When the revolution comes

When the revolution comes, it will more than likely be on a Monday. But we’ll need the weekend to prepare. And a soundtrack. Here are some suggestions; feel free to add your own.

When the revolution comes – The Last Poets

Jailbreak – Yothu Yindi

(We don’t need this) Fascist groove thang – Heaven 17

And lastly, being May Day tomorrow, one for all workers of the world.
Joe Hill – Paul Robeson.

Plus two nominations from Jeff, who claims he could list them all day.
8 gangsters – Perfect

And Fidel Castro – The Skatalites

Jacinda Woodhead

Jacinda Woodhead is a former editor of Overland and current law student.

More by Jacinda Woodhead ›

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  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5XuDqC1a6Y&feature=related
    (warning: offensive language)

    Punk ain’t no religious cult
    Punk means thinking for yourself
    You ain’t hardcore cos you spike your hair
    When a jock still lives inside your head

    Chorus x 2

    If you’ve come to fight, get outa here
    You ain’t no better than the bouncers
    We ain’t trying to be police
    When you ape the cops it ain’t anarchy

    [Repeat chorus]

    Ten guys jump one, what a man
    You fight each other, the police state wins
    Stab your backs when you trash our halls
    Trash a bank if you’ve got real balls

    You still think swastikas look cool
    The real nazis run your schools
    They’re coaches, businessmen and cops
    In a real fourth reich you’ll be the first to go

    [Repeat chorus]

    You’ll be the first to go
    You’ll be the first to go
    You’ll be the first to go
    Unless you think

    (haha recaptcha says out scathing)

    (Clare, I embedded it for you — Jacinda)

  2. The song Carlos Puebla wrote for Che Guevara when he left Cuba should be in this list. Here’s the video of the Buenavist Social Club version of the song:


    And here the translation of the lyrics:

    We learned to love you
    From the heights of history
    With the Sun of your bravery
    You laid siege to Death

    The deep (or beloved) transparency of your presence
    became clear here
    Commandante Che Guevara

    Your glorious and strong hand
    Fires at history
    When all of Santa Clara
    Awakens to see you


    You come burning the winds
    With spring suns
    To plant your flag
    With the light of your smile


    Your revolutionary love
    Leads you to a new undertaking
    Where they are awaiting the firmness
    Of your liberating arm


    We will carry on
    As we did along with you
    And with Fidel we say to you :
    Until Always, Commandante


    (Also embedded for you, Jurgens)

  3. Heaven 17 were a bunch of posers who had less interest in revolution than in their hair.

    Now this, on the other hand …

    Revolutionary Spirit – Wild Swans (1982)

    1. [In my defence] I only recently discovered the Heaven 17 track and the reason I included it was because I was thinking about fascism this morning. So it seemed perfectly suited. At the time. I stand corrected now. Though I still like the song.

      1. It’s a fine choice and a good song Jacinda – and certainly Heaven 17 were the only mainstream pop band to refer to Reagan as a fascist, so hats off to them in that regard!

  4. hehehe, Jacinda it was meant to be a compliment – hope it was taken that way!

    Ne·gro·phile (nē′grō fīl′)


    a person who admires, likes, or champions blacks, their culture, etc.

        1. If you put Nina Simone up, you’d also have to include Billie Holliday doing ‘Strange Fruit’, still a song to send
          shivers up your spine.

          1. Wow, thank you. How cool is this? Its like having
            a virtual DJ.
            As cool as Nina is, preferring her version of
            ‘Strange Fruit’ to Billie’s is very close to heresy.
            Actually amazed that no-one has thought of Marley’s
            ‘Redemption Song’ either his own version or Joe Strummers.

