Top 10 Rock and Metal Protest Songs

Protest songs are associated with a movement for social change: anti-war movement, human rights movement, civil rights, animal rights, environmentalism, to name a few.

In some sense rock and metal music were made for protest songs - rock music frequently addresses social or political topics as well as metal because metal is an extreme and more challenging subgenre of rock.

The Top Ten

Peace Sells - Megadeth

The tension in the first half is unrivalled, and the second part really unleashes the fury and the emotion.

And the two parts are linked, in the music video, with the scene of a teen watching this on T.V.. His father comes in and takes the remote controller from him, saying :
- What's this garbage you're watching? I want to watch the news.
The teen answers :
- This IS the news!

Incredibly powerful, anti-system, and BADASS.

Just an epic, epic, tense and powerful track.

You will understand better this song if you find the version with the video clip. One of my favorite songs by Megadeth: great lyrics and yeah - that remarkable bassline.
"What do you mean,
"I couldn't be the president of the United States of America"?
Tell me something, it's still "We the people", right?

If there's a new way
I'll be the first in line,
But, it better work this time.

Can you put a price on peace?
Peace sells..., but who's buying? " - Metal_Treasure

Child In Time - Deep Purple

Deep Purple's classic of 1970 is an anti-war song. An epic and intense song. Unforgettable vocals and guitar solo. - Metal_Treasure

You're the Voice - John Farnham

Incredible song overall. The guy is one of the best singers I've ever heard who was nicknamed "The Voice" for 2 reasons - his awesome voice and the title of this song that is his most popular song.
"We have the chance to turn the pages over
We can write what we want to write
We gotta make ends meet, before we get much older

We're all someone's daughter
We're all someone's son
How long can we look at each other
Down the barrel of a gun?

You're the voice, try and understand it
Make a noise and make it clear
We're not gonna sit in silence
We're not gonna live with fear

This time, we know we all can stand together
With the power to be powerful
Believing we can make it better" - Metal_Treasure

Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who
Out In the Fields - Gary Moore & Phil Lynott

One of my favorite songs of all time - for both music and lyrics. It's about the Troubles in Northern Ireland but lyrics may be interpreted in a broader sense because you see they are kinda universal and can be suitable in many situations:
"It doesn't matter if you're wrong or if you're right
It makes no difference if you're black or if you're white

All men are equal till the victory is won
No colour or religion ever stopped the bullet from a gun

Out in the fields the fighting has begun
Out on the streets they're falling one by one
Out from the skies a thousand more will die each day
Death is just a heartbeat away" - Metal_Treasure

Uprising - Muse
God Save the Queen - The Sex Pistols
Holiday - Green Day
Imagine - John Lennon

No one wants to acknowledge that Lennon disavowed this infantile communist anthem in the years before his death.

Balls to the Wall - Accept

This is the signature song by the German metal band Accept.
"One day the tortured stand up
And revolt against the evil
They make you drink your blood
And tear yourself to pieces

You better watch the damned (God bless ya)
They're gonna break their chains (Hey)
No, you can't stop them (God bless ya)
They're coming to get you
And then you'll get your
Balls to the wall, man, balls to the wall" - Metal_Treasure

The Contenders

Schrei Nach Liebe - Die Ärzte

An anti-neonazism and anti-right wing protest song. The most famous and acclaimed German protest song and not unlikely the most loved German song of all time by one of the most essential German bands. Even 22 years after its initial release it topped the charts in 2015 because people bought it as a protest against racism increasing in the European migrant crisis.
Lyrically, the extremely powerful rock song (the audio sample is a live version, the studio version is more anthemic) tells how a skinhead's violence and hate is the result of the lack of love in his own life, but with a very aggressive and occasionally insulting tone. - Martin_Canine

Beds are Burning - Midnight Oil

Midnight Oil are a rock band from Australia and aren't well known In America, and maybe Europe, but check out this song - it's very good. - Metal_Treasure

Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine

Very angry protest song.

Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2
Goodbye Blue Sky - Pink Floyd
Deer Dance - System of a Down

When I said metal I meant hardcore. this and primus too many puppies, gwar war party. just more hardcore. more in line with what I think of protest. just balls to the wall extreme examples for extreme crimes. war solves little if your not a government official...if your family is involved I expect some screaming. yeah you got your classics but we are in a new age. frankly one devoid of talent. all the greats are dying and we got Justin beaber and talentless rappers who all do the same style as the mainstream. so this is the metal I grew up with this is just what hits harder for me. I think an extreme message for an extreme situation is a powerful thing. even more so when done through an artistic outlet like music.

Military Man - Gary Moore

Papa take a look at your boy
He's a military man
Mama take a look at your boy
He's dying
Mama take a look at your boy
He's fighting
Mama take a look at your boy
He's frightened
They have trained your boy to kill
And kill someday he will
They have trained your boy to die
And ask no questions why - Metal_Treasure

Full Spectrum Dominance - Sons of Liberty

Believe it or not, guitarist Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth is on lead vocals. Sons of Liberty is his solo project. - Metal_Treasure

Now the trap is set
Global order
Death and torture
Slavery and debt

Why have you let them steal your liberty?
You’re just a slave to a criminal elite. - Metal_Treasure

War Pigs - Black Sabbath

Awesome song

36? This should be #1! Or at the very least in the top ten.

Hiroshima - Gary Moore

The place where innocence was burned.
The memory makes my stomach turn.
The world should truly feel the shame.
The place where facing death became the way of life.
The rest of us should learn a lesson from their sorrow
So we can stop it all happening tomorrow. - Metal_Treasure

Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 - Pink Floyd
Revolution Radio - Green Day
San Franciscan Nights - The Animals
Civil War - Guns N' Roses
We're Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister
Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Happy Xmas (War is Over) - John Lennon
I Give You Power - Arcade Fire
Lights Out - Ufo
Maria - Rage Against the Machine
Mothers of the Disappeared - U2
Shapes of Things - The Yardbirds
Street Fighting Man - The Rolling Stones
World Wide Suicide - Pearl Jam
Volunteers - Jefferson Airplane
Things Goin' On - Lynyrd Skynyrd
The Unknown Soldier - The Doors
The Numbers - Radiohead
Monster/Suicide/America - Steppenwolf
In Any Tongue - David Gilmour
I Shall Not Be Moved - Elvis Presley
We the People - Sons of Liberty

The song title AND the band name say it all.
Sons of Liberty is a solo project of Jon Schaffer, guitarist and primary songwriter for Iced Earth (American metal band). In Sons of Liberty he also provides lead vocals. - Metal_Treasure

Our Dying Republic - Sons of Liberty

"Rise up! To define freedom
Rise up! To live in your own way
Rise up! To define freedom
Or will we let them take it away?
Liberty or tyranny?
It's your choice to make" - Metal_Treasure

The Cleansing Wind - Sons of Liberty

"It's time for action, break through the matrix
Restore the vision of life and your liberty
The truth shall set you free
The Constitution, real solutions
We must defend it, whatever the cost may be
The best hope for humanity" - Metal_Treasure

Tree of Liberty - Sons of Liberty
This is Not a Song, It's an Outburst or the Establishment Blues - Rodriguez
Begging for Forgiveness - Helker

It's a metal song about the tyranny / dictator regimes in South America, probably Argentina (the band are from Argentina). Guest singers: Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens and Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear.
"You abuse your power
And you used all the others
But your tyranny will fall today
I can see you beg, for the peace you had forgotten
Because you are alone, beg for mercy from us all". - Metal_Treasure

American Idiot - Green Day
Doesn't Matter Anyway - Savatage

An anti-was song of 1995 - the entire album is about the Bosnian War ongoing at the time.
"It don't matter what you said
In the mind of someone, you are now dead
What makes it bad is they're living next door
So you'll need some weapons? That's what I'm here for!
Seems you got us a war
AK-47, Tomcat, F-11 hardly ever used" - Metal_Treasure

Knockin' on Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan
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