War is one of the most extreme events and experiences anyone can go through, which is why many songs about war have been written over the years.
Humans have been fighting wars for centuries. The songs on the list below were written during many different wars, including the Vietnam War, Cold War, Operation Enduring Freedom, and others. Some of the songs are patriotic and have a supportive tone, while others talk about the horrors of war and why it should be avoided at all costs. If you’re interested, we also have a full list of anti-war songs here.
Table of Contents
1. Fightin’ Side of Me by Merle Haggard
|Album||The Fightin’ Side of Me|
Released during the Vietnam War, this song is a testament that not everyone bought into the anti-war hype. Merle Haggard was one of the defenders at the time against those who were shamefully running down our soldiers in terrible ways. It talks about supporting our troops and really appeals to those who wanted to support soldiers who had to fight in extreme conditions during the Vietnam war, at times against their will. This song isn’t necessarily pro-war, but it certainly is aimed at those who protested in disrespectful ways. This song was extremely popular upon its release and even ranked 92 Billboard Top 100.
2. This is War by 30 Seconds to Mars
|Album||This Is War|
“This is War” is one of my all-time favorite war songs, and the music video accompanying it is an absolute masterpiece. While the tone is aggressive, if you listen closely to the lyrics, the song is more about fighting for peace than war itself. The song speaks about how the victims of war must also be willing to fight for peace because if not, they will continue to be killed. In this case, the victims are the civilians, along with the troops fighting. What they need to fight is corrupt governments and world leaders that perpetuate war. In the music video, you can see the military vehicles and weapons being taken away into the sky and thrown into junk piles, which represents power leaving world leaders. The song talks about a brave new world where “the war is won,” meaning they have defeated the evil that causes war.
3. Okie from Muskogee by Merle Haggard
|Album||The Fightin’ Side of Me|
Merle Haggard says that he wrote “Okie from Muskogee” in support of our troops during the Vietnam War. He talks in the song about how our troops give their lives so that we can stay free in America. Haggard talks about how he believes in traditional values, and he wrote this song in direct criticism of the anti-war protesters at the time who acted unpatriotic toward our troops.
4. American Soldier by Toby Keith
Some war songs will hype you up, but I wouldn’t put “American Soldier” in that category. The pace is a bit slower than what you might hear with other songs, but it has a great message, nevertheless. The song talks about the responsibilities that a soldier has to his family and his country. It demonstrates the sacrifices of the American soldier and looks at their bravery.
5. Warriors of the World by Manowar
|Album||Kings of Metal|
When I think of war songs, I think of songs that hype me up for battle in whatever goals I want to accomplish. “Warriors of the World” is that kind of song. Nothing beats the heavy metal genre when it comes to war songs because it fits so well with the thrashing. You will feel empowered at the start of this song with its strong beat and call to action. They wrote this song to back the Iraq Coalition.
6. Cry Thunder by DragonForce
|Album||The Power Within|
Starting out with a powerful opening, DragonForce never disappoints. “Cry Thunder” has some great guitar sound on it, and the lyrics will empower you in whatever you need to do. You feel like you have entered an epic battle in “Cry Thunder.” This marks one of the most popular songs from the band.
7. Hands Held High by Linkin Park
|Album||Minutes to Midnight|
Linkin Park usually doesn’t go this route with their music, and while I first I didn’t like this song because it obviously makes the United States look bad, as I got older, I appreciated the song a lot more. The song talks about how those who actually fight wars have little to do with starting them and that they are often simply following the orders of old men who don’t have to live with the consequences. This song came out during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
8. I Was Only 19 by Redgum
|Album||Caught in the Act|
Released in 1983 as a protest song, “I Was Only 19” sings about an Australian soldier’s attitude to the war in Vietnam. The song takes a look at Australia’s overall look of the Vietnam War. Contrary to how it sounds, “I Was Only 19” isn’t about conscription into the military; instead, it describes the journey of a 19-year-old and his experience in the military. This is a highly emotional and meaningful song.
