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Old 06-03-2019, 03:57 PM
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Songs with an ecological message


I'm listening to the magnificent classic album "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye, an album about all the societal ills of 1971 which are still so true and important today. Of course that album went against everything Motown was known for, and Berry Gordy hated it, but its success and now legendary status tells its own tale. My favorite song is probably "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" which bears its theme already in the title.

An earlier example I can think of is Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi". Then there's Neil Young's "Mother Earth" from 1990, though he had expressed ecological concerns already in 1970 in "After The Goldrush" with the line "Look at Mother Nature on the run in the nineteen seventies."

Which are are other examples, especially early ones?
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:13 PM
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This isn't that early (1989) but otherwise qualifies: "Channel Z" - The B-52's
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:14 PM
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I'm a Stranger Here by Five Man Electrical Band is one I jam on with some friends. From the early seventies if that counts as early.
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:15 PM
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Forgot Paradise by John Prine. about strip mining.
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:27 PM
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Blue Sky Mine by Aussie band Midnight Oil.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofrqm6-LCqs

"And some have sailed from a distant shore
And the company takes what the company wants
And nothing's as precious, as a hole in the ground."
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:40 PM
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Cat Stevens - Where Do the Children Play?

Talking Heads - Nothing but Flowers

Ian Dury - Poo Poo in the Prawn

Quote:
Some turds were teeny-tiny
And some were big and shiny
But they all fucked up the briney
In which I dipped my toe

If you go swimming in the shite-us
You'll get worse than dermititis
From the sea of grey detritus
Where the sewage ebbs and flows

mmm
  #7  
Old 06-03-2019, 04:47 PM
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"Whose Garden Was This?" by Tom Paxton
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:51 PM
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Another not-that-early example: Jeff Lynne's "Save Me Now," from 1990.
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:57 PM
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Eagles, "The Last Resort" (1976)

Some rich men came and raped the land
Nobody caught them
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes
And Jesus people bought 'em
[...]
They call it paradise
I don't know why
Call someplace paradise,
Kiss it goodbye

Last edited by Jophiel; 06-03-2019 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:07 PM
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“Paradise” by John Prine
“Save the Whales” by Country Joe McDonald
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:12 PM
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Kansas - "Song for America"
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:23 PM
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I'm surprised I'm the first to mention it: Tom Lehrer's "Pollution" (1965).
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:47 PM
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About chemical pollution/Superfund type events.

Dead Kennedys - Moon Over Marin
Dead Kennedys - Cesspools in Eden
Dead Kennedys - Kepone Factory
Dead Kennedys - Chicken Farm
Dead Milkmen - Watching Scotty Die
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:20 PM
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Miracle by OceanLab. This is not an early example, it's from the 2008 Sirens of the Sea album, which I think is a magnificent work.

It’s too easy to turn a blind eye to the light
It’s too easy to bow your head and pray
There are some times when you should try to find your voice
This is one voice that you must find today
Are you hoping for a miracle,
As the ice caps melt away?
No use hoping for a miracle
There’s a price we’ll have to pay
  #15  
Old 06-03-2019, 06:22 PM
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Johnny Appleseed--Joe Strummer
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:35 PM
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Merle Haggard's Rainbow Stew:

When they find out how to burn the water
And the gasoline car is gone.
When the airplanes fly without any fuel
And the sunlight heats our homes.
One of these days when the air clears up
And the sun comes shining through,
We'll all be drinkin' that free Bubble Up,
And eatin' that Rainbow Stew...


Is Bubble Up still being sold today?
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:38 PM
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Garbage by Bill Steele (though this is a Pete Seeger version) from 1969.

