This week’s Monitor is a departure from the usual content. We are going to play music, for the most part, to close out the year. Here is the playlist for the show:
1. “Mannenberg” is a classic of South African marabi-influenced Cape jazz, composed by Abdullah Ibrahim and first recorded in 1974. Released under Ibrahim’s former name Dollar Brand on the vinyl album Mannenberg – “Is Where It’s Happening” (featuring just two long cuts), the title track is particularly notable for the saxophone solo by Basil “Manenberg” Coetzee, for which he earned his nickname. Inspired by and named after the Cape Flats township of Manenberg (although spelled differently), it was an instant hit and later became identified with the struggle against apartheid, “a beloved anthem of hope and resistance for many South Africans”.
2. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is a poem and song by Gil Scott-Heron. Scott-Heron first recorded it for his 1970 albumSmall Talk at 125th and Lenox, on which he recited the lyrics, accompanied by congas and bongo drums. A re-recorded version, with a full band, was the B-side to Scott-Heron’s first single, “Home Is Where the Hatred Is”, from his album Pieces of a Man (1971). It was also included on his compilation album, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1974). All these releases were issued on theFlying Dutchman Productions record label. The song’s title was originally a popular slogan among the 1960s Black Power movements in the United States.
3. “Fortunate Son” is a song by Creedence Clearwater Revival on their album Willy and the Poor Boys in 1969. It was released as a single, together with “Down on the Corner”, in September 1969. This song reached #14 on the United States charts on 22 November 1969, the week before Billboard changed its methodology on double-sided hits. The tracks combined to climb to #9 the next week, on the way to peaking at #3 three more weeks later, on 20 December 1969. It won the RIAA Gold Disc award in December 1970. Pitchfork Media placed it at number 17 on its list of “The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s”. Rolling Stoneplaced it at #99 on its “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list.
4. “Fight the Power” is a song by American hip hop group Public Enemy, released as a single in June 1989 on Motown Records. It was conceived at the request of film director Spike Lee, who sought a musical theme for his 1989 film Do the Right Thing. First issued on the film’s 1989 soundtrack, a different version was featured on Public Enemy’s 1990 studio album Fear of a Black Planet. “Fight the Power” incorporates various samples and allusions to African-American culture, including civil rights exhortations, black church services, and the music of James Brown. As a single, “Fight the Power” reached number one on Hot Rap Singles and number 20 on the Hot R&B Singles. It was named the best single of 1989 by The Village Voice in their Pazz & Jop critics’ poll. It has become Public Enemy’s best-known song and has been accoladed as one of the greatest songs of all time by critics and publications. In 2001, the song was ranked number 288 in the “Songs of the Century” list compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.
5. Interview with Immortal Technique from November 2011. The interview includes a discussion of his latest album The Martyr – a compilation album by rapper Immortal Technique, released on October 27, 2011 through free digital download on ViperRecords.com. It is a collection of previously unreleased songs. The Martyr had 200,000 downloads on its first day.
6. “Reagan” by Michael Render better known by his stage name Killer Mike, is an American hip hop recording artist and occasional actor from Atlanta, Georgia. He is signed to Grind Time Official through the SMC/Fontana Distribution. Mike made his debut on “Snappin’ and Trappin'”, from OutKast’s 2000 LP Stankonia, and later appeared on the Grammy-winning song “The Whole World”, a single from OutKast’s greatest hits album Big Boi and Dre Present…OutKast. In December 2008, Mike confirmed he signed to fellow Atlanta-based rapper T.I.’s Grand Hustle Records. In 2012, he releasedR.A.P. Music, produced entirely by American rapper-producer El-P. In 2013, the two subsequently formed a duo, branding themselves Run the Jewels. The two signed to Fool’s Gold and released their self-titled debut, in June of that year. Mike has been featured in the films 20 Funerals, Idlewild and ATL.
7. “War Pigs” is a song by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. It is the opening track from their 1970 album Paranoid. The original title of “War Pigs” was “Walpurgis”, dealing with the witches’ sabbath. “Walpurgis is sort of like Christmas for Satanists. And to me, war was the big Satan”, said bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler. “It wasn’t about politics or government or anything. It was (about) evil. So I was saying ‘generals gathered in the masses/just like witches at black masses’ to make an analogy. But when we brought it to the record company, they thought ‘Walpurgis’ sounded too Satanic. And that’s when we turned it into ‘War Pigs.’ But we didn’t change the lyrics, because they were already finished.” Prior to its official release, the band often altered the lyrics significantly when performing it live.
8. “Lives in the Balance” is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, the title track of his 1986 album, Lives in the Balance. A live version is also found on Browne’s Solo Acoustic, Vol. 1. Lives in the Balance is the eighth album by American singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, released in 1986 (see 1986 in music). It reached number 23 on The Billboard 200 chart. The title track as well as “For America” and “In the Shape of a Heart” were released as singles. The album was ranked number 88 on Rolling Stone’s list of the best 100 albums of the 1980s. The album reached number 2 in Sweden.
9. “A Change Is Gonna Come” is a 1964 single by R&B singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, written in 1963, first recorded in January of 1964, and released under the RCA Victor label shortly after his death in late 1964. Though only a modest hit for Cooke in comparison with his previous singles, the song came to exemplify the 1960s’ Civil Rights Movement. The song has gained in popularity and critical acclaim in the decades since its release, and is #12 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
10. “Imagine” is a song written and performed by the English musician John Lennon. The best-selling single of his solo career, its lyrics encourage the listener to imagine a world at peace without the divisiveness and barriers of borders, religions and nationalities, and to consider the possibility that the focus of humanity should be living a life unattached to material possessions.