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Examples of songs that changed something.

The Shambles 20 Sep 98 - 04:38 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 20 Sep 98 - 05:57 PM
KickyC 20 Sep 98 - 09:34 PM
Art Thieme 20 Sep 98 - 10:01 PM
Rob O 21 Sep 98 - 12:00 AM
BSeed 21 Sep 98 - 02:19 AM
Mo 21 Sep 98 - 04:13 AM
Rob O 21 Sep 98 - 01:40 PM
Songbob 21 Sep 98 - 02:47 PM
Doctor John 21 Sep 98 - 03:09 PM
Mountain Dog 21 Sep 98 - 04:04 PM
Art Thieme 21 Sep 98 - 07:44 PM
Bill D 21 Sep 98 - 07:49 PM
northfolk 21 Sep 98 - 10:07 PM
Pete Peterson 21 Sep 98 - 10:08 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 21 Sep 98 - 11:17 PM
Frank in the swamps 22 Sep 98 - 02:03 AM
BSeed 22 Sep 98 - 02:25 AM
Frank in the swamps 22 Sep 98 - 03:43 AM
Wolfgang 22 Sep 98 - 12:24 PM
The Shambles 22 Sep 98 - 01:55 PM
Mountain Dog 22 Sep 98 - 02:43 PM
Fred 22 Sep 98 - 03:21 PM
Doctor John 22 Sep 98 - 03:55 PM
The Shambles 22 Sep 98 - 04:09 PM
Bert 22 Sep 98 - 04:19 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 22 Sep 98 - 05:00 PM
Pejotka 22 Sep 98 - 05:15 PM
Roger Himler 22 Sep 98 - 05:32 PM
Pete Peterson 22 Sep 98 - 11:49 PM
steve t 23 Sep 98 - 01:11 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 23 Sep 98 - 06:06 PM
Barbara 23 Sep 98 - 08:23 PM
Pete M 24 Sep 98 - 04:35 PM
Jim Dixon 26 Aug 13 - 01:25 AM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Aug 13 - 09:15 PM
GUEST,Grishka 27 Aug 13 - 05:22 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Aug 13 - 06:29 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Aug 13 - 06:38 AM
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Subject: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Sep 98 - 04:38 PM

I thought it might be interesting to have a thread where people could send in examples of a song that changed something. It could be a big world shattering thing, if songs are capable of that or a small personal thing, or just a special song.

My example would be: A Different Kind of Love Song, by Dick Gaughan.

When I heard this song in the mid 80s, I was living in the Shetland Isles and I had thought that this type of song was a thing of the past. A past for me that involved visiting clubs in London and hearing songs by people like Nick Drake, Paul Simon, John Martyn, Roy Harper and all the other fine writers and musicians that were around then. On hearing this song I realised that the process was still current and people with a conscience were still writing from the heart. It started me off playing again and I discovered that I could write too, mainly because I now had something to say (now I was too old to actually do anything).


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 20 Sep 98 - 05:57 PM

Songs that change things can cause changes for the worse, too. Remember the Horst Wessel.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: KickyC
Date: 20 Sep 98 - 09:34 PM

What about "We Shall Overcome" among so many others. Sing Out has an illustrated book of the songs of the civil rights movement. All of them helped to change something in a big way.

Then on to the late 60's and Vietnam there were songs like "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" that got us to thinking about peace. The list goes on and on.

KickyC


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Sep 98 - 10:01 PM

changing things?

How about "The Diaper Rag"


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Rob O
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 12:00 AM

Okay, to keep with this thread:

Kilkelly, Ireland.

I've always considered myself a true-bred American. Irish, English, French, German, Austrian, Native American, and a few we can't trace. But listening to this song at an Irish Pub this summer really made me stop and listen. I began to invest more time in studying my Irish Heritage, of what is happening there now, of the stories of Ireland. It's really helped me feel like I have a history worth noting other than being a typical American mutt.

Not a huge change to the world, but a good one to me.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: BSeed
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 02:19 AM

How about "John Brown's Body" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"? --seed


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Mo
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 04:13 AM

But do songs actually change things - or do they just reflect the way "The Times They Are a-Changing"? F'rinstance - you could say "The Red Flag" changed things, but I don't really think so - didn't it just allow people to show support in a quick and concise way for what was already happening? Pondering this one, I'm off to work.... Mo


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Rob O
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 01:40 PM

My friend is in media (well sorta, he's in radio directing and producing and wants to be the next Alfred Hitchcock but you get the point) and he and I go back and forth attempting to deterimine the causality of the media and society. Is music a reflection of society, or does music change society?

I can't tell.

But historically people in power have been leary of freedom of speech, and music was a form of speech. The countless songs of freedom in Irish history for example, songs of the revolution in America, songs that brought the idea of freedom and equality. I can't believe that they listening to people singing these, seeing the passion and strength of conviction, didn't influence some people's opinions.

