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Five "Green" Songs

When it came down to narrowing down 5 eco-themed songs for this list of favorites, it was pretty tricky.  I finally got my list down to 5 songs truly about the environment -- and I swear, I don't know if I've ever spent this much time on a blog post...even the ones I've had to do extensive research on to write.  But here we go..we've got soul, rock, folk, parking lots, acid rain, and dirty water.    

Without further ado, here's the list...

Big Yellow Taxi
Joni Mitchell

This list wouldn't be complete without "Big Yellow Taxi."  With lyrics like "Hey farmer farmer, put away the D.D.T. now.  Give me spots on my apples But leave me the birds and the bees....Please!"  it's the quintessential green song.  It's been covered by many people, from Counting Crows to Keb Mo, but Joni does it the best.  

Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Marvin Gaye

Classic song by the fantastic Marvin Gaye.  Love this line:  "Where did all the blue skies go?  Poison is the wind that blows."  This video is a 1980 live version of the song and it goes right into another classic activism-themed song, "What's Going On."  I think this is actually my favorite song on the list.

 



 

Natural Beauty
Neil Young

A melancholy song about the world is from "Harvest Moon" by Neil Young.

This isn't the only time Neil sings about the environment.  Neil Young's politically-charged 2003 rock opera Greendale has several themes, one being the environment.    One of my favorite Neil Young lines comes from "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World."  Styrofoam boxes for the ozone layer...fuel to burn and roads to drive...

Last Great American Whale
Lou Reed

Depressing and oftentimes true.  "Americans don’t care too much for anything, land and water the least, they’ll sh*t in a river or dump battery acid in a lake and complain if they can’t swim," sings Lou Reed in his iconic album New York.

Fall on Me
REM

 

Until recently, I actually never knew that this song was about acid rain!  "Don't fall on me" is in respects to acid rain.  Later Michael Stipe said the song is also about oppression.

I'll give an honorable mention to the band Rush on behalf of my husband.  I don't like Rush, but he does and he was saddened to see that I was not including them on this list, as they have several songs about the environment.  Another honorable mention to Tower of Power and their funktastic and straight-to-the-point song "Only So Much Oil in the Ground."  

What's ironic is actually that none of the songs that made my list are particularly new.  None came from the more modern "green" movement.  I'm not sure why that is.  

There are also some songs that I think might have an environmental message (i.e., a few Midnight Oil songs), but I'm not positive so I don't want to make any assumptions.  

I'd love to hear if anyone else has any suggestions on some environmental songs to listen to.