Ten Songs That Made a Difference

With permission of author Stephen Richer and The Society for the Preservation of Wild Culture. Source: Ten Songs That Made a Difference | The Journal of Wild Culture

What kinds of songs inspire people to change their minds about something, then go about changing the world? What makes a particular song an anthem? Having thought about these questions since he learned the banjo as a teenager in the 1950s, sociologist Stephen Richer provides some answers — with illustrations of how a few powerful songs made personal and collective change hard to resist.

 “Long live protest songs, in whatever form they take.” — David Levithan. [o]

TO GET ON THIS LIST, songs had to fulfill three criteria. First, they had to fit into the category of protest songs, that is, songs that lamented or decried a perceived social injustice. Second, they had to inspire significant collective singing. Most songs we’re familiar with we have heard through recordings or in live performances by music groups or individual artists onstage, singing to a largely non-participative audience. In contrast to that, these songs fall into the category of explicitly engaging those hearing the song as participant singers. Indeed, collective singing is not only encouraged but often expected. Third, the songs must contain some sort of utopian dimension — an allusion to an idealistic future state in which the injustice is envisioned as positively resolved.

. . . WHERE THE INDIVIDUAL IS SUBMERGED INTO A KIND OF COMMUNAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND FELLOWSHIP.

An additional quality springs from these aspects of collective expression and a utopian inclination, and that is its anthemic quality. All these songs are, in their distinct ways, protest anthems, and, like national anthems, they are iconic songs of immense power that transcend the moment, transporting the singers to a place of communal consciousness and fellowship arising from a shared cause. Such songs are typically associated with a social movement, capturing in a few lines of text and bars of music the righteousness of the movement and its objectives. Also, the anthemic power of a song and the sense of community it evokes is often reinforced by ritualized physical actions of the singers — standing, raising a clenched fist, linking arms in fellowship, and so on.

OH, FREEDOM (1865)

We begin with a song that emerged anonymously in the US in 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Lincoln, declaring “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” It is an African-American spiritual, and like many spirituals it has several meanings. In this case freedom referred to the freedom from life’s burdens after death, but also to the freedom from slavery

Before I’d be a slave,
I’d be buried in my grave
And go home to my lord and be free.

Though the original lyrics did not include the following lyrics

No more tommin’
No more tommin’
No more tommin’ over me

they were sometimes added in the tradition of improvisation in African-American music. ’Tommin’ refers to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom — the main character in her 1862 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin — who represented the subservience and sycophantism of enslaved blacks. Such behaviour, of course, was often viewed by slaves as essential for survival. However, if you look for versions of the lyrics today “tommin’”is replaced by ‘moanin’” or “weepin’”.

The song was sung continually during the fifties and sixties, reflecting the continuity between the slavery period and the civil rights movement.

THE INTERNATIONALE (1871/1894)

In 1870, five years after the Civil War in the US, the Paris Commune was established in France. It was the first and last entirely worker-controlled government — a communist utopia incarnate. The Commune lasted a mere 72 days, following the massacre of 30,000 people by the French Government that brought it to an unspeakably bloody end. In 1871, one of the commune’s members, Eugene Pottier, wrote a poem, ‘The Internationale’, while in hiding in the aftermath of the massacre. The poem, virtually unknown until 1889 when it was set to music by Pierre Degeyter, and was published in 1894. Since then it has become arguably the greatest of the workers’ anthems.

The title refers to the International Workingmen’s Association, often called the First International (1864–1876), founded in London by a group that included Karl Marx. Its purpose was to provide an organizational umbrella for all workers, the ultimate objective being the attainment of political power along the lines laid down in Marx and Friedrich Engels’ The Communist Manifesto.

Tiananmen Square, Beijing, 1989 . . . Over the years he has come to be known as the “Tank Man,” the “Unknown Rebel,” the “Unknown Protester.” [o]

The song does several things at once: it evokes the accomplishments of the worker-controlled commune, cries out against its suppression, decries the role of religion in inhibiting people’s empowerment, and holds out hope for an eventual working class victory — “Arise, ye workers from your slumber . . . The last fight let us face. The Internationale unites the human race.”

