Rock and roll has never been for the faint of heart. From the first time that Chuck Berry came onto the scene, this was the kind of music to get you uncomfortable in your own skin and make you want to get out of your seat and piss off your parents. Once you start to grow up, there are a lot more things to speak out against than just your parents.
As these bands started to grow up, they started to see the dangers going on around them and took them to task in song. While there are easily some bands that could fill up a whole list with protest songs, each of these tend to touch on a certain aspect of society. You can point to war sending society into a tailspin, and you can also talk about the people who are getting desensitized to the world around them to the point where they have to speak up.
The best protest songs though are the ones that can disguise their meaning, looking to land a blow against the injustices of the world and making them just open enough to interpretation by anyone. These songs may have been about one specific thing, but even some of the greatest songwriters can turn it into art that can touch your soul.
10. Give Peace a Chance - John Lennon
For a good majority of their mop top era, the Beatles were never ones for engaging in political talk all that much. Since they had nearly the entire teenage demographic tuning in to what they had to say, it was probably a smart move for their manager Brian Epstein to steer them away from the problems that were going on in the world. By the end of the decade though, the counter culture was underway and John Lennon wanted to cry out against the violence going on in Vietnam.
Though this is seen by many Beatles fans as the time when John started to go astray with artful projects with Yoko Ono, the impromptu chant of Give Peace a Chance when creating their peaceful protest in bed made for one of the greatest anthems of the time. Looking to use his platform to advocate for some kind of good, John made sure to keep the arrangement of the song as simple as possible, only playing two chords for most of the song tied together with that one immortal line in the chorus.
Even when both Beatles were at each other's throats though, John was compassionate enough to even give Paul McCartney a writing credit on the song, being one of the last gestures of good will they would have together before the breakup. The song would also become hauntingly applicable to John's later career, as most of his fans would gather outside of his apartment building singing this song the night of his murder. Still with decades removed from Vietnam, not one word of this song has lost its resonance.