10 Piosenek Zainspirowanych Życiem MLK Junior

Written by on January 18, 2021

 

Legendy nigdy nie umierają: żyją w naszych sercach, w naszych historiach, i oczywiscie, w naszych piosenkach.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I thought I’d share with everyone a few of the songs that keep Dr. King’s legend alive.

They are in all sorts of genres by all sorts of artists: written from the day of his death to decades later. The variety is incredible but the message is always the same. Put yourself in another’s shoes. Love each other. Fight for each other until we are all treated as equals.

The sheer number of people who have written songs in his honor serves as a reflection of the incredible person the MLK Junior was.  Today, I hope we all use some time to educate ourselves, reflect, and listen.

What better way to do that than through music? 🙂

-Adela

 

10 Songs Inspired by Martin Luther King Junior Over the Decades

 

  1. Why? (The King of Love Is Dead) – Nina Simone (1968)
    • Year Released: 1968
    • Fun fact: Nina Simone, a musical icon of the Civil Rights Movement, wrote this song almost immediately upon hearing the news of King’s assassination. The first live performance of this song was 3 days after his death.
    • Nina Simone, photographed in July, 1969.

  2. Elvis Presley – If I Can Dream 
    • Year Released: 1968
    • Fun fact: Elvis Presley was reported a huge fan of MLK Jr. and performed this song as the closer to his 1968 NBC music program. Producers wanted him to end the special with “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, but Presley, adamant about paying tribute to the late king, eventually got his way.
  3. Stevie Wonder – Happy Birthday
    • Year released: 1981
    • Fun fact: Stevie Wonder met MLK Jr. as a teengaer and wrote this song as part of his campaign to get MLK Jr’s birthday celebrated as a national holiday!
  4. Queen – One Vision
    • Year released: 1985
    • Fun fact: Though it is a collaboration between all band members, the inspiration for the song came from drummer Roger Taylor who wrote a poem based off of MLK’s famous “I Had a Dream” speech
  5. Ben Harper – Like a King
    • Year Released: 1994
    • Fun fact: Ben Harper wrote this song as a response to the Rodney King riots, drawing parallels between MLK’s dream and sad reality of police brutality resulting in Rodney King’s death.
  6. Prince – We March
    • Year released: 1995
    • Fun Fact: This song by Prince became the anthem for the Million Man March – an event in 1995 that saw 850,000 African American men gather at the National Mall at Washington D.C to address problems facing the black community in America.
  7.  U2 – MLK
    • Year released: 2009
    • Fun fact: U2 never figured out what type of instrumental would best fit the solemnity of the song. They decided to go with a drone to make the lyrics really stand out for the listener.
  8. JAY-Z – What We Talkin’ About
    • Year Released: 2009
    • Fun fact: Apart from Jay Z, the track features Australian musician Luke  Stele of Empire of the Sun, who JAY- Z reached out to after listening to their debut album “Walking on a Dream”.
  9. Jay Electronica – Jazzmatazz
    • Year released: 2010
    • Song samples MLK’S Historic “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop ” Speech
    • Fun fact: The title “Jazzmatazz” refers to a series of hip hop + jazz recordings from the music artist & producer GURU
  10. Glory – John Legend (featuring Common)
    • Year released: 2014
    • Fun fact: Written for the movie Selma (which covered the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama), the song went on to eventually win the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song.

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