Last edited by Weedy; 06-03-2019 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 06-03-2019, 06:48 PM
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"Fall on Me" - R.E.M.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:43 PM
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Questions by Bobby Darin.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:49 PM
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End of the Page by Bulbous Creation
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:08 PM
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Save the World - George Harrison

The Trees Are All Gone - Roger McGuinn

Don't Go Near The Water - The Beach Boys
  #22  
Old 06-03-2019, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labdad View Post
“Save the Whales” by Country Joe McDonald
Which reminded me of:

"Don't Kill the Whale," by Yes
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:33 PM
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"Don't Ask Me" by Public Image Ltd. An excerpt from the lyrics:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Public Image Ltd.
What you gonna do when the river runs dry?
Put your drills in the mud, death up in the sky?
Should have saved those bottles
Should have saved those cans
Shoulda oughta listened to the plastic man
No more toilet papet—it's gone just like the trees
Do you like the taste of honey? Isn't it best without the bees?
Be careful what you're doing—you're messing up my life
And if all this world's a cake, then you took too big a slice
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Old 06-04-2019, 12:10 AM
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OK everyone. Here's a pet peeve of mine.

If you're going to just link to a YouTube video can you at least quote which portion of the song you're referring to?

Like, I don't want to click on a blind link and have to listen to a four minute song and figure out what the hell you're talking about.

OK?
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Old 06-04-2019, 12:36 AM
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We Kill The World/Don't Kill The World - Boney M. And it's the whole song, Leeffan
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Old 06-04-2019, 01:01 AM
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Burn On, Randy Newman's Cuyahoga River song.
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:10 AM
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John Denver's Calypso.
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:17 AM
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Big Yellow Taxi - aka They Paved Paradise*.
Link to lyrics.
Quote:
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
and a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've gotTill it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em
*Well, that's how I remembered it...
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:25 AM
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...aaaand it's in the OP.
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Old 06-04-2019, 06:01 AM
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Don't Go Near the Water by the Beach Boys (1971)

Oceans, rivers, lakes and streams
Have all been touched by man
The poison floating out to sea
Now threatens life on land
____

Slower Than Guns by Iron Butterfly (1970)

Can you feel the manmade mist
As it starts to twist your lungs?
Slower than guns
____
  #31  
Old 06-04-2019, 06:02 AM
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"What Are We Gonna Do?" by Dramarama ("It's April 21st and everybody knows today is Earth Day/Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday to whoever's being born..")
  #32  
Old 06-04-2019, 07:34 AM
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Vengeance, by New Model Army, has the alternative verse
Loading up the barrels at the warehouse gates
Men in overalls on double rates
Put the stuff in the river and away for a beer
Don't worry too much, they don't live around here
And the poison seeps into every pore
Every child's eyes, every innocent's sore
Everybody knows behind the closed doors
Kick down the doors, kick down the doors
  #33  
Old 06-04-2019, 07:59 AM
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Dead Skunk by Loudon Wainwright III. For Leaffan-- start at 00:00 and end at 3:05.
  #34  
Old 06-04-2019, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
"Whose Garden Was This?" by Tom Paxton
Paxron also wrote "There Goes The Mountain".

There goes the mountain, greeter of sunrise
Giant by starlight, the highest and best
The roar of the engines, the first in its lifetime
Will take what man values, and spit out the rest

Last edited by Annie-Xmas; 06-04-2019 at 08:29 AM.
  #35  
Old 06-04-2019, 08:34 AM
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I vaguely remember some Bob Marley lyrics about the environment, but I can't remember the words, much less the song title.
  #36  
Old 06-04-2019, 08:50 AM
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"Bears", by the hard-rock band Zebra, has an unusual anti-hunting message. The first minute of the song gives the gist:

Quote:
In the middle of winter
The trees are bare and the bears are hibernating
The only sound in the forest
Is the sound of snow heard crashing to the ground
And in the middle of loving
I hope you'll find a place in your heart for them
They really can't do us any harm
It is only us who can do harm to them

But there's an animal that winter won't affect at all
He sits by fireplaces waiting for the winter's fall
He owns guns and oh you know he's got that gun in his hand
He's a man and oh he's got that precious thing in his hand
  #37  
Old 06-04-2019, 08:55 AM
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The Grateful Dead had at least two original overtly environmental songs I can think of off of the top of my head, namely Bob Weir's (lyrics by John Perry Barlow) "Throwing Stones" and Brent Mydland's "We Can Run" (lyrics by John Perry Barlow) and several that at least touched on various environmental/ecological concerns.
  #38  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:03 AM
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10,000 Maniacs "Poison in the Well"

