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To accompany our Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt exhibition, we've started a Spotify playlist inspired by rebellion and revolt... and we'd like you to get involved in the debate.

On Friday afternoons during the first six weeks of the exhibition, we'll be asking you to tell us which songs of rebellion you think we should add to our playlist using the hashtag #RebelMC and why. Get involved on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Each week, we'll choose a few of your suggestions and add them to the list.

Songs of Rebellion: Your Suggestions

Strange Fruit

Billie Holiday

A song protesting against racism, definitely one to make the list!

Etude No.12 in C minor, Op.10

Frédéric Chopin

Known as a revolutionary étude, it appeared around the same time as the November uprising in 1831.

The Star Spangled Banner

Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix showcased his own version of the U.S. national anthem at Woodstock.When he was asked afterwards if he thought his version was blasphemous, Hendrix stated. "I thought it was beautiful".

Standing in the way of control

The Gossip

Though many might not realise, this song was written about the federal marriage ammendment in the United States, with singer Beth Ditto stating "I wrote the chorus to try and encourage people not to give up. It’s a scary time for civil rights, but I really believe the only way to survive is to stick together and keep fighting."

Bella Ciao


Originating during the Italian civil war, this is a song that was sung by the anti-facsist resistance movement in Italy. It has been described as a global hymn for freedom and resistance.



Lead singer Matt Bellamy explained that this song was “inspired by the G20 protests which took place” in London. We had two people suggest this song within a minute of each other so it's been added to the list!

Rebel Girl

Bikini Kill

Described as a feminist anthem, this song was released in 1993. Bikini Kill were a key part of the Riot Grrrl movement so this is definitely one worthy of the list!

Born in the USA

Bruce Springsteen

Released in 1984, a song sometimes mistaken for a song of celebration, Born in the USA speaks about the negative effects of war on Americans and the treatment of war veterans when they arrive back home.

Children of the Revolution


A song which can be identified within the first couple of notes. Released in 1973, a song with very minimal lyrics, it's an anthem of rebellion!

Another Brick in the Wall

Pink Floyd

A song which speaks out about kids beginning to protest against their teachers. The wall is something that is built around them and the teachers are just ‘Another brick in the wall’. A classic song of protest.

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

Originally composed as a hymn it later became an act of political defiance. It is a song of liberation and is now the South African national anthem.

I Predict a Riot

Kaiser Chiefs

Released on 1 November 2004. One of the most modern suggestions we have had so far!

Talkin' Bout a Revolution

Tracy Chapman

The second single from the singer-songwriters debut album, released in August 1988. A song of hope, with the line saying people will "rise up and take what's theirs", the song ends with "Finally the tables are starting to turn, talking 'bout a revolution going on."

I Fought The Law

The Clash

A song about fighting the law and challenging authority, definitely one of the top songs of rebellion!

Street Tuff

Rebel MC

We couldn't really have the #RebelMC playlist without a bit of Rebel MC himself now could we...


Matilda the Musical

The only 'Musical' suggestion we got this week, with some amazing lyrics of childhood rebellion such as "Even if you're little, you can do a lot", this had to be one of our top picks for this week.

Our Top Ten

I Wish I Knew How it would Feel to be Free

Nina Simone

Written by jazz pianist Billy Taylor in 1954, it was this 1967 recording by Nina Simone that made the song an anthem of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Pete Seeger

Now a classic of American folk music, Pete Seeger wrote the first three verses of this song on a plane journey in 1955, inspired by a Ukranian folk song described in Mikhail Sholokhov's novel And Quiet Flows the Don. Seeger was on his way to perform at a college campus, having been banned from television, radio, and stage performance under the strictures of McCarthyism.

Killing in the Name

Rage Against the Machine

In 2009 an internet campaign succeeded in propelling RATM’s anti-establishment outburst to the top of the Christmas chart, preventing the latest X-Factor winner from taking the coveted spot. Linked to race riots in Los Angeles in 1992, the song has a long established reputation as a rebel rallying cry against authority and institutional racism.

God Save the Queen

Sex Pistols

Released in Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee year – 1977 – both the BBC and the Independent Broadcasting Authority refused to play this anarchic track in spite of its great popularity. John Lydon – a.k.a. Johnny Rotten – has described the song as being for the unrepresented, aimed against the elite, saying “You don't write a song like 'God Save the Queen' because you hate the English race. You write a song like that because you love them, and you're fed up of seeing them mistreated.”

O nata lux (from Cantiones Sacrae, 1575)

Thomas Tallis

Thomas Tallis became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1542, where he composed and performed for monarchs from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I. His music reflects the religious upheavals of the Reformation, with compositions for different forms of worship at different times, in Latin and in English. In 1575 Elizabeth I granted to Thomas Tallis and William Byrd a 21-year monopoly for polyphonic music and a patent to print and publish music; indeed, they were the only ones allowed to use the particular paper that was used for this purpose. Tallis and Byrd took advantage of the patent to produce a grandiose joint publication under the title Cantiones que ab argumento sacrae vocantur consisting of 34 Latin motets dedicated to the Queen.

The Rite of Spring (first part)

Igor Stravinsky

Stravinsky’s ballet score is a landmark in music. Its premiere, at the Théâtre de Champs-Elysées in May 1913 caused a scandal. The work was such a violent wrench from every musical tradition that had gone before that, to many, it seemed like the work of a madman. There were many complex technical innovations in this primordial, elemental score, but, contrary to popular belief, it was not just the shock of the music, the exotic choreography, or the bizarre sets that prompted the riot that ensued in the theatre. There were factions at work in Paris determined to disrupt proceedings before a note of music had been heard. A year later, a concert performance was given in the Casino de Paris. Stravinsky was carried from the hall in triumph. Nothing he wrote subsequently had the same shattering impact on the musical world.

Sunday Bloody Sunday


The first track on the band’s 1983 album War, ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ is about the shooting of protestors by British paratroopers in Derry/Londonderry in 1972. The report of the inquiry into the shootings was published in June 2010, after which Prime Minister David Cameron apologised on behalf of the British Government.

Cover Your Eyes

Karine Polwart

Karine is a Scottish folk musician, singer, and songwriter. She has described this track, the first on her 2012 album Traces, as “a meditative and poignant” protest against Donald Trump’s executive golf development on the Aberdeenshire coastline. “It imagines a kind of meteorological retribution where environmental justice, political sense and human decency have otherwise totally failed.”

Rebel Rebel

David Bowie

That riff. Need we say more?!

The Revolution Will Not be Televised

Gil Scott-Heron

Because of records like this – more spoken word than song –Gil Scott-Heron has been called the ‘godfather of rap’. The lyrics, a list of ways and places in which the revolution will not happen, has been read as a critique of both mass media and political disengagement in Nixon’s America.

#RebelMC Spotify Playlist