Perhaps its not a direct change, that no one stood up and said "I heard this song so now I want to overthrow my landlord", but that idea, that freedom is for all, for example... ideas are powerfull.

Rob O


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Songbob
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 02:47 PM

A song that changed things? Did you know that tall clocks that stood on the floor used to be called "tall clocks?" But since Henry Clay Work's very popular song of 1876, they're called






Grandfather clocks. Now THAT's changing things!


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Doctor John
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 03:09 PM

Do they really change something or do they just chronicle the times and when things do change we think that the song changed something.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Mountain Dog
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 04:04 PM

One that comes quickly to mind:

Die Gedanken Sind Frei

-from the Bundshuh Rebellion March 17, 1525

Roughly translated as "Thoughts are Free" (Wolfgang Hell, please help me out if you've a more elegant translation!), it addresses the power of thought and expression in a rather rousing way.

I remember it from a Limeliters album in the late 50s/early 60s, when it played a part in kindling my commitment to progressive social causes. (It's in the database, too.)


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 07:44 PM

Many wonderful songwriters had their lives CHANGED forever because of their body of work; they were KILLED because their songs seemed to be a threat to the powers that be.
Lets make a LIST of those artists here in tribute to them and in recognition of their work!---Art
Victor Jarra
Joe Hill
Jose Marti


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 07:49 PM

all I know is that a few of Eric Bogle songs and Bruce Phillips songs...etc.....have made me think differently about some things...no telling how many attitudes are a bit different after hearing certain songs...


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: northfolk
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 10:07 PM

Songs may not change things, but they do change people. I always enjoyed folk style music, but remember with absolute clarity, the first time I heard Pete Seeger's recording of talking union blues, over thirty years ago. It changed me and my actions as a result have changed many "things".


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Pete Peterson
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 10:08 PM

The IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) certainly believed that songs could change things, and I agree with them! Art T. has already alluded to this in putting Joe Hill on his list. . . the subtitle to their songbook is "to fan the flames of discontent" and sometimes a good protest song can act as a seed crystal (read Vonnegut's novel Cats Cradle to see what a seed crystal can do!) to crystallize people's ideas.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 21 Sep 98 - 11:17 PM

I think I switched from Pepsi to Coke about the time they did that I"d Like To Teach The World To Sing commercial.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 02:03 AM

Between Tim Jaques & Art Thieme I'm about to change my tune when it comes to folkies being a socially responsible group!!!

As a young fellow (10 years old) freshly transplanted across the Atlantic, I remember having mixed feelings about Johnnie Horton's (correct?) song, The Battle of New Orleans. It's a great song, but at the time I wasn't able to identify with the Americans, and I had a little trouble with it, even though I liked it. Art mentioned people who died for their songs, I wonder if the enemies of the songwriters aren't more affected than the friends. Truth can be hard to take, you know?

Frank I.T.S.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: BSeed
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 02:25 AM

Johnny Horton recorded "The Battle of New Orleans." Jimmy Driftwood wrote the words. The tune is a traditional fiddle tune, "The Eighth of January," composed to commemorate Colonel Jackson's victory--which, sorry to say for all the Brits who were killed in it--came some time after the war of 1812 had officially ended. News didn't travel so fast back then. --seed


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 03:43 AM

Some folks still don't know the war is over!!!!

Frank.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Wolfgang
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 12:24 PM

fine translation, Mountain Dog; only the German spelling is "Bundschuh".

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 01:55 PM

Funny how these things go. One of the songs that first started me playing and singing in the first place was The Battle of New Orleans, I was about 10 years old too. It was a a big hit in the U.K. being covered by Lonnie Donegan in the days of 'Skiffle'. I remember thinking the same as Frank, it was the first time, having been raised at the tail-end of the British Empire, that I had heard a song that celebrated a victory over our proud nation. I suppose it would be similar to hearing for the first time a song that celebrated one of the winning battles of the Viet-Cong in the Vietnam conflict.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Mountain Dog
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 02:43 PM

Jimmy Driftwood wrote the lyrics for "The Battle of New Orleans" when he was teaching history to schoolchildren in Arkansas as a way of keeping the kids interested in the subject. I dare say the sort of innovative thinking and determination to try new modes of expression that characterized Mr. D's approach to teaching has changed the outlook and broadened horizons for many a student in his or her formative years. Did me.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Fred
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 03:21 PM

Which came first? The chicken or the egg!


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Doctor John
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 03:55 PM

When Lonnie Donegan recorded it he sang "we founght the rebels" rather than "...British", which sort of turns it all round.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 04:09 PM

Re Lonnie Donegan; I do remember him singing the words, "We fired them guns and the British kept a comin". Does it turn it around?


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Bert
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 04:19 PM

Lonnie kind of screewed it all up. In the version I remember it was "Blooming British" but the Colonel was Packenham.

