Protest Songs Collection with lyrics and chords for ukulele, guitar, banjo etc - Titles index page

380+ Protest Songs about war, racism, sexism, injustice, social exclusion, prejudice, civil rights, corruption, politics, discrimination, abuse and other aspects of the often lamentable human condition. Also with PDF for printing.

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Protest Songs, 380 lyrics and chords THIS SONG COLLECTION probably includes all the best know protest songs ever, most of these songs include lyrics with chords marked, some also include tab and a few have lyrics only. Some writers have been very prolific with this type of song, and Bob Dylan, Pete Seegar and Phil Ochs stand out as the masters of the genre but you will also find many others, some surprising, as authors and performers of the protest song. Note that some of the songs have more that one version reflecting variations in arrangement lyrics or key.


Essentially a protest song is one that expresses disapproval or complaint, commonly about a perceived injustice, immorality or bad circumstance. The term "protest song" first gained wide usage in the 1960s as a description of popular anti-war songs by artists such Bob Dylan and Joan Baez who may have been influenced by earlier civil rights songs particularly those of Pete Seegar.
The subjects addressed by the protest song often come into the category of current affairs and so tend to have relevance limited in time and place. They often relate to political and social issues and may be associated with a movement for social change. During the Industrial Revolution, dehumanising working conditions and low wages were a common theme, the 1920s and 30s union songs championing workers’ rights were popular, the 60s hilighted the civil rights movement, the Vietnam war, and environmental awareness.
It is supposed that the protest song has the purpose to inspire its audience to pay attention to the situation outlined in the song, perhaps with a call for direct action or support "the cause". The song content will often align and empathise with the position of the "underdog" and may denigrate groups or persons seen as contributing causally to the "bad situation". The devices of pathos, irony, parody and black humour may also be found in protest songs. Protest songs may be of any musical style or genre but often are "sing along" songs undemanding on singing and musical ability, thus simple pop and folk arrangements tend to be the most commonly used. Typical causes using the protest song include: anti-war, anti-racism, the labour movement, environmentalism, feminism, gay rights, animal rights, social exclusion, poverty and many more.

Rod Smith July 2013


Although many of the songs mention artist or author names, this may not be accurate and these songs should not be considered as definitive versions representative of any particular performance or artist. Also the keys and chord sequences chosen may also vary considerably between versions by different artists. Some of these songs may be in the public domain or traditional categories, however most are not, and should you wish to use them as a basis of a performance or for any non-personal study purpose you are advised to contact the copyright holders (where available, copyright info has been included with the song). These transcriptions are made by many different individuals from all over the world for their own research and instruction, and as such are liable to great variation in interpretation and opinion. They are being shared on this site for educational purposes only, please see our copyright page for more info.

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Should you need version of the song, for printing (without banners or adverts) an PDF file is available for downloading by the link at the bottom of the song pages..

For Protest Songs books and Sheet Music to buy check the
Protest Songs Collection at Sheet Music Plus

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