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Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet ; Professor Griff and the Last Asiatic Disciples: Pawns in the Game

Ira Robbins, Request, 15 April 1990

IN THE 1960s, youthful poets, inspired by radical politics and Woody Guthrie, took up acoustic guitars to deliver topical commentary in a folk music setting. The great protest singers – Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton – located a palatable sound and a lyrical language in which to castigate the government and other despicable institutions. Hit records of explicit radicalism were unthinkable, but a sizable universe of new-leftists – for whom songs attacking war, racism and imperialism were better than meaningless pop ditties – helped launch musical careers that outlasted the political movement.

Total word count of piece: 951


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