Another interesting thing is that the British didn't send Wellington but sent his brother-in-law instead. Wellington of course was a master at choosing where to fight his battles and was also good at an organized retreat. It is unlikely that he would have been ambushed if the first place and equally unlikely that he would have been a routed.

The reason they didn't send him was that he was Pro-American which was quite unusual in those days.
I like to think that he had the foresight to realize what a good ally America was going to be in the future.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 05:00 PM

I'm surprised that British kids would sing this. There were songs about the British winning fights in that war. You don't hear Americans singing about the British Marines burning Washington and eating the supper prepared for the American troops. (This incidently, was in retaliation for the Americans burning York, Upper Canada, which is now the city of Toronto. Many Canadians still fail to see why that act would warrant retaliation.:))

I suppose Johnny Horton tried to make it up when he sang Sink The Bismarck.

I can't say that any song about the War of 1812 has inspired me to change in any way. In fact, I am really hard pressed to think of any song that has had a profound effect on me. Shallow man that I am, I prefer songs for the entertainment value they offer me. I am not above singing insulting lampoons about my enemies, as the Inuit do, but for the most part I keep my serious business serious.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Pejotka
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 05:15 PM

I must say,that I like „Die Gedanken Sind Frei” very much, Mountain Dog. But I´ve never heard that this song is one of 1517 or 1525 or of the Bundschuh rebellion, There are only few songs of these days, because the aristocracy and the church, the bishops and the earls, counts etc. burned every song and murdered the singers.

Songs of the peasants´ wars in Germany are e.g.:

Was Hände gebauet haben, können Hände zerstören (1404)(= what hands have built, hands can destroy) from Dithmarschen in Northern Germany

Als Adam grub und Eva spann (the words came from the Wat Tyler rebellion in England: "When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then a gentleman?" 1381)

Das püntisch Liedlein Die Bauern sind einig geworden Und kriegen mit Gewalt (The peasants united and are fighting powerfully now) written by Conz Annahans in Nördlingen, March, 31st 1525

all in all there might be about 10 songs of the German peasants´ war

Die Gedanken Sind Frei was written at about 1800 (see: Ludwig Erk/Franz Böhme: Deutscher Liederhort, Leipzig 1894)

Best wishes


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Roger Himler
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 05:32 PM

This may be a tall tale, but I believe during World War II Woody Guthrie carried a guitar that had "This Machine Kills Facists" written on the top. It would seem he had a strong belief in the power of music.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Pete Peterson
Date: 22 Sep 98 - 11:49 PM

to Roger of Baltimore- it's not a tall tale I've seen a picture of the guitar (and Woody) and that's what it says. he believed in the power of his own songs. I was told A Very Long Time Ago by a Canadian that there was a Canadian version of Battle of New Orleans-- same tune except the battle was Lundy's Lane, which was a British victory near Niagra Falls some time during War of 1812. Anyone heard of THIS one?? Pete


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: steve t
Date: 23 Sep 98 - 01:11 AM

I was pretty young. I think I made the connection that New Orleans was in the States, but not that it wasn't Canadians down there, whuppin' the British :-)

Going "Up North" was our group of cottage's local euphemism for visiting the backhouses to the north. So Johnny's song "...I'm goin' North, the rush is on..." had a special meaning for us.

But Sink the Bismarck was THE Johnny Horton song for me, and always will be.

Songs that changed the world? I bet songs like "We're Going to Hang Out the Washing on the Siegfried Line" helped get many extra innocents killed.

"Keep the Home Fires Burning" probably fought off many cases of depression. I've always wondered: how did Lili Marlene change history, if at all?


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 23 Sep 98 - 06:06 PM

The area around here has several monuments and plaques to the War of 1812, and a few misguided rebel attempts that came later. There were no real Fenian raids around here that I know of, although the Keystone Clown antics of the local militia who every day expected such an invasion would make for an amusing song. One day the captain of the Detroit ferry unhappily came a little closer to shore than usual in his approach; the town thought that the Fenians were aboard; and the crowd of tourists on board were met by a mob at the dock. The Fenians in Detroit did not have to lift a gun. All they had to do was spread rumours and sit back and laugh.

None of the events are captured in song or if they were they have long since vanished. A nice French man has collected a great many old French songs locally before the singers all die off, but no-one bothered to do the same with respect to local folk songs in the English language.

So we are stuck with The Battle of New Orleans.


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Subject: Lyr Add: CORNWALLIS' COUNTRY DANCE
From: Barbara
Date: 23 Sep 98 - 08:23 PM

YANKEE DOODLE

Cornwallis led a country dance the like was never seen, sir.
With retrograde and much advance, and all with General Green, sir

They rambled up, they rambled down; joined hands and off they run, sir,
Our General Green to Charleston, the Earl to Wilmington, sir.

