Load up your iPod with our Frontline Five
In honor of Independence Day, we proudly reflect on the Frontline Five: the top musical acts that have fought for our freedom of speech and expression through music. We also give you their freest of free songs, which we call upon you to download. Wave your rights high!
Ella Fitzgerald: Ms. Fitzgerald was born into uneasy times for black women (as though times are much different now). Known as the First Lady of Song, we can claim with reverence that Ella Fitzgerald is one of the most influential and innovative jazz vocalists of the 20th century. The woman won 13 Grammy awards, for chrissakes, along with receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of America’s highest decorated awards given to civilians. As Bing Crosby once said, “Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest of them all.”
Freedom-Fighting Anthem: "Don't Fence Me In"
Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan continues to play a major role in the push for freedom of speech. The man's used poetry to be brutally honest since he started. Of course, the bulk of Dylan's most recognized work dates from the ’60s, when he became a notable figure and informal documentarian of American unrest. Dylan was heavily involved in the anti-war and civil rights movements, with his early lyrics woven from politics, social commentary, philosophy and literary influences. His defiance of existing pop music conventions ended up appealing widely to the counterculture of his era, and to generations since.
Freedom-Fighting Anthem: "Ballad of a Thin Man"
Motor City 5 (MC5): For such a short-lived band, these guys raised more than their share of hell and political controversy. The MC5 was famously influenced by the "intercommunalism" of Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Party, and for performing for more than eight hours—straight—before the outbreak of violent protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Freedom-Fighting Anthem: "Kick Out The Jams"
John Lennon: Lennon was no doubt a revolutionary. He was fearless to the end, whether it was calling out an entire presidential administration, mounting a youth voting campaign or stating his group was bigger than Jesus. Lennon used his superstardom in positive ways, creating a vanguard of activist-rockstars that persists today. It's no surprise he was ranked on Rolling Stone’s list of “The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time.”
Freedom-Fighting Anthem: "Give Peace a Chance"
Rage Against The Machine: Name one band that rocked out right on the steps of the New York Stock Exchange, forcing the entity to close its doors the rest of the day. That's right—it was Rage. These guys are back together, fighting for an American Dream that encourages its citizens to participate in political protests and other forms of activism. A vehicle for the socially active, Rage music is the anthem of revolutions to come.
Freedom-Fighting Anthem: "Freedom"