Civil Rights Era Protest Songs

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  • Aretha Franklin
  • James Brown
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Gil Scott Heron
  • John Coltrane
  • The Staple Singers
  • Grant Green
  • Billie Holiday
  • Bob Dylan
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Sam Cooke
  • Nina Simone
  • Otis Redding

Marvin Gaye – What's Going On album (1971)

Marvin Gaye's 1971 classic What's Going On is a concept album that narrates the story of a Vietnam vet as he arrives back home from war. The title track became a crossover hit and one of the most memorable anti-war songs of the era. "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)," also on the album, touched on the poor economic situation that plagued America's ghettos, while "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" talked about the poor state of the environment in the years that followed the civil rights movement.

(Photo: Jim Britt/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

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