing up the country. The thought speaks to the animosity so many cultural performers felt toward the 43rd President.
The song is in the form of an “open letter.” An open letter is as if written directly to a person, often an elected representative, and yet broadcast to be read by a wider audience. The content of open letters tends to be critical toward the addressed individual. The aim is often raising awareness of the shortfalls of the specific recipient, such as regarding policy choices, to the general public. It is not clear how effective open letters are in terms of effecting change. Yet, it would also be challenging in terms of social science research, to fully isolate such political activism into one variable causing policy alterations. Most likely then, open letters have much to do with the author or singer, in this case, getting stuff off of their chests.