Up until 1944 the song was the national anthem of the Soviet Union. It has been translated into over 800 languages and sung whenever workers’ and other rights have been violated. For me, the most memorable rendition was in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989 during the ill-fated student pro-democracy protests. It is usually sung standing with a raised and clenched left hand — the kind of physical addition to the singing characteristic of the most revered anthems.

The Aeolians Oakwood University Alumni 2020, Apr 11, 2020

WE SHALL OVERCOME (Evolving versions from 1901)

With its simple melody and simple yet powerful lyrics, ‘We Shall Overcome’ never fails to grip listeners. Yet the story of the song is difficult to unravel due to the various twists and turns and imperfect data on its historical trajectory. After much research, I have developed my own description of its evolution. Not everyone will concur, though I’m reasonably confident of its accuracy.

It is generally accepted that various versions of the song were sung in Black churches in the 1800’s. First published as “I’ll Overcome Someday” in 1901 by an African Methodist minister, Charles Albert Tindley of Philadelphia, the lyrics bear some similarity to those of today, though the melody we know was added later on. Tindley’s chorus goes like this

I’ll overcome someday
I’ll overcome someday
If in my heart I do not yield,
I’ll overcome someday.

In the early 1930’s, a Cincinnati choir director and composer, Louise Shropshire, wrote a gospel song called ‘If My Jesus Wills,’ which I believe is the immediate precursor to the version we know today. She fleshed out the melody and apparently borrowed the concept of overcoming adversity from Tindley’s lyrics. Her chorus: “I’ll overcome, I’ll overcome, I’ll overcome some day. If my Jesus wills I do believe, I’ll overcome some day.”

Its first use in a protest situation was at a strike of the Food and Tobacco Workers union in Charleston, S.C., in 1945 when it was a predominantly female American union.  Later it made its way to Zilphia Horton, who was the music director of the Highlander folk school at the time – a school for literacy training and civil rights advocacy in the American south. She changed “If my Jesus wills” to “Deep in my heart.” She in turn passed it on to Pete Seeger who adopted it for various causes, and the “I” became “We” in order to convey collective rather than individual resistance.

In 1959, musicologist and folk singer Guy Carawan took over the Highlander directorship from Horton and re-introduced the song there, where it had apparently faded from use. A key moment in the song’s popularization was when Carawan taught it at the founding meeting of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, in Raleigh, NC in 1960. This event is believed to be the first time the song was sung standing and with linked arms, and from there it spread quickly and became arguably the most important song of the civil rights movement — culminating in Joan Baez leading a crowd of 300,000 singing it at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. It has been called ‘the anthem of the civil rights movement.’

BREAD AND ROSES (1912)

The song ‘Bread and Roses’ emerged in 1912 out of the Lawrence Massachusetts textile strike. The mill employed 20,000 immigrant workers, predominantly women. The main issues of the strike were the staggeringly low wages and appalling working conditions. A third of every 100 men and women who worked in the mill died by age 25.

Up to that time it was conventional wisdom among trade unionists that women and ethnically diverse immigrant workers could not be organized. However, this strike broke that assumption and was a landmark success in the labour movement. Most of all it demonstrated women could be a force in collective action.

Out of the strike came one of the most beautiful and poignant of union anthems, sung regularly today at union and feminist rallies. During one of the parades in 1912, a group of girls carried a banner with the phrase “We want bread and roses too” — feed us but give us a quality of life as well. In the crowd that day was the poet and activist James Oppenheim. He was inspired to write the poem ‘Bread and Roses,’ which included the line, “Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread, but give us roses”. The poem was set to music in 1976 by Mimi Farina, sister of Joan Baez.

Poster for the League for Industrial Democracy, designed by Anita Willcox during the Great Depression. [o]

SOLIDARITY FOREVER (1915)

This workers’ anthem was written in 1915 by Ralph Chaplin, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World international union, known colloquially as the “Wobblies.” The melody of ‘Solidarity Forever’ has a long history, a testimony to the ever fluid transformation of folk and protest music.

The melody originated in the American camp meeting circuit in the late 1700s and early 1800s as the song ‘Say, Brothers, Will You Meet Us,’ then used in ‘John Brown’s Body,’ a song published in 1861 commemorating the famous abolitionist who was hanged in 1859 for leading a slave insurrection. “John Brown’s body lies a mouldering in the grave… but his soul goes marching on.” In 1862, Julia Ward Howe — also a prominent abolitionist and friend of Abraham Lincoln — took the same melody and turned it into a wildly religious and patriotic ode to America, ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic.’

