Guest Playlist: William Elliott Whitmore’s top anti-war songs

William Elliott Whitmore: Field SongsWilliam Elliott Whitmore: Field Songs (Anti-, 7/12/11)

William Elliott Whitmore: “Everything Gets Gone”

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Folk songwriter William Elliott Whitmore graced the cover of ALARM 35 back in 2009, right after he had made the jump to Anti- (read story here). At the time, he was promoting his new album, Animals in the Dark, which saw his blues-infused creations bolstered by additions of pedal steel, organs, strings, and drums. Now, he’s set to release a new full-length, Field Songs, which speaks to a uniquely American experience. Never one to hide his political beliefs, Whitmore was kind enough to share with us 10 of his favorite anti-war songs.

10 Anti-War Songs
by William Elliott Whitmore

1.  Operation Ivy: “Unity”

A bit of protest from the Bay Area’s premier ska outfit.

2.  The Coup: “Head (Of State)”

Almost every song written by Boots Riley could be taken as an anti-war song, but this one gets specific.

3.  Portugal. The Man: “People Say”

A beautiful tune, one of my favorites of theirs.

4.  Country Joe McDonald: “I Feel Like I’m Fixing to Die Rag”

This is one of the ultimate protest tunes, and it’s just tongue-in-cheek enough.

5.  Tom Waits: “The Day after Tomorrow”

Written from the perspective of a young soldier who just wants to get home to his family. Very moving.

6.  Crosby Stills Nash and Young: “Ohio”

Unforgettable melody used to describe a horrific event. Shows the callousness of law enforcers.

7.  The Shadow Government: “Big Bazooka”

Everybody wants a big bazooka.

8.  Bob Dylan: “Masters Of War”

A stirring minor-chord look at the ones that pull the strings and their lack of compassion for the marionettes.

9.  Gil Scott Heron: “The Revolution will not be Televised”

The first conscious rapper, Mr. Heron was emulated by many but equaled by none.

10.  Fugazi: “Repeater”

I was a name; now, I’m a number.