36. "With God on Our Side" (1964)
Tom Morello: I may be the last person alive who still believes that Dylan sold out at Newport in 1965 when he went electric. The pressure was on to lead a movement, something he didn't sign up for and wasn't interested in. I think he missed an opportunity to see if there was a ceiling to what music could do to push forward radical politics. But he came close with "With God on Our Side."
I never knew how politically radical Dylan was until I got The Times They Are A-Changin'. He was 22 but sounds like he's 80, like this wizened guy who's had a long life as a vigilante, croaking out songs of hard truth. But "With God on Our Side" is not some historical relic. It is a living exposé of war crimes, past, present and future. Dylan lays bare the hypocrisy of war and unmasks the whitewashing of our military ventures. He's singing about the people who make war, profit by it, and the families that send children to die. "You don't count the dead when God's on your side," he sings. "And you never ask questions when God's on your side." From shock-and-awe to Abu Ghraib to the morass in Afghanistan, those phrases can very much be applied to our exploits today.