Ralph Chaplin again borrowed the melody for his famous worker anthem. As the story goes, when Chaplin was 7 years old he was present at a horrible event during the famous Pullman Strike of 1894, a nationwide action and boycott that pitted labour unions against the railroads. He witnessed a striker shot dead by army troops, an incident that haunted him all his life. From the lyrics of ‘Solidarity Forever’ it’s clear Chaplin was strongly influenced by Marx’s two class system analysis, particularly the capitalist exploitation of working class labour, and the transformative power of unionism:

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong.

Chaplin later became an activist and a Wobbly song writer.

Martin Luther King, Jr. would later cite the Salt March as a crucial influence on his own philosophy of civil disobedience. [o]

RAGHUPATI (1930)

On March 12, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi led thousands of people from his religious retreat in Ahmedabad to the coastal city of Dandi, a distance of 240 miles. This became known as the Salt March, the purpose of which was to explicitly and non-violently protest the British government’s salt monopoly and its imposition of a salt tax. Upon arriving at the coast, the marchers illegally and defiantly collected salt from the sea, which inspired Indians to strike at many colonial institutions, leading ultimately to Indian Independence in 1947.

The song embodied two implicit protest elements. First, it was a Hindu devotional song, exalting the dual godhead of Situ and Rama: “O Lord Rama, descendant of Raghu, Uplifter of the fallen. You and your beloved consort Sita are to be worshipped.” It therefore explicitly emphasized the religious inheritance of the people, in contrast to the Christianity of the British Raj. Second, it was sung in Hindi, a counterpoint to the dominance of English in the country, which was the language of the British elite but also a major barrier for many Indians seeking upward mobility. Though the song’s date of composition is unknown, the version sung during the Salt March was created by Gandhi with music by Vishnu Digambar Paluskar.

At first glance, one wonders how a song with no explicit protest verses became such a powerful protest anthem, sung over and over again, long after the march was concluded. There are two answers. First, it was Gandhi’s favourite song and therefore strongly associated with him as a revolutionary figure. Second, since it was sung during the Salt March, it required great defiance and courage. At other times when it was sung it reinforced these qualities in the individual protesters. So a song does not have to contain explicit protest verses to be a protest song. Rather, it can derive its power simply from the context within which it was sung and the person or persons inspiring the singing.

[I wish to express my gratitude to the late Pete Seeger for the inclusion of this song. In a note he wrote me in 2010 he mentioned that ‘Raghupati’ was one of his favourite protest songs.)

Vera Lynn entertaining the troops, 1943 . . . and the urge to join in.

WE’LL MEET AGAIN (1939)

Vera Lynn was a much-loved British singer who was given the nickname  “The Forces Sweetheart” for her role in entertaining the troops during the Second World War. At a time when Bing Crosby and Judy Garland were in their prime, she ranked number 1 in a survey of soldiers’ favourite performer. A Dame of the British Empire and an officer of the order of the British Empire, in 2009, at the age of 92 she became the oldest person ever to have the top-selling album in the country – a collection of her most popular songs.  

Perhaps her greatest contribution was her rendition of one of the great wartime songs, “We’ll Meet Again”, written in 1939 by British songwriters Ross Parker and Hughie Charles. Unlike the other songs I discuss here, this is clearly not a protest song, mostly because it doesn’t address issues such as social justice, equality or peace. So why is it on the list? First, the song satisfies the two criteria of anthemic status. With its strong utopian theme it sparked considerable collective singing, during her solo concerts and also as families and soldiers sang along to her radio broadcasts. Second, this song made a huge difference by giving enormous comfort to the soldiers going off to war, and to their loved ones left behind. Its tremendous appeal lies, I think, in tapping the universal archetypal duality of separation and eventual re-connection: “We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.” Vera Lynn’s incredible life came to an end just last year. She was 103 years old.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE (1955)

On Oct. 22, 2011, Arlo Guthrie showed up at Columbus Circle in New York in support of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. As he approached the podium, people cheered and there was great excitement in the air. But it was not Woody Guthrie’s son who created this stir, it was his companion — a frail, elderly gentleman walking slowly and deliberately with the aid of two canes, Pete Seeger.