      1. Oh, I wouldn’t be coy about it. You have many kindred in the Overland ranks. Take Sparrow’s longing to be a white rasta, for example. I’ve noticed you guys have staked out regions 🙂

  5. What a great idea for a post! Good one Jacinda
    The Clash – White Riot
    Inti-Illimani – En Libertad
    The Saints – I’m Stranded
    Dead Kennedys – Holiday In Cambodia

    1. I was gonna post the youtube link for ‘Holiday in Cambodia’ but it’s not great quality – it’s a definite for the soundtrack. I really wanted to put Melanie’s ‘Lay Down’ too, but thought I might be branded…

          1. What the heck – if I have no fear, then I want this on the soundtrack too…
            Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit

    2. Excellent! Thanks Jacinda, you negriphile you..
      “Black man gotta lotta problems
      But they don’t mind throwing a brick
      White people got to school
      Where they teach you how to be thick…”

  6. The Revolution is Ever Now

    The Revolution is Social
    The Revolution is Political
    The Revolution is a Private Matter
    The Revolution is the Event We Create
    The Revolution is the Event We Need

    The Revolution is Sensible
    The Revolution is Required
    The Revolution is Inevitable
    The Revolution is for Me And for You
    The Revolution is for All of Us

    The Revolution Begins Inside
    The Revolution is Televised on Youtube
    The Revolution is Quiet
    The Revolution is A Riot
    The Revolution is Right In Your Face

    The Revolution is A Happening Thing
    The Revolution Takes Time
    The Revolution is Waking Up to Oneself
    The Revolution is Waking Up to The World
    The Revolution is A Dream

    The Revolution is Personal
    The Revolution is Intimate
    The Revolution is Re-cycled
    The Revolution is New and Improved
    The Revolution is Consciousness

    The Revolution is Here

  7. No Internationale? Everyone should at least know the chorus.

    But in addition to that, this list need some hip-hop:
    The Coup – Piss on your Grave,
    Public Enemy – the entirety of It takes a nation of millions….

    1. Could not agree more — and hip-hop is my preferred genre (just thought I’d been playing/tweeting/boasting about it too much lately)

      Here is your request embedded:

      And ‘Don’t believe the hype’ because it is one my all-time favourites:

    2. And true, about knowing the Internationale:

      [In English]
      Arise ye workers [starvelings] 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 [forthwith] the old tradition [conditions]
      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.
      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 [give up their booty]
      And give to all a happier lot.
      Each [those] at the forge must do their duty
      And we’ll strike while the iron is hot.

          1. if we ever meet, I’ll teach you the French version.
            ‘Debout la damne de la terre…” etc
            You can really holler it out in French.
            I went to a demo once where this was sung and the
            lyric handout read ” reason in revolt now thunders, now ends the age of Kant”.
            Russian would be excellent. Sung by an army of basses.

    1. That question is central to hip hop too. In this climate, a throwaway line from Ghostface is worth more than an entire Dead Prez album. But call me immature, but while Dead Prez can certainly be unintentionally funny in their deployment of what can only be called gangsta-pc (mind Sex?), I still find it hilarious that the coup bother to stop their whole song so we can have audio of boots pissing on George Washington’s grave.

  8. when the ‘real’ revolution comes, it will start as a soundtrack in the mind, on the slowest news day of the decade, and it will surprise even those who are involved.

    1. Jacinda, Nina Simone’s Revolution has been a bit of a revolution for me – thank you. And thanks for all your work on this fantastic post. Viva!

  9. fantastic jacinda. i’ll be dancing when the revolution comes. lively up yourselves:

    so you’ve got the soundtrack, when’s the revolution? (overland mayday party?)

    (captcha – the wickeder)

    1. Since when doesn’t revolution involve drinking and dancing? ‘If there won’t be dancing at the revolution, I’m not coming.’

      That’s why I can’t believe The Pogues aren’t on the list.

    1. Yeah, I suggested White riot, which Jacinda embedded for me, but ‘Know Your Rights’ would have to kick off any revolutionary soundtrack I think.

  10. Well how good is this. I just got home from the May Day Toast where we had a wonderful rendition of the Internationale from the Illawarra Solidarity Choir (in English). Happy May Day.