9. Sink the Bismarck by Johnny Horton
|Album||Johnny Horton’s Greatest Hits|
You can never go wrong with a Johnny Horton song, and “Sink the Bismarck” has a wonderful melody that is so catchy to listen to. The song tells about the sinking of the Bismarck, and the song is sung in combination with several voices that give it this pleasant sound. They specifically intended this as a novelty song, meaning they built it upon a novel concept.
10. The Last Rebel by Lynyrd Skynrd
|Album||The Last Rebel|
This song has a beautiful guitar solo on it well worth a listen. The Last Rebel is a heavily guitar-driven song with fiery and impactful lyrics. It’s about the end of the Civil War when the Confederacy didn’t have many men left.
11. Take No Prisoners by Megadeth
|Album||Rust in Peace|
“Take No Prisoners” slaps about as hard as it sounds. You can hear the technical prowess of Dave Mustaine, but it never feels out of place. He always does it where it makes sense. The song is catchy, and the song tells you to stay determined and don’t care about other people’s feelings when trying to achieve something great. “Take No Prisoners” will fire you up for whatever you hope to accomplish.
12. Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue by Toby Keith
Inspired by the September 11, 2001, attacks, Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” song has a direct admiration for his father’s patriotism, who served in the military. He wrote the song in unwavering support of our American troops, and when Peter Jennings, the host of ABC, asked Toby Keith to soften his song for their show, Keith blatantly refused to go on the show, which made the song even more popular.
13. Hero of War by Rise Against
|Album||Appeal to Reason|
“Hero of War” is a song that tells a story that’s relatable to so many young men who join the military for all the wrong reasons. The song speaks to how young men are told by recruiters that they’ll get to travel and have the respect of their peers simply for joining the military. The problem is that once he actually sees battle, he realizes that war is not always full of glory and easy decisions. This song came out during Operation Enduring Freedom, so combat at the time was often close quarters and confusing. Often times civilians were hurt in the process, and the song really mocks the idea of being a hero because his actions were certainly not heroic. There certainly were heroes in Operation Enduring Freedom, but this particular song speaks to the darker side of war that so many experienced.
14. Singin’ in Vietnam Talkin’ Blues by Johnny Cash
|Album||Man in Black|
Johnny Cash wrote this as a story about when he visited Vietnam, and you can feel the suspense in this story as it paints an accurate picture of what Vietnam felt like. He tells about it as being like a “Living hell.” Cash said that he wrote this song for those who were fighting in the war and wanted to go home. At the same time, this is no anti-war song in the sense of it being anti-patriotic. Cash still supported the troops and hoped to make us more aware of the cost to human life in Vietnam.
15. This Means War by Avenged Sevenfold
|Album||Hail to the King|
“This Means War” is a riff-based song that has dual harmony throughout. The song shares many similarities to “Sad but True” by Metallica. The song doesn’t talk about real battles; instead, it refers to the war that often happens within us internally. I find this song to be very intense, and it really gets me amped up while I listen to it. This is easily one of the most intense songs about war I’ve ever listened to.
16. Battle Hymn by Manowar
Manowar makes frequent references to Vietnam in “Battle Hymn,” with some abrasive riffs thrown in. If you love early 80s metal music, you will love “Battle Hymn,” and Manowar has a unique sound to it that makes them distinctly their own. You will hear forceful and energetic music in this song.
17. Battle of New Orleans by Johnny Horton
|Album||The Battle of New Orleans|
One of the things I love about Johnny Horton is his lighthearted approach to music. You have fun listening to him in “The Battle of New Orleans.” Keep in mind that this isn’t a historically accurate song, but it’s still an awesome song, nevertheless. It talks about the Battle of New Orleans and the battle of 1812 with the British. To give you an idea, some of the lyrics are about how they took a little bacon and beans.
18. Johnny Freedom by Johnny Horton
|Album||Johnny Horton’s Greatest Hits|
“Johnny Freedom,” tells the story of how America fought for its freedom against the British. The song refers to “Johnny Freedom” as the spirit of American liberty. This is another great song to listen to if you would like to learn more about American history.