How do we explain the crowd’s loving welcome that day in New York? First and foremost was Seeger’s moral character: an unwavering commitment to principle, to justice, equality and a clean planet, and a compassion for the underdog. Seeger stood by Paul Robeson, in Peekskill, New York, as stones pelted down on him and his family. He stood in front of the (popularly dubbed) House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to defend himself on the basis of freedom of thought and freedom of expression, regardless of the repercussions. He stood on the banks of the Hudson River and envisioned a clear, unpolluted waterway — and inspired thousands to work together to make it happen. He was active in the Civil Rights, Labour, Peace and Environmental movements. Despite his celebrated status, he remained a humble, modest and authentic man, who was, amazingly, accessible to anyone who sought him out. I can attest personally to this.

WHERE ARE THE FLOWERS, THE GIRLS HAVE PLUCKED THEM. WHERE ARE THE GIRLS, THEY’VE ALL TAKEN HUSBANDS. WHERE ARE THE MEN, THEY’RE ALL IN THE ARMY.

Songs were Pete Seeger’s weapons of choice in these battles. He believed — as did Joe Hill and the Wobblies and his good friend Woody Guthrie — that songs were great unifiers, great builders of community, and powerful catalysts for social action. Among his most memorable contributions is the song, ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone.’

In October of 1955, Pete was on a plane bound for a college concert, one of the few types of venues to hire him during the period when he was blacklisted for his testimony at HUAC. He spent part of the flight leafing through the notebook he always carried, which contained, among other things, ideas for new songs. In it he came across his notes on a Cossack folk song that caught his fancy: “Where are the flowers, the girls have plucked them. Where are the girls, they’ve all taken husbands. Where are the men, they’re all in the army.” Using this as a foundation, he sketched more words and came up with what he thought was an appropriate melody.

Languishing for several years until 1960, the song was completed when Seeger collaborated on it with folk singer Joe Hickerson, It was covered by hundreds of artists, including Vera Lynn, Roy Orbison and Marlene Dietrich, who performed the song in English, French and German, and it became a staple of the anti-Vietnam war movement. The song is a tour de force of songwriting – the last verse beautifully comes full circle to the song’s beginning: “Where have all the graveyards gone? Covered with flowers, every one.” Pete Seeger died in 2014 at the age of 94.

BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND (1962)

Recently awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” Bob Dylan’s place in popular culture is undisputed.

Dylan’s 1962 masterpiece ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ conveys anger and frustration about the indifference people feel to war and inequality: “How many seas must a white dove sail / before she sleeps in the sand?” . . .”How many years can some people exist / before they’re allowed to be free?” For the author, the answer is clear – it is ubiquitous and pervasive, in the air all around us.

In 1962 Dylan was quoted in Sing Out! magazine (Vol. 12, No. 4): “It’s in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some – but no one picks up the answer when it comes down . . . some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it’s wrong.” Given Dylan’s interest in religious texts, some have suggested that he may have been influenced by Ezekial 12: 1-2: “They have eyes to see but see not, ears to hear but hear not.”

The song became a major anthem of the Civil Rights, anti- Vietnam and anti-Iraq War movements, as well as achieving significant status in pop culture. Peter Paul and Mary’s version of the song in 1963 rose to number 2 on the pop charts. In Douglas Adams classic novel, ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’ the phrase ‘how many roads must a man walk down’ is put forth as the ultimate philosophical question. Interestingly, because of its spiritual overtones, the song has been adopted as a hymn by both Catholic and Protestant churches.

Perhaps the highest compliment paid to the song is this, a comment by the famous gospel singer, Mavis Staples: “I cannot understand how a young white man could write something which captured the frustration and aspirations of black people so powerfully.”

I WILL SURVIVE (1978)

‘I Will Survive.’ written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris and recorded by Gloria Gaynor in 1978.The lyrics are written from the point of view of a woman recently rejected by her lover; after a period of sadness and depression, she fights back, showing strength and confidence that she can survive without him. “Go on now, go, walk out the door / Just turn around now / ‘cause you’re not welcome anymore.” Reflecting on singing the song, Gaynor said: “I love the empowering effect. I love the encouraging effect.”

As the song became a pop culture classic, its message of empowerment broadened from a focus on personal relationships to wider structural oppression. It especially resonated with communities suffering from and seeking to eradicate inequality based on gender or sexual orientation, and quickly became an anthem in both the feminist and gay communities.

