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Happy Music Monday! As most of us have heard, the legendary Nelson Mandela recently passed away. As the face of the anti-apartheid movement, Mandela was the man so many different pop stars sang to, and like all things 1980s, he eventually became a bit of a fad. Today Scott's saying goodbye to Mandela with a collection of songs about him, or about the times he lived in. He'll start with the big one. You might already be singing it yourself.

The Specials - Free Nelson Mandela

 

Without this Specials hit, would as many people have even heard of Nelson Mandela? Maybe, but probably not for a while. Nobody would call this a scholarly biography, but in the days before Wikipedia, this was about as efficient a recap as one could find. And a pretty good song to boot.

We've got four more, then it'll be your turn. See you after the jump.

Peter Gabriel - Biko

 

Although not directly about Mandela, the story of Steve Biko isn't too far away. Biko was interrogated by the South African police in room 619 and somehow sustained serious head injuries, leading to his death shortly afterwards. Although Nelson Mandela survived his interrogation, it probably wasn't too much different overall. This particular live version, ending the 1986 Conspiracy Of Hope tour, is my favorite.

Eddy Grant - Gimme Hope Jo'anna

 

Eddie Grant wasn't from South Africa, but he certainly understood both the need to stop oppression and a need to make some hooks. The Joanna in this song is, of course, Johannesburg, the home of the Afrikaner minority that ran the government. In 1993, one of those Afrikaners shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela for jointly eliminating apartheid in a relatively peaceful way.

Youssou N'Dour - Nelson Mandela

 

Possibly the most famous African musician (in America at least) is Senegal-born Youssou N'Dour. Although I don't speak the language, it's pretty obvious that this tribute to Nelson Mandela is a straight-up compliment. You don't make music with such strength and hope for someone you don't admire. N'Dour also dedicated his first album to Mandela while Mandela was in prison.

Labi Siffre - Something Inside So Strong

 

Although he very likely earned all his money from being sampled by Eminem, Labi Siffre's lovely song about enduring hardship is a perfect closer for a Music Monday about a man who went from prisoner to President. And it's hard to forget a man once he's part of a song. Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela.

Let us just remind you: some images come from the corresponding Wikipedia page and are here under fair use. See you next week.



Quality Posts


miken927


quality posts: 122 Private Messages miken927

Ain't gonna play Sun City


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I Bet on Sky

CatCK


quality posts: 50 Private Messages CatCK

U2. "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom"

sneezix


quality posts: 1 Private Messages sneezix

mossygreen


quality posts: 72 Private Messages mossygreen

All I can think of is when Amy Winehouse sang "Free Nelson Mandela" AT Nelson Mandela's birthday concert and changed some lyrics to be about her incarcerated husband. But I don't feel like looking for a link, and it seems disrespectful anyway. [I mean, it WAS disrespectful, but encouraging people to listen to it now would also be disrespectful. Although it was so very ridiculous.]

LarryLars


quality posts: 65 Private Messages LarryLars

Song Review by Matthew Greenwald (allmusic.com): "Not only was Nelson Mandela the most famous modern day political prisoner, he was also one of the biggest fans of Hugh Masekela. So great, in fact, that he was able to smuggle a letter to him in April 1985 (for Masekela's birthday) from Pollsmoor Prison, which wished him luck on his recording projects and other good tidings. Masekela was so moved by this letter that he wrote this fabulous anthem, which envisioned Mandela walking freely down the streets of South Africa. The melody is a buoyant, anthemic, and grand series of chords and trumpet riffs, filled with the sense of camaraderie and celebration that are referred to in the lyrics. The vocal choir during the joyous chorus is extremely moving and life affirming. Recorded in 1986 for his Tomorrow album, the song and it's wish became a reality when Mandela was released in 1990, and it was played during his many visits to America following his release, as well as on numerous television broadcasts. A truly classic modern day folk song, it remains a favorite of Masekela's live repertoire and was rightfully included on the fabulous 2001 Columbia collection The Best of Hugh Masekela." (note, I corrected the spelling of the artist's name)


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