.

Song Stories

“Biko”

Peter Gabriel | 1980

In 1977, Stephen Biko, an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa, was seized at a roadblock and taken to a police station, where he was interrogated several days. On September 12th, he died from head injuries, the result of police brutality. Biko's death would draw worldwide attention to the brutality of apartheid, with Gabriel's dirge bringing South Africa's injustices to the younger generation. "I was uncertain about getting engaged in a political song," Gabriel told Rolling Stone. "Because I'd never directly taken on an issue in that way. I just tried some ideas, and I felt the spine tingling."

prev
Song Stories Main Next

Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com