4 Classic Rock Songs That Tackle the Theme of War

Unfortunately, war has been an ever-present thing. Since the dawn of time, people have been fighting other people for whatever the cause of the era is. Whether it’s land disputes, ideological differences, or purely political, war is a grisly tool that man has long reached for in times of conflict.

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Where there is a conflict, there is a musician primed and ready to speak on it. Find a host of rockers that tackle the theme of war, below.

1. “Zombie” (Cranberries)

The Cranberries’ “Zombie” captures the fraught nature in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. Thousands were killed in the crossfire between the IRA and the United Kingdom loyalists. Dolores O’Riordan bares her frustration at the conflict in her home country with this track, singing from her soul about the needlessness of civilian casualties.

[RELATED: The Meaning Behind the Protest Rock Song “Zombie” by the Cranberries]

2.  “Gimme Shelter” (The Rolling Stones)

Many rockers threw in their two cents about the Vietnam War. The Rolling Stones got in on the action with “Gimme Shelter.” The emotive track sees Mick Jagger scream about the violence that era produced. As with any Stones song, the track is impressively constructed and deeply visceral.

3. “Fortunate Son” (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Speaking of the Vietnam era, “Fortunate Son” is likely the first song that comes to mind when thinking of songs that capture the turmoil of that conflict. With this song, Creedence Clearwater Revival speaks on the fact that many of the people in power would never have to come face to face with war, while the “lowly” foot soldier had to face the frontlines. It’s a powerful—not to mention catchy—song about an injustice that an entire generation wanted to fight back against.

4. “Give Peace A Chance” (John Lennon And Plastic Ono Band)

Many rock stars have an anti-war frame of mind. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were no different. In this 1969 offering, Lennon asks the world to put down arms, not just in physical wars but in ideological ones. Despite their debaucherous reputation, rockers of the ’60s were optimistic creatures. Many of them made a case for a worldwide cease-fire. Though it’s a lofty goal, we admire their determination.

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