Mixtape: Music That Changed the World

Music is known for its power to encapsulate moments in time. Michael Phoenix shares the songs that soundtracked some of history’s biggest moments The Beatles – ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’This was released in the US in the aftermath of the assassination of JFK. Penned by Lennon and McCartney, the song proved a much needed pick-me-up for an America in disarray.Oasis – ‘All Around the World’In April 1998, the Good Friday Agreement was signed and Oasis topped the charts with this call for universal optimism. Let’s hope the Agreement doesn’t go the same way as the band.Otis Redding – ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’This slow-burner carried America through the death of civil rights leader Martin Luther King. As a country burned with anger, the chorus became a nationwide sing-along, as people searched for an outlet for their emotions.Fifth Dimension – ‘Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In’In 1969 America went to the moon, and the music world went mad. This hit is fitting – though also slightly strange – and had people bouncing along to the optimistic vibe of the time.Nirvana – ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’In December 1991, the USSR came to a formal end as the unshaven, unkempt teenagers of the world embraced the concept of grunge. Rules and repression were ditched in favour of clashing guitars as Nirvana ruled with an iron fist.Shaggy – ‘It Wasn’t Me’In November 2000 George W. Bush became the most powerful man in the world – in rather acrimonious fashion. Shaggy, meanwhile, burst onto the airwaves in an only slightly less noisy fashion. As the world scrutinised the controversial election result, Shaggy was hired by the President for advice. Possibly.Lynyrd Skynyrd – ‘Free Bird’Released in 1973, this guitar epic may have been a musical pioneer in its day. It also marked the retreat of American forces from the prolonged conflict in Vietnam.The Cranberries – ‘Zombie’Released in 1994, this powerful track has been the cause of much debate as to just which atrocity it sought to highlight. Genocide in Rwanda, or conflict in the north of Ireland? In effect this is irrelevant. Regardless, ‘Zombie’ did what it intended – it got people asking questions.Black Eyed Peas – ‘I Gotta Feeling’Friday 9th October, 2009 – thousands of students across Ireland were saved a fortune in third-level education fees. Undoubtedly, these students immediately went and celebrated. Equally undoubted – that the DJ played Ireland’s number one a minimum of three times. We may all hate it, but this tune takes some forgetting.