19. Devils & Dust by Bruce Springsteen
|Album||Devils & Dust|
This song talks about war and the effect that it has on human emotion. I wouldn’t call this the type of song that will empower you. It has a somewhat chill sound to it. The story is about a soldier who suffers the ill effects of war on a spiritual and emotional level. It takes place during the Iraq War.
20. 21 Guns by Green Day
|Album||21st Century Breakdown|
You would consider this song closer to an anti-war song that calls for peace, but it’s still about war, nevertheless. Green Day uses imagery common to war as a way of depicting its crushing relationship with humans. The song tells you to fight a good fight for the things worth fighting for but don’t fight for a wasted cause. Green Day meant the song as a direct slap to the face of the US government for its war on terror. This is truly an epic song, and it was also nominated for a Grammy Award.
21. Love and War by Neil Young
“Love and War” by Neil Young has mellow vibes, but you can’t mistake Young’s signature voice. The song addressed the troubles in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. He talks about how he has been in love, and he has seen a lot of war. It’s a mellow and slow song, but the acoustics are great. This song also warns us to be careful with our loved ones and treat them right.
22. Great War by Sabaton
|Album||The Great War|
If you want war songs, Sabaton never disappoints with most of their songs belonging to this category. The “Great War” talks about how millions of men in WWI went to fight in a war that was supposed to end all wars. They discovered one fact about it, and that was that war is hell. It’s a great piece for pumping yourself up at the gym.
23. War Machine by ACDC
Rather than a war song, “War Machine” by ACDC has more anti-war lyrics. He calls every war a daft war, and the chorus and rhythm of this song are interesting. This song won the Best Hard Rock Performance category at the 51st Grammy Awards in 2009.
24. Rebel Soldier by Waylon Jennings
|Album||Songs of the Civil War|
Waylon Jennings, in fact, only covered this song, but he did a fantastic job. The original musician was M.A. Kleen, and he wrote it as a popular folk song about a confederate soldier who wished to go home. You can feel the ring of truth to the song even today because of the pain it conveys and the suffering of war.
25. Call to Arms by Manowar
|Album||Warriors of the World|
“Call to Arms” is about punishing evildoers for their lies, and this song will pump you up with its strong lyrics. For example, it talks about fighting till the last enemy. Like the other songs in this album, it has a strong beat that feels empowering.
26. Die for Metal by Manowar
|Album||Gods of War|
While not necessarily a war song, the song talks about going to war for metal. The meaning behind the lyrics is to fight for true metal music. “Die for Metal” became a global anthem for true metalheads around the world, and it was a metaphor for war.
27. Bells of War by Wu-Tang Clan
|Genre||East Coast Rap|
“Bells of War” speaks about psychological warfare. It looks at psychological enslavement, and the song became one of the many classics of the Wu-Tang Clan. You can feel the gritty and raw sound that Wu-Tang has become well known for. You hear from many of the best with this song, including Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Method Man, U-God, and RZA. The beat of this song isn’t too bad, and you can feel the flow of these rappers.
28. Soldier Boy by Elvis Presley
|Album||Elvis is Back!|
You don’t see Elvis perform too many doo-wop songs, but Soldier Boy hands you one of the few exceptions. This song didn’t see as much success as other Elvis titles, but the song has soulful and supreme execution. Elvis entered the military in 1958, and he had to prove a lot when he returned in March 1960. This was one of his return songs. Just keep in mind that this song does differ a bit from some of Elvis’s other classics.
29. World War None by Frank Sinatra
|Album||Trilogy: Past, Present, Future|
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out from the title that this is more of an anti-war song than one propping it up or glorifying it. “World War None” has some poetic lines in it, and Sinatra makes a call for world peace in the song. It tells people to keep feeding the fire of peace until we achieve world peace. This is a great listen, especially if you like listening to songs with an older style. If you like this song, you’ll probably like many other songs about fighting here.
