WXPN presents Power of Song, a series highlighting music and musicians that have had an impact on society and culture. In interviews and short-form profiles WXPN hosts and producers explore the intersection between music and politics, tracing the history of protest music rich in social commentary.
Throughout the years, icons such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman, Patti Smith, and Billy Bragg have seized the torch, penning songs about class inequities. From Leadbelly and James Brown to Public Enemy and Billie Holiday, African-American artists have used music to champion Black Pride and address racial inequality. Music has been at the forefront of the civil rights, anti-war and youth movements of the 1960’s. Songwriters have written protest songs about child abuse, women’s rights and even MTV… still managing to enlighten while they entertain.
XPN has put each of the segments online (A-M, N-Z), many of them accompanied by YouTube videos of the song being played during the time period of its release. What I really enjoy about this series–other than the great music—is how well the composers of these pieces have mashed together historical narratives, interviews, analysis, and the songs. The results are phenomenal. Some of my favorites: