I have been promising to produce a series on American Protest Music for months and I am just about ready to roll it out. What better way to get us in the mood than to cover a couple of post-Beatles protest songs from Paul McCartney and John Lennon for our Two’fer Tuesday post this week.
First up is a strange little protest song from Paul McCartney and Wings called Mary Had A Little Lamb.
Nope….I’m not kidding, Paul released this little ditty in 1972 as a protest against the BBC (the cover for the single is shown above). Let’s listen and then I will give you the rest of the story…..
You might be asking how Mary Had A Little Lamb became a protest song? Well, Wing’s previous single, another protest song called Give Ireland Back To the Irish, was banned from the BBC. Paul wrote and released Mary Had A Little Lamb in protest of the banning of Give Ireland Back To the Irish. His thought process was that he would write a silly little song, one that the BBC couldn’t possibly ban, that everyone would know was making fun of the BBC ban of Give Ireland Back To The Irish. Response to the song was mixed but I personally think that it was a brilliant move! Believe it or not, the song rose to #9 on the singles charts. As a bonus, let’s listen to Give Ireland Back To The Irish……
John’s song, Working Class Hero, was much more serious, as usual! Working Class Hero was written as a protest of the inequalities of modern social classes and the ways that society works to make people not think about/protest these inequalities (Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV/And you think you’re so clever and classless and free/But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see). As I noted, this was not a silly little ditty…..let’s listen….
I personally think this was John’s most powerful song in his post-Beatles solo career. We will revisit it’s message as part of the upcoming American Protest Music series.
As always, let me know what you think!