This is the blog for 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, published in spring 2011 by Faber & Faber in the UK and Ecco in the US. I post opinion pieces, Q&As, links, deleted material and other stuff about music and/or politics. If you’d like to contact me, you can do so via the comments box here, via Facebook or via @dorianlynskey on Twitter.
“Excellent and exhaustive… a fascinating journey.” – The Sunday Times
“Majestic…panoramic… packed with anecdote and detail…profoundly moving.” – The Sunday Telegraph
“Magnificent.” – The Wire
“Lynskey’s ability to link history, culture, politics and music makes the argument not just for the potency of protest but the need for music journalism. The stories he tells are as epoch-shaping as the songs themselves.″ – NME
“A panoramic view of music, politics and social history that’s wonderfully well-written, informative and often surprisingly funny” – Uncut
“A scrupulously researched, elegantly written and highly absorbing account of the intersection of politics and music.” – The Independent
“Lucid and authoritative” – The Guardian
“Ambitious, astute… Lynskey displays complete command of the music and the events that sparked it.” – Kirkus
“Comprehensive and beautifully written.” – Booklist
“A bracing and informative survey” – The Nation
“Amazing… very long and somehow in these times very important.” – Nicky Wire, Manic Street Preachers
“Excellent” – Lauren Laverne, Grazia
When pop music meets politics, the results are often thrilling, sometimes life-changing and never simple. 33 Revolutions Per Minute tracks this turbulent relationship across 33 pivotal songs that span seven decades and four continents, from Billie Holiday crooning Strange Fruit to Green Day raging against the Iraq war. It explores the individuals, ideas and events behind each song, showing how protest songs have soundtracked and informed social change since the 1930s, making their presence felt from the streets to the corridors of power. Through the work of such artists as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Fela Kuti, the Clash, U2, R.E.M., Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine, this expansive survey examines how music has engaged with racial unrest, nuclear paranoia, apartheid, war, poverty and oppression, offering hope, stirring anger, inciting action, and producing songs which continue to resonate years down the line, sometimes at great cost to the musicians involved. Packed with anecdote, argument and exclusive new interviews, 33 Revolutions Per Minute is an absorbing and moving document of the songs that made history.
Dorian Lynskey is a music writer for the Guardian. He has freelanced for a host of titles, including Q, The Word, Spin, Empire, Blender and the Observer. He is the author of The Guardian Book of Playlists (Aurum, 2008), a collection of his Readers Recommend columns for the Guardian.