Now, unlike the other songs we’ve looked at, the power of ‘I Will Survive’ — one of the most memorable songs in disco music — does not reside only in a group of like-minded people singing the song as an affirmation of collective justice, but rather its power is embodied mostly in collective dancing.

The adoption of the song by the feminist and gay movements is manifested mainly in group dancing, which produces the same transcendent unity as does the collective singing of ‘We Shall Overcome’ and ‘Solidarity Forever’ — emphasizing that collective physical movement can reinforce the power of a social movement just as collective singing does. ’I Will Survive’ was number one on the pop charts in 1979 and in 2016 was voted one of the best disco songs of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

AFTERWORD

Of this list of songs we might pose a question: Would history be any different if these songs were not sung during various social movements? Some would say, yes — that the sum of small, powerful and memorable pieces of musical literature sung repeatedly in groups — and then fixed in the minds of those who are strengthened by their messages and melodies — is an undeniable contribution to the progress of social movements. Others would disagree. Malcolm X, for instance, head of the Nation of Islam until his assassination in 1965, said, “I don’t believe we’re going to overcome by singing. If you’re going to get yourself a Colt 45 and start singing ‘We Shall Overcome,’ I’m with you.”

The difference in these views is as different as the views and tactics against colonial rule of Mahatma Ghandi and Franz Fanon. One sees effective change coming only through non-violence, the other sees the necessity of armed revolution.

Based on my experiences during the Anti-Vietnam War, Civil Rights, and other social movements, these are my conclusions about the impact of songs for social change:

1. They are a succinct and positive way of articulating the objectives of a movement.
2. They are a way of instilling collective identification and unity in a movement.
3. They serve a consciousness-raising function for the rest of society.
4. They attract people to the movement and reinforce continued participation. That is, being a part of group singing (or dancing) can be an exhilarating experience that can change people’s lives and motivate them to act for such change. ≈ç

Wesley Jones, choral director, leads his singers at at the Metropolitan Community Church in Chicago in August 1935. They were rehearsing for the upcoming Chicagoland Music Festival — the Lollapalooza of its time — where they would sing “Oh Southland” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” at Soldier Field.

SEND US YOUR SONG THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE

These songs were chosen by the author based on the three criteria stated above. If you have a suggestion of a song that made a difference, let us know at journal AT wildculture.com and we’ll put it here.

‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’

‘Amazing Grace’

‘Imagine’

SONG LYRICS

OH, FREEDOM!

Oh, freedom, Oh, freedom
Oh freedom over me
And before I’d be a slave
I’d be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord and be free

Oh, freedom
Oh, freedom, Oh, freedom
Oh freedom over me
And before I’d be a slave
I’d be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord and be free

No more weepin’, (don’t you know), no more weepin’
No more weepin’ over me
And before I’d be a slave
I’d be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord and be free

Oh freedom
Oh, freedom, Oh, freedom
Oh freedom over me
And before I’d be a slave
I’d be buried in my grave

And go home to my Lord and be free
And before I’d be a slave
I’d be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord and be free

THE INTERNATIONALE

Arise ye workers from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise
We’ll change henceforth the old tradition
And spurn the dust to win the prize.

So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face
The Internationale unites the human race.

No more deluded by reaction
On tyrants only we’ll make war
The soldiers too will take strike action
They’ll break ranks and fight no more
And if those cannibals keep trying
To sacrifice us to their pride
They soon shall hear the bullets flying
We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.

No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer
Our own right hand the chains must shiver
Chains of hatred, greed and fear
E’er the thieves will out with their booty
And give to all a happier lot.
Each at the forge must do their duty
And we’ll strike while the iron is hot.

