The current climate has pretty much re-defined the meaning of "contentious". If all you want to do is complain, so be it. But we're remembering a time when a "protest" song could be a call for unity and change, not just finger pointing or taking your toys home when the game's not going your way.

 

"A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke (1964) -This was the soul legend's most personal work, based on a true incident where Sam wasn't allowed to book a room because the motel management informed him they only did business with white people.

"Eve Of Destruction" by Barry McGuire (1965) - Pretty impressive for a one-hit wonder that clocks in at 3-and-a-half minutes -- The topics covered include civil rights and civil unrest, the futility of war, pollution, and the dangers of the nuclear arms race. When you think about it, it's kinda too bad this doesn't sound more dated than it really is, you know?

"Everyday People" by Sly & The Family Stone (1968) - "Different strokes/For different folks/And so on and so on...We got to live together". Yeah, I'm going with there's no way to top the message behind this one and it's barely over two minutes long. I'd be okay if this was the National Anthem For The World!

"Give Peace A Chance" by John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band (1969) -That the songwriting credit says "Lennon/McCartney" pretty tells you all you need to know about this piece of John's that will likely still have resonance for too many more years to come. Even the most tone-deaf morons find themselves singing along with it, so there's that, too...

"What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye (1971) - This song is so beautiful that by the time you finally get around to really hearing, really listening, really understanding what the lyrics have to say, you just might break out in tears.