30. Hot Time in the Town of Berlin by Frank Sinatra
|Album||The Columbia Years (1943-1952): The V-Discs (1994)|
The patriotic lyrics Sinatra sings in “Hot Time in the Town of Berlin” made this a popular song for its time. He wrote the song about World War II and taking Berlin. You might listen to this song as a way to get a feel for what the time was like in the 1940s. This song was meant as soon-to-be-victorious wartime propaganda since it was about the anticipation of taking Berlin from the Nazis.
31. Return of the Warlord by Manowar
|Album||Louder Than Hell|
Over the top, proud and defiant—that’s how you describe “Return of the Warlord.” Speaking about it musically, it has a relatively simple rhythm, but it’s a fun song, nevertheless. This is the perfect song for the highway with a couple of buddies in tow if you want to hype yourselves up for the adventure. “Return of the Warlord” was a smash hit monster on the album that soared above all expectations.
32. Ballad of Ira Hayes by Johnny Cash
|Album||Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian|
Ira Hayes was a Pima Indian who served in Iwo Jima, and he was one of the marines in the famous photo taken there of raising the flag at Mount Suribachi. Johnny Cash didn’t write the song, however—Peter La Farge wrote it, and Johnny Cash covered it later. This is a catchy song that has a nice rhythm, and Cash’s voice covers the song perfectly.
33. Winged Hussars by Sabaton
|Album||The Last Stand|
Belonging to the album “The Last Stand,” “Winged Hussars” follows a common thread in the album where Sabaton looks at military battles with impossible odds and who try to hold their positions. The army belonged to Polish King John III Sobieski, and it talks about them waiting for relief from the Holy League. This is a great song about history that Sabaton has forever immortalized.
34. Unbroken by Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi wrote “Unbroken” to honor military veterans who return home and must deal with PTSD. “Unbroken” has raw emotion in it, unlike most other songs that you will ever hear. It looks at the soldiers who must live with the demons of past combat. He wrote this song because both of his parents served in the military in the 1950s.
35. Sparta by Sabaton
|Album||The Last Stand|
Sabaton wrote this song about the Battle of Thermopylae. This battle took place between 300 Spartans and 20,000 Persians. They chose to make this song the opening track of the album. The song doesn’t disappoint and delivers fast and powerful drumming that builds up to a satisfying conclusion.
36. Fight Until We Die by Manowar
|Album||Warriors of the World|
Manowar often uses poetic lyrics based on fantasy in their songs, and “Fight Until We Die” delivers more of that theme. This song stands out as one of the fastest and heaviest songs on the “Warriors of the World” album. “Fight Until We Die” is truly a masterpiece in the metal genre.
37. The Battle Rages On by Deep Purple
|Album||The Battle Rages On…|
You would call this song immersive and full of energy—it never feels boring. “The Battle Rages On” is the opening song on the album, and you would describe its sound as metal. The guitar playing sounds complex, and you feel like this song starts out the album with a big bang.
38. Unholy War by Alice Cooper
|Album||The Last Temptation|
“Unholy War” features Chris Cornell as the backing vocals, and the song sounds great. The song appears to be about a spiritual war that Alice Cooper is fighting because he mentions God in the song and judgment day.
39. War Child by Hollywood Undead
|Album||Day of the Dead|
You would call this a fun party track, and back in the day, you would hear it played at the clubs often. The song is about someone partying like they just won a war, which is only a light reference to war, but it’s still a great worth a listen.
40. Like a Soldier by Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash released “Like a Soldier” in 1994, and he said that the song is about the battle for your soul that rages on every day. This song tells the story of a man on the search for salvation and forgiveness. He’s made many mistakes and tries to find peace. The lyrics and the song are beautiful.
41. Spanish Bombs by the Clash
“Spanish Bombs” looks at the 1930s civil war in Spain. However, despite it referring to the war back then, it also refers to the wars in modern Spain and England even today. The Clash appears to be referring to a song about mass bloodshed. The song is gleefully noisy, and for anyone who likes punk rock, this song will be a treat.
42. The Battle of Armageddon by Hank Williams
|Album||Turn Back the Years|
Originally, this was a hymn that Odell McLeod and Roy Acuff wrote. The song warns of a mighty battle coming, and you would consider this a strongly country gospel song. Again, this is a type of war song that talks about more of a spiritual war and what’s to come.
