World Music

8 songs that changed the World


Music and Songs have huge influence on what we think and how we see the world.

Music can change the world because it can change people – Bono

Here is our list of 8 songs that indeed change the world.


1. Looking for freedom by David Hasselhoff 1988

This anthem not only hit No 1 in what was then West Germany but it became communist East Germany’s ‘Song of hope’ in the last days of the Berlin Wall, even inspiring to start tearing down the wall with their bare hands.

2. Runaway Train by Soul Asylum 1992

After charting in 15 different countries Soul Train decide to make the most of their song’s fame, highlighting hundreds of runaway children in the music video. They made different versions in each country it ran in, including the US, UK and Australia. Each featured photos of runaway children from that country. The video ultimately inspired at least 26 children around the world to return home.

3. Panama by Van Halen 1984

Even thought song was about a racecar, not the country, ‘Panama’ helped the US remove General Manuel Noriega from power in Panama in 1989. The US had warranted for his arrest for drug trafficking. However the leader sought asylum at the Vatican embassy, and US troops had to use ‘psychological warfare’ to capture him. They blasted rock music, including the Van Halen anthem, outside the embassy. After 10 days of non-stop rock n’ roll, the Vatican ambassador turned the general away and into US custody.

4. Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday 1939

‘Strange Fruit’ is a poignant symbol of the inequality black Americans have faced throughout history. It’s one of the most frequently used protest songs, and was also named Time magazine’s song of the century in 1999.

5. Imagine by John Lennon 1971

Asking people to picture a world without constricting labels and boundaries. ‘Imagine’ has become timeless. It calls for world peace, and is continually used to inspire the fight for equality.

6. Fight the Power by Public Enemy 1990

The song was originally written for Spike Lee’s ‘Do the right thing’ and inspired millions of black Americans. Today it still stands as powerful commentary on race relations not only in US but in other parts of the World like Eastern Europe. In 1991 the people of Yugoslavia made ‘Fight the Power’ their anthem during massive protests against Serbian president. Radio programs became heavily censored. But one station, B92, got away with continuing to play music and ‘Fight the Power’ inspired protesters to continue on, despite violent responses from police. After just five days, the president gave into the protester’s demands.

7. War by Edwin Starr 1970

The song was written to protest the Vietnam war and violence and was actually the first song by Motown to get political. Today, it stands as one of the most powerful songs in anti-war music history.

8. Thunderstuck by AC/DC 1990

The lyrics of ‘Thunderstruck’ didn’t change history so much as the booming riffs behind it. Scientist at the University of South Australia discovered the music actually helped improve chemotherapy drugs. They found that is the drug’s particles were prepared while ‘Thunderstruck’ was blasting, they had a more even coating of plasma around them, which meant they could fight cancer in patients’ system for two to 100 times longer.


So, how has music changed your life? Write in comments below

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