Oh, they tell us there's poison in the well
That someone's been a bit untidy
And there's been a small spill
And all that it amounts to is a tear in a salted sea
That someone's been a bit untidy
They'll have it cleaned up in a week
  #39  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:12 AM
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What have they done to the rain - Malvina Roberts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy4tR7MB6LI

Covered by loads of people such as The Searchers, Joan Baez
  #40  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:23 AM
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The Dead Milkmen's Watching Scotty Die is part parody, part ecology. It's a parody of Bobby Goldsboro's "Watching Scotty Grow" but in this case, Scotty is dying from chemical pollution (and so is the dog).
  #41  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:28 AM
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I don't have the lyrics, but here is "Save the Earth" from the 1971 movie "Godzilla vs the Smog Monster", by Adryan Russ.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=kC1CGrVuGV8


Weird, wild, trippy stuff!
  #42  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:31 AM
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Soundgarden's "Hands All Over"

Hands all over the coastal waters
The crew men thank her
Then lay down their oily blanket
Hands all over the inland forest
In a striking motion trees fall down like dying soldiers
Yeah like dying soldiers

https://youtu.be/sQOOgQtLI4M
  #43  
Old 06-04-2019, 10:41 AM
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Part of the lyrics in The Doors song "When the Music's Over":

Quote:
What have they done to the Earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered
and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives
in the side of the dawn
and tied her with fences
and dragged her down.
  #44  
Old 06-04-2019, 10:45 AM
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Another I just thought of: “Nature’s Way” by Spirit.
  #45  
Old 06-04-2019, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
OK everyone. Here's a pet peeve of mine.

If you're going to just link to a YouTube video can you at least quote which portion of the song you're referring to?
In some cases, including the ones I posted, it's the song as a whole that qualifies, not just one particular portion.

But still, a sample of the lyrics might be helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Save the World - George Harrison
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Harrison (1981)
Rain forest chopped for paper towels
One acre gone in every hour
Our birds and wildlife all destroyed
To keep some millionaires employed
Quote:
The Trees Are All Gone - Roger McGuinn
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger McGuinn (1991)
The glaciers near the polar camp
Have all begun to melt
Temperatures are on the rise
Far from the southern belt
Water levels shifting tides
On every changing land
Rain forests in the Amazon
Have vanished from our hand
Quote:
Don't Go Near The Water - The Beach Boys
See post #30 by Meurglys
  #46  
Old 06-04-2019, 10:57 AM
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Good News - The Saw Doctors

Touches on environmental issues amongst other things

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQSl8Ykuae0


...and its a great song too
  #47  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:00 AM
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Thought of another one:
Men In Helicopters - Adrian Belew

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Belew (1990)
Men in helicopters fly
Shooting rhinos from out of the sky
Why do we always assume
The planet is ours to ruin?
  #48  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:01 AM
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"Face the Fire" by Dan Fogelberg (anti-nuclear power)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAp2v3r-QZc
  #49  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
In some cases, including the ones I posted, it's the song as a whole that qualifies, not just one particular portion.

But still, a sample of the lyrics might be helpful.
Same here, but I'll provide some sample lyrics, as well.

From Jeff Lynne's "Save Me Now":

One day the Earth woke up, said:
Boy, it's getting hot
And remember all those trees I had?
But now there ain't a lot

And my ice caps slowly trickling
Down to where the party's at
And if everybody's a-going there
Well, that's the end of that

From Yes's "Don't Kill the Whale":

You're first I'm last
You're thirst I'm asked to justify
Killing our last heaven beast
Don't hunt the whale
  #50  
Old 06-04-2019, 11:09 AM
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Beautiful Day by U2
"See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light and
See the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out"

Rocky Mountain High by John Denver
"Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more
More people, more scars upon the land"
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