43. Me and Crippled Soldiers by Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard uses this song to express his disappointment at how it has become fine to burn the American flag. He talks about how no one needs Uncle Sam either, and we might as well burn the Bill of Rights as well. This song hits hard, and anyone who has served in the military will understand this song and its meaning. You can feel everything that made Merle Haggard great in this song.
44. Death or Glory by Motorhead
This song refers to the soldiers who fight and die in combat, and it emphasizes World War II battles. If you like “heavy” metal, “Death or Glory” delivers on that well. It’s loud, fast, and, make no mistake, heavy metal. You can see the fresh and impulsive side of the bass and guitars in this song. It’s an energetic song full of life.
45. The Last Stand by Sabaton
|Album||The Last Stand|
What do you get when you couple creative and catchy lyrics with anthemic melodies? “The Last Stand” is rife with a strong chorus and crushing riffs. It has the unmistakable sound that Sabaton has become known for over seven albums. All power metal fans will want to have a listen.
46. Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2
Northern Ireland, especially in the late 1900s, experienced a great deal of conflict. U2 wrote “Sunday Bloody Sunday” from the perspective of an observer, mainly during the 1972 Bloody Sunday incident where British soldiers massacred 26 unarmed Catholic civilians. This famous song describes the pain and suffering, and innocence of humanity. The simplicity of the song only helped to make it more famous.
47. The Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
|Album||Going to a Go-Go|
Perhaps one of the most emotional songs ever recorded, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, wrote this song about a man who concealed his pain. While the song was intended to talk about unrequited love, many American soldiers in Vietnam took a liking to this song, and you could see why it might apply to the war theme even if not intended for it originally.
48. One by Metallica
|Album||…And Justice for All|
Starting out with a nice, mellow guitar solo, “One” by Metallica has an eerie feeling to it. This song talks about a soldier in World War I who lost all his limbs and the use of his jaw. He couldn’t speak, see or hear after the war due to a mortar blowing off his face. Especially when you learn the meaning behind it, “One” by Metallica takes on an even darker meaning.
49. Bodies by Drowning Pool
Known as the anthem to mosh pit culture, “Bodies” isn’t directly about war, but it was reportedly a favorite among veterans in Iraq. They would use the song to pump themselves up right before combat. This song has a lot of energy and a great deal of yelling. The song eventually came to define the success of Drowning Pool.
50. Waltzing Matilda by Slim Dusty
|Album||The Best of Slim Dusty|
You only need to mention the title of this song to me for it to get stuck in my head. It’s a darned catchy song, but most people may not realize that it sings about war. The song describes war as a gruesome and futile game. This song has been labeled as the unofficial national anthem of Australia, and Australian soldiers would sing this song when marching in World War II.
51. Games Without Frontiers by Peter Gabriel
I love this song because right from the opening, I have never heard a song like it, and it holds that uniqueness throughout. It has some catchy whistling in the song as well. Peter Gabriel wrote this song to describe how TV talks about war as if it has no real consequences. It would look like childish games if you looked at it on the news. That was his meaning behind the song, and he was against the media’s message altogether. If you want a song that sounds unlike anything that you’ve ever listened to, I would highly recommend this one.
52. Battle Hymn of the Republic by Lee Greenwood
While we talk about Lee Greenwood as singing this song, it was originally written in February 1862 by Julia Ward Howe. It’s a beautiful song that you will recognize within seconds of hitting the play button. The song was about dying to make men free, which shows that the song was originally about slavery and its abolition. Julia Ward Howe was a famous abolitionist.
53. Wish Me Luck by Gracie Fields
No mistaking it, this older song from 1939 may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it has a unique sound to it worth checking out. The song enjoyed immense popularity during World War II. The song was about sending out soldiers into combat and wishing them well. You feel emotions of liberation while listening, and the chorus gives it a distinct sound from that time period.
