Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published November 12th 2020
Surely most of us want peace
Another reader request! Seems to be the month for those, and, no, I really don't mind.
So, anyway, after a series of columns alluding to the political climate of the world, a reader who I do not know reached out to me on Twitter and asked if I could do something about peace. A brief discussion ensued, and I worked out they meant peace as in a lack of hostility, not peace as in calm and serene.
This was an interesting thing to look at. A lot of songs I thought were about no fighting were actually about being calm and relaxing. Or a song like 'peace' by Taylor Swift is about a relationship. Wow. This made it a little more challenging, and that's fine.
Now, by the sheer nature of the times, you could probably guess that many of the tracks here come from the late 60s and early 70s. However, not all of them. And, no matter the era they were released, that does not mean they are not still relevant today.
And that is probably an unfortunate commentary on the world today.
I decided to stick with songs with the word "peace" in the title, just because that way there was no confusion as to what the song was about.
Anyway, here are ten songs about peace.
'Give Peace A Chance' by The Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon) (1969)
It all started here, really. Sure, there may have been other tracks about peace, but none were as blatant as this track, recorded during John Lennon and Yoko Ono's bed-in in Toronto. Now it was on the table. Yes, some of the lyrics are a little twee, looking back, but the sentiments of this song have stayed with people for over fifty years.
'Peace Train' by Cat Stevens (1971)
This song has come up before, but the true sentiment of the song is about peace and the hope that it will spread around the world. I know a few people who are not fans of Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam, but the whole "guy with guitar" trend seemed to have grown from him and his lyrics that he truly felt.
'Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)' by George Harrison (1973)
Look, another former Beatle! Equating peace with love was a common theme in the early 70s, late 60s, but none put it forth as beautifully as George Harrison. The sentiment is there and the playing is, of course, wonderful. He really did come into his own after The Beatles broke up, and this is a fine example of that.
'(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding' by Nick Lowe (1974)
Most people who know of this song would know the later cover by Elvis Costello, but I have always enjoyed Nick Lowe's singing and the guitar work he puts into his songs. While the song's lyrics are more about the fact by 1974 people had given up on peace, it is still him clinging to the hope that it means something. Great track.
'Pipes Of Peace' by Paul McCartney (1983)
This was the first track I thought of for this column, thanks mainly to a recent column I did. But the track is still magnificent, talking about how peace is important and that it is actually not hard to achieve. Simple, really. And, yes, we now have three of the Beatles in this column; these sentiments were clearly spread across the whole band.
'Soldiers Of Peace' by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1988)
From their sort of "comeback" album (not that the various members ever really went away), this is a song that continues on from their 60s hey-day, with lyrics about not fighting but having peace. The song builds and builds, and showcases their harmonies. Maybe the production is a little too "80s" for the band, but still a great song. Oh, and the swelling choir (called The Volume Dealers Choir in the liner notes) features Steve Perry.
'Peace On Earth' by Mike Oldfield (1999)
The Millennium Bell was an interesting album. While having the Bell… name, it does not fit in with the other works, and has a very ethereal and almost religious feel to it. There is a great version of a classic song on it, and this is another of the fine tracks that feature. It is about the birth of Jesus and the peace that represents, but, really, I couldn't do a peace list and not feature something like that.
'Peace On Earth' by U2 (2000)
Another track about wanting peace on earth because they're "sick of" everything, and how a lack of peace is affecting everyone. This is a smooth track by U2 from an album that I quite like (All That You Can't Leave Behind) and this is a really good track.
'Peace Dream' by Ringo Starr (2010)
Yes! All four Beatles in one list as solo artists! And this is actually a really good song from a recent Starr album. The whole album is a hopeful one, and this is one of the more hopeful tracks. Oh, and McCartney plays bass on it as well. A really good song, and the album did not get enough love or recognition when it was released.
'World Peace Is None Of Your Business' by Morrissey (2014)
And we finish with a depressing little song about how world peace should be for all of us but, in the end, it has nothing to do with any of us. It has a cheerful, almost holiday sound to it, but the lyrics… wow! Morrissey is a fine song-writer and it is so good to see that he has lost none of his edge over the years.
Peace. World Peace. It is a nice idea. Is it a pipe dream? I hope not. I was tempted to include a comedy track here ('Bird Of Peace' by Hee Bee Gee Bees) but decided against it because it sort of goes against what the aim of this column really was.
It would be good of we did get some sort of peace. In the meantime, I hope the music makes everyone feel better.