  11. We might contrast this cavalcade of musical goodness with the list compiled by National Review of the fifty greatest conservative rock songs, which is, as you might expect, a catalogue of Fail.

    What makes a great conservative rock song? The lyrics must convey a conservative idea or sentiment, such as skepticism of government or support for traditional values. And, to be sure, it must be a great rock song.

    Yeah — good luck with that. They’ve got U2 (and they’re welcome to them); we’ve got Bad Brains.

  12. Hey,what about some Bob Dylan: Masters of War (YouTube Video coming)

    Come you masters of war
    You that build all the guns
    You that build the death planes
    You that build all the bombs
    You that hide behind walls
    You that hide behind desks
    I just want you to know
    I can see through your masks.

    You that never done nothin’
    But build to destroy
    You play with my world
    Like it’s your little toy
    You put a gun in my hand
    And you hide from my eyes
    And you turn and run farther
    When the fast bullets fly.

    Like Judas of old
    You lie and deceive
    A world war can be won
    You want me to believe
    But I see through your eyes
    And I see through your brain
    Like I see through the water
    That runs down my drain.

    You fasten all the triggers
    For the others to fire
    Then you set back and watch
    When the death count gets higher
    You hide in your mansion’
    As young people’s blood
    Flows out of their bodies
    And is buried in the mud.

    You’ve thrown the worst fear
    That can ever be hurled
    Fear to bring children
    Into the world
    For threatening my baby
    Unborn and unnamed
    You ain’t worth the blood
    That runs in your veins.

    How much do I know
    To talk out of turn
    You might say that I’m young
    You might say I’m unlearned
    But there’s one thing I know
    Though I’m younger than you
    That even Jesus would never
    Forgive what you do.

    Let me ask you one question
    Is your money that good
    Will it buy you forgiveness
    Do you think that it could
    I think you will find
    When your death takes its toll
    All the money you made
    Will never buy back your soul.

    And I hope that you die
    And your death’ll come soon
    I will follow your casket
    In the pale afternoon
    And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
    Down to your deathbed
    And I’ll stand over your grave
    ‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.

    And The Beatles Revolution (must be on the list)

    1. Feel a little differently about this since Nina Simone – but what the heck, I guess they brought it into a whole different set of lounge-rooms…

          1. Embedding a failure: but shock/distress warning still stands
            John & Yoko War Is Over (If You Want It)

          2. Clare, thanks for this video. While I’m not sure
            about John Lennon dominating the conversation
            as the mute Yoko looks on adoringly, the
            images that come later are devastating.
            I only wish more recent images from Afghanistan,
            Iraq (yes, still) and Australia’s detention
            centres, filled newspapers, current affairs and
            news broadcasts to remind us of the horror
            wrought by war and brutal injustice. But while
            our media conspires for whatever reason to
            protect the public from these images, the carnage
            will continue.

      1. I agree, Trish. Though John never pretended to be anything but ‘in your face’ – even in the old rocker days. Yoko sums it up in ‘Walking on thin ice’ – “You gave me my life. I gave you my life” What an artist in her own right, though. Inspirational. I wonder how much of Yoko’s contribution would have got airtime, even if it was filmed? Did you check out her Woman Power on this post: I love it.

        1. Yeah, so true! Will check out Woman Power – have been
          Working my way through all the terrific stuff that’s
          been posted though what a distraction from the
          writing I was going to do.

          1. Trish, I am so with you: distraction in action! Argh! But I love it. It’s also got me thinking about revolution; non-violent, violent, interior-personal-political, exterior-social-political; genuine rebellion/freedom fighting and testosterone driven pathology; the invisible history of revolutionary women … the possibility of being able to eat grass and whether my old dog would survive the loss of crunchies and what to do in the morning.