54. The Dogs of War by Pink Floyd
|Album||A Momentary Lapse of Reason|
This song starts out slow, but it shares many similarities to the song “Time.” However, this song is about corrupt politicians who use the full force of the military but they hide behind it. Some speculate that the song may reference Ronald Reagan at the time, who was sponsoring covert wars in countries like Nicaragua and El Salvador.
55. Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag by Country Joe McDonald & The Fish
The song was released as a type of satire against the war in Vietnam. It examined the US government’s attitude toward the war and made a joke of their statements. The song was released at the peak of the Vietnam War. Country Joe McDonald said that he wrote the song in 30 minutes. They banned it on US radios across the nation. If you’re looking for songs about the Vietnam war then this is one you almost certainly have to listen to.
56. Army Dreamers by Kate Bush
|Album||Never for Ever|
This song talks about a mother who lost her son in a war, and she grieves for him. He joined the military because he couldn’t think of anything else to do with his life, and the song speaks about how most civilians, even family members, don’t understand what happens in the military with their loved ones. Kate Bush is incredibly soft-spoken in this song, but this was one of her most successful hits over the course of her music career.
57. Orange Crush by R.E.M.
R.E.M., when writing “Orange Crush,” chose to reference Agent Orange, a chemical herbicide meant to cause long-lasting environmental damage. They would spray this toxin overhead, but it had a negative effect on the US soldiers exposed to the herbicide. In truth, this song follows a similar mold that other R.E.M. songs follow, and the biggest difference here is the lyrics. The sound itself is nothing original.
58. How Does the Grass Grow by David Bowie
|Album||The Next Day EP|
To answer the question, “How does the grass grow black?” It does so with lots and lots of blood. This dark song references how soldiers are trained to kill without mercy. The bridge in this song will give you the chills. Pay close attention because this song marks out one of Bowie’s best works even though it is less known than “Space Oddity” or some of the other favorites.
59. Hammer to Fall by Queen
Opening with an awesome classic rock vibe of the 1980s, “Hammer to Fall” alludes to nuclear war. Especially in the 1980s, the threat of a nuclear attack on American soil had reached new heights. Since the Soviet symbol was a hammer and sickle, you can understand why many people thought of it as a Cold War song.
60. So Much Trouble in the World by Bob Marley
The song talks about the lack of care in the world for war and how our world governments don’t care about starting wars with each other. The themes deal with justice, freedom, and war, and it condemns the blind pursuit of egotism. You can feel Marley’s passion as he delivers his message in this song, and the opening synthesizer strains sound remarkably modern. This was the album that reinforced Bob Marley as a folk hero, and it was meant to express solidarity with all of humanity.
61. Disposable Heroes by Metallica
|Album||Master Of Puppets|
Before they were making waves on MTV by releasing their first music video with the anti-war anthem “One,” Metallica released their third studio album, “Master Of Puppets,” which was cherished by fans, praised by critics, and ignored by mainstream radio. Perhaps that was due to the many controversial messages on the record, like what was found on the fifth track, “Disposable Heroes.” This eight-plus minute opus is about the way the United States government trains young people to be soldiers and then discards them once they have served their purpose and aren’t of any use anymore.
62. Zombie by The Cranberries
|Album||No Need To Argue|
In 1994, the Irish alternative rock band The Cranberries released their second album, “No Need To Argue,” after enjoying the unexpected success of their debut effort. However, this record marked a change in tone for the band, who had previously been known for leaning toward the lighter side of rock music. Their hit single “Zombie” was indicative of their new attitude and sound and is a tribute to Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry, who were unfortunately killed in the Provisional Irish Republican Army’s attacks on Warrington, Cheshire, England in 1993. The song raised worldwide awareness about the attacks.
63. War by Edwin Starr
|Genre||R&B, Soul, Motown|
|Album||War and Peace|
Charles Edwin Hatcher, I was born in Nashville and raised in Cleveland. Later, he moved to Detroit, where he would pursue a musical career under his stage name, Edwin Starr. While he would experience some success on the R&B charts, his popularity would expand by leaps and bounds with the release of his signature protest song *War,” in the 1970s, appropriately titled” War and Peace.” Since then, this song has become a classic and is one of the most instantly-recognizable tracks in music because of its simple message of peace and lyrics that are easy to remember.
