Remember the Beatles’ reactionary song, ‘Revolution’? I liked them as a group, and still do, but, gee, it was disappointing to be a young revolutionist in the 1960s and hear them come out with lyrics against revolutionary change. Of course, the Beatles’ song was written from the perspective of the Establishment – lyrics about “minds that hate” and against “Chairman Mao” would not have made much sense to people who were struggling for survival and freedom in the Third World, not to mention in the ghettoes of the US.
Someone who, at that time, stood with the oppressed people was the great African American piano player, composer and singer, Nina Simone.
Poor Nina, she was not consistent later in life and her decline and end was a very sad one indeed. Her version of the Beatles’ song subverts it into an actual revolutionary song.
I’m sure she was addressing the Beatles with the lyrics:
“Some folks are gonna get the notion
I know they’ll say im preachin hate
But if i have to swim the ocean
Well i would just to communicate
Its not as simple as talkin jive
The daily struggle just to stay alive”.
And, hey, greenies, “It’s more than just air pollution”.
She recorded the song in 1969: “We’re in the middle of a revolution, coz I see the face of things to come”.
Enjoy! (And swim that ocean!)