  13. The Pretenders – Revolution Lyrics

    Cats like me and you
    Have got laws
    That they adhere to
    Laws outside the laws
    As laid down
    By those we don’t subscribe to
    The world is getting stranger
    But we’ll never lose heart
    We can’t just wait for the
    Old guard to die
    Before we can
    Make a new start

    Bring on the revolution
    (keep the pressure on)
    I wanna die for something
    Bring on the revolution
    I wanna die for something
    Bring on the revolution
    I wanna die for something
    Bring on the revolution
    I don’t wanna die for nothing

    For every freedom fighter
    I wanna hold on tighter
    To the hope and will you gave
    You were the brave
    You were the brave
    And one day
    When i hear your children sing
    Freedom will ring

    When we watch the children play
    How the privileged classes grew
    And from this day
    We set out
    To undo what won’t undo
    Looking for the grand
    In the minute
    Every breath justifies
    Every step that we take
    To remove what the powers that be
    Can’t prove
    And the children will
    Understand why

    Bring on the revolution
    (keep the pressure on)
    I wanna die for something
    Bring on the revolution
    I wanna die for something
    Bring on the revolution
    I don’t wanna die for nothing
    Bring on the revolution
    I wanna die for something’

  14. Pillars of society from Kev Carmody’s incredible and album of the same name:

    The pillars of society
    Cruise down the road each day;
    They got the economic wherewithall
    We can’t afford to pay
    They got numbered bank accounts
    Their system assures they win
    They exploit the population we on the outside lookin’ in

    Them pillars of society
    Drive us like a tool
    To them that cool

    They drive Mercedes Benz and Porsches
    Live Rolls Royce gilt-edged lives
    You can tell the affluent effluent
    By the status symbols that they drive
    When you on the dole queue
    They tell you to your face
    You a bludger on their system
    And a blight on the human race

    They grace the social pages
    Always make the news
    At the church on Sunday
    They crowd in the front pews
    There’s a hierarchy of dominance
    With the power at the top
    If you think you’ve found the magic key
    You’ll find they’ve changed the locks

    Walkin’ down the freeway
    On their dotted line
    We’d like to make decisions
    But they won’t allow the time
    It’s said religion is the opium
    I say the media’s the cocaine
    24 hours of propaganda
    druggin’ my poor brain

    They confer titles of status and dominance
    On their progeny and their class
    “sir” – “Your honour” –
    “Your Grace” – “Your Highness” –
    We’re made to polish
    And lick their____brass
    But you my friend can be like them
    If you have their million dollar fee
    But you’ll find their system’s designed
    To keep us in line
    And walkin’ on our knees

  15. i like this

    My heart is singing.
    I am excited and I want to cry in joy.
    I want to take action with integrity and zealous passion!

    In my pleasurable sunday morning of listening and learning in front of the computer, I wished I could find more songs with ideas about what the revolution will look and feel like when it happens. So attempting to contribute after a wonderful morning (cheers), I have deduced the following about the revolution:

    * it will be a party
    * it will not be televised (Gil stone) and there ‘won’t be no commercials’ (Last Poets)
    * will come and ‘my mind and your mind speak not of revolution until you are all willing to eat grass to survive’ (Last Poets)
    * when it comes ‘guns and rifles will be taking the place of poems and essays’ (Last poets)
    * ‘it is a course of 360 degrees in a cycle that never ends’ (Last Poets)
    * it will fight the power (Public Enemy)
    * it will chase evil out (Lee Scratch Perry)

    Anthea wrote ‘the revolution is here’.

    The revolution is here.

    The shiver that Stephen talked about in ‘Strange Fruit’ by Billie Holiday, the force that brings us hope and drives us to act in committment to the revolution, flourishes in this post.

    Whatever work you do tomorrow, make it honour the revolution.


  16. What a lovely post, Sally. That’s the thing isn’t it: we’ve all been moved by the music and lyrics and images and then tomorrow, for many of us, off we go to a workplace and do work that often doesn’t sit well with us or that at the very least causes us to compromise some of our values. And for me, this particular (revolutionary) blog has been a reminder that I’m part of the system and therefore part of the problem.

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