64. The Unknown Soldier by The Doors
|Genre||Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock|
|Album||Waiting for the Sun|
Jim Morrison was more than just the enigmatic frontman of the psychedelic rock group The Doors. He was also an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and an artist in every sense of the word. In 1968, he would combine all of these elements in the track “The Unknown Soldier,” which was from their third studio album “Waiting for the Sun.” The song expands on the concept of the Unknown Soldier, which is a tribute to the memory of all of the soldiers who died in the war and the sacrifices that our servicemen and women make for our country.
65. War Pigs by Black Sabbath
Formed in Birmingham in 1968, Black Sabbath took the hard rock and blues sounds that were prevalent at the time and merged them into a completely new sound which would be called heavy metal. However, while their tone was dark and ominous and many of their lyrics dealt with the occult, they were also outspoken advocates for the Earth and were against the senseless violence that comes with war. On their second album, “Paranoid,” Sabbath released the most politically outspoken song of their career, “War Pigs,” which is about how politicians have no qualms about starting wars for financial gain. This is easily one of the most popular songs about wars of all time.
66. Rooster by Alice In Chains
Alice In Chains was at the forefront of the grunge movement that came out of Seattle and took the world by storm in the 1990s. They completely eradicated the notion of a “sophomore slump” with the release of their secondary album “Dirt,” which had a much darker tone than their first record. Although most of the album dives into harrowing tales of drug addiction, “Rooster” was one of its standout tracks because it paid homage to lead guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s father, who served in Vietnam and is told from the perspective of someone who has been there.
67. Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival
|Genre||Rock, Bayou Country|
|Album||Willy and the Poor Boys|
Not every song about war supports it. Throughout the 1960s and most of the 1970s, artists were churning out protest songs as fast as they could write them. One band that made no qualms about directly opposing the war in Vietnam was El Cerrito, California’s Creedence Clearwater Revival. In 1969, CCR released their seminal album “Willy and the Poor Boys,” which included the politically-charged “Fortunate Son.” This song deal with the difficult subject of how privileged people get away with so much more than those who have actually served their country, especially pertaining to taxes.
68. London Calling by The Clash
Since its inception, punk rock has been political. That’s nothing new. Originally used to describe a garage rock sound that originated in the 1960s, it became an underground movement in the 1970s that rebelled against the status quo, and The Clash was one of the genre’s most outspoken critics of the establishment. In 1979, they released their double-album “London Calling,” which would enter the discussion of the greatest albums of all time. The title track is not about a specific war but rather about the impending threat of nuclear war, which was looming over everybody’s heads at that time.
69. Expendable Youth by Slayer
|Album||Seasons In the Abyss|
Throughout time, there have been countless examples of individuals speaking out against the violence and death brought about by war. One example of this can be found when Plato said “It is only the dead who have seen the end of the war,” and I suspect that Slayer must have been studying historical works when they wrote “Expendable Youth,” which is from 1990’s critically-praised “Seasons In the Abyss.” As you might have expected, the song is about how the American government sees its youth as nothing more than expendable bodies that they can send into battle on a whim.
70. Radio Baghdad by Patti Smith
|Genre||Punk Rock, Indie|
Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 190, Patti Smith would become one of the most influential women in rock, a punk icon, and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She would continue making music, painting, and writing poetry well into her sixties, releasing the album “Tramoin” in 2004. Smith was always an advocate for nonviolence and released “Radio Baghdad,” which was her favorite commentary on the United States’ involvement in the Middle East. Smith longs to see it return to the beautiful Mecca it once was before it was ravaged by war.
Hi, my name is Kevin and I’m from Butler, Pennsylvania. I’ve been obsessed with music and audio gear for as long as I can remember. I started this website to help people find professional advice related to a wide range of audio topics. We have a number of Audio Engineers on our team who have been designing and fixing audio gear for decades.