WE SHALL OVERCOME

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome, some day

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

We’ll walk hand in hand
We’ll walk hand in hand
We’ll walk hand in hand, some day

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace, some day

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

We are not afraid
We are not afraid
We are not afraid, today

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around some day

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

BREAD AND ROSES

As we go marching, marching
In the beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens
A thousand mill lofts grey
Are touched with all the radiance
That a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing
Bread and roses, bread and roses

As we go marching, marching
We battle too for men
For they are women’s children
And we mother them again
Our lives shall not be sweated
From birth until life closes
Hearts starve as well as bodies
Give us bread, but give us roses

As we go marching, marching
Unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing
Their ancient call for bread
Smart art and love, and beauty
Their drudging spirits knew
Yes, it is bread we fight for
But we fight for roses, too

As we go marching, marching
We bring the greater days
The rising of the women
Means the rising of the race
No more the drudge and idler
Ten that toil where one reposes
But the sharing of life’s glories
Bread and roses, bread and roses

Our lives shall not be sweated
From birth until life closes
Hearts starve as well as bodies
Bread and roses, bread and roses!


SOLIDARITY FOREVER

When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one
For the Union makes us strong

[Chorus]
Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
Solidarity forever
For the Union makes us strong

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong

[Chorus]

It is we who plowed the prairies, built the cities where they trade
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid
Now we stand outcast and starving ‘midst the wonders we have made
But the union makes us strong

[Chorus]

All the world that’s owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone
We have laid the wide foundations, built it skyward stone by stone
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own
While the union makes us strong

[Chorus]

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn
We can break their haughty power gain our freedom when we learn
That the Union makes us strong

[Chorus]

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold
Greater than the might of armies magnified a thousandfold
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
That the Union makes us strong

[Chorus]

Here are two feminist-inspired verses:

It is we who wash dishes, scrub the floors and clean the dirt
Feed the kids and send them off to school – and then we go to work
Where we work for half men’s wages for a boss who likes to flirt
But the union makes us strong!

[Chorus]

We’re the women of the union and we sure know how to fight
We’ll fight for women’s issues and we’ll fight for women’s rights
A woman’s work is never done from morning until night
Women make the union strong!

RAGHUPATI

Sitaram, Sitaram,
Bhaj Pyare Mana Sitaram
Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram
Patita Pavan Sitaram

Ishwar Allah Tero Nam,
Sabako Sanmati De Bhagawan
Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram
Patita Pavan Sitaram

Mukhmen Tulsi Ghatamen Ram,
Jab Bolo Tab Sitaram
Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram
Patita Pavan Sitaram

Hathose Karo Gharka Kam,
Mukhase Bolo Sitaram
Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram
Patita Pavan Sitaram

Kaushalyaka Vhala Ram,
Dashrathjika Pyara Ram
Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram
Patita Pavan Sitaram

Bansivala Hay Ghanshyam,
Dhanushya Dhari Sitaram
Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram
Patita Pavan Sitaram

WE’LL MEET AGAIN

We’ll Meet Again
Don’t know where, don’t know when
But I know We’ll Meet Again
Some sunny day

Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

So will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won’t be long
They’ll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song

We’ll Meet Again
Don’t know where, don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again
Some sunny day

We’ll Meet Again
Don’t know where, don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again
Some sunny day

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago.

Where have all the flowers gone?
The girls have picked them every one.
Oh, When will you ever learn?
Oh, When will you ever learn?

Young girls, they’ve taken husbands every one.
Young men, they’re all in uniform.
Soldiers, they’ve gone to graveyards every one.
Graveyards, they’re covered with flowers every one.
Flowers, young girls have picked them every one.

BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, and how many years must a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
And how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
And how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’til he knows
That too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

I WILL SURVIVE

At first I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along

And so you’re back
From outer space
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock, I should have made you leave your key
If I’d known for just one second you’d be back to bother me

Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
You think I’d crumble
You think I’d lay down and die

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
And I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive, hey, hey

It took all the strength I had not to fall apart
Kept trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart
And I spent oh-so many nights just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry
But now I hold my head up high

And you see me somebody new
I’m not that chained-up little person still in love with you
And so you felt like dropping in and just expect me to be free
Well, now I’m saving all my lovin’ for someone who’s loving me

Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye?
You think I’d crumble?
You think I’d lay down and die?

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
And I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive

Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye?
You think I’d crumble?
You think I’d lay down and die?
Oh no, not I, I will survive

Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
And I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive, I will survive

STEPHEN RICHER is a Professor Emeritus at Carleton University, where he was head of the Sociology and Anthropology Department. He has been a folk and protest singer since his teens. He now teaches courses on the history of protest music at Carleton’s Institute for Learning in Retirement. He lives in Ottawa. Stephen’s lecture on the life and influence of Pete Seeger can be seen here.