CHORUS:
Yankee Doodle, keep it up,
Yankee Doodle Dandy,
Mind the music and the step,
And with the girls be handy.

Green in the south then danced a set and got a mighty name, sir.
Cornwallis jigged with young ‘Fayette, but suffered in his fame, sir.

Then down he figured to the shore, most like a lordly dancer,
and on his courtly honor swore, he would no more advance, sir!

CHORUS

This music soon forgets to play, his feet can move no more, sir,
And all his lads now curse the day they jig-stepped to our shore, sir!

Now Tories all what can you say, come is not this a griper?
That while your hopes are danced away,
‘tis you must pay the piper!

CHORUS

from DC, Jillian Smith?

See "CORNWALLIS' COUNTRY DANCE" in DigiTrad. It has more verses, but lacks the chorus. -JoeClone, 06-Jun-01.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Pete M
Date: 24 Sep 98 - 04:35 PM

Mmmm, I think Barbara's suggestion is a good illustration of Mo's hypothesis/question. This song clearly changed nothing as from the tense used, and activities recorded it was obviously written post facto. I believe there is some evidence that the tune "Yankee dooldle" acted as a focus for sentiment, but were there any words to the tune initially?

Pete M


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Subject: Lyr Add: A DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE SONG (D Gaughan)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Aug 13 - 01:25 AM

This is the song mentioned by The Shambles at the beginning of the thread. Apparently it hasn't been posted at Mudcat before.


A DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE SONG
Written by Dick Gaughan
As sung by Roy Bailey (with John Kirkpatrick & Martin Simpson) on "Sit Down & Sing" (2005)

You ask me why I sing no love songs.
You say the songs that I sing make you angry and sad.
You say you listen to music
To escape all the things that make you feel bad.

You say all that I sing of is trouble,
And that doesn't entertain you.
You say I should be trying to make people happy.
Well, strange as it seems, that's just what I'm trying to do.

I could close my eyes to the suffering.
I could switch off my mind and sing pretty songs.
I could close my ears to the crying.
I could sing, take the money, and run.

But that wouldn't help those in trouble.
That wouldn't help make their pain disappear.
The homeless, the workless, the hopeless, the helpless,
Wouldn't feel any happier, would still live in fear.

So I'll keep trying to make people happy.
I'll keep trying in the best way I know how,
And if I am to help make the most people happy,
I must make you even more sad and angry now.

So you see how you misunderstand me:
If you listen again you might even find
All the songs that I sing are love songs,
But their love is a different kind.
Their love is a different kind.

[Also recorded by Dick Gaughan on "A Different Kind of Love Song" (1983). Cher sang a different song with the same title.]


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Aug 13 - 09:15 PM

It was claimed that Lilliburlero was the song that sung King James out of three kingdoms. But I've never believed that was actually the case.

My impression is that the songs tend to come in face of defeat, which would suggest they don't change things. But maybe they help people hold together for another go, and in the end things do change.

The songs put together in Oh What A Lovely War probably did a fair bit to shape how people think about the Great War, and colour attitudes about some later conflicts.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 05:22 AM

This thread jumped from 1998 to 2013, and indeed, it needs historic hindsight. Normally good songs can only amplify a preexisting consciousness, but they can do so very efficiently.

Sometimes a song or another work of art has side effects not intended by the author, possibly even creating new consciousness. For example, a romantic opera about a riot actually triggered (not caused) a revolution in Belgium.

My candidate is "Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds, about which we recently had a thread. The actual target of the song were affluent Californians who intentionally chose a conformist lifestyle in the 1950s. But many persons worldwide felt taunted at, who lived in prefabricated settlements for financial reasons and would claim some individualism if they could afford it. Urban planning and the housing industry were forced to react, notably in Europe and even in Africa. A huge impact to the better, driven by a misunderstanding.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 06:29 AM

Songs seldom, if ever, change something on their own; though 'Lilibullero' is said to have lost a king three kingdoms
Jim Carroll

"The most popular lyrics refer to the Williamite war in Ireland 1689-91, which arose out of the Glorious Revolution. In this episode the Catholic King James II, unsure of the loyalty of his army, fled England after an invasion by Dutch forces under the Protestant William III. William was invited by Parliament to the throne. James II then tried to reclaim the crown with the help of France and his Catholic supporters in Ireland led by Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell. His hopes of using Ireland to reconquer England were thwarted at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690. The song Lillibullero puts words into the mouths of Irish Catholic Jacobites and satirizes their sentiments, pillorying the supporters of the Catholic King James. It was said to have 'sung James II out of three kingdoms'.


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Subject: RE: Examples of songs that changed something.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Aug 13 - 06:38 AM

Precisely so - but I think it vanishingly improbable that the song did anything at all to motivate people to back the new regime or to weaken those trying to resist it.


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