Top 42 Most Powerful Songs About The War and Anti War – Ranked 2023)

Here is a list of the top Songs About The War and Songs About Anti War. Listen with us, and hoping for a better day.

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#1. “So Much Trouble In The World” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

So Much Trouble In The World” by Bob Marley & The Wailers highlights the deep pain caused by warfare.

With reggae-infused tunes and meaningful lyrics, this iconic track condemns the devastating effects of war on people and their communities around the world.

The powerful message behind this song reminds us to be mindful of our actions and to strive for peace.

#2. “War” by Edwin Starr

“War” by Edwin Starr is one of the most globally recognised anti-war songs ever written.

Released in 1970, this powerful and emotive song speaks about the devastating effects of warfare on individuals and families, with Starr evocatively pleading for people to never stop talking about the war.

The song has since been covered by dozens of famous artists around the world and stands as a testament to the long history of music being used as a form of protest against violence and conflict.

#3. “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath

War Pigs, a 1970 anthem by the heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath, is one of the most iconic rock songs about warfare.

With its intense and powerful lyrics, it has been an inspiration to many generations of musicians. The song is an anti-war statement that examines the futility of fighting in wars fought for personal glorifications and profit.

Despite its menacing sound, it speaks to war’s ultimate legacy, the waste of human life that is far too often forgotten by those who wage it.

#4. “The Partisan” by Leonard Cohen

Written during the early 1960s, “The Partisan” by Leonard Cohen is a song about the horrors of war and the resistance to oppressive regimes.

The lyrics are half in English and French, capturing the sentiments of soldiers who were fighting for freedom and justice in the face of death, destruction, and despair.

It has been covered by numerous artists since its initial release and continues to be an anthem for those facing difficult challenges today.

#5. “With God on Our Side” by Bob Dylan

Written by the iconic folk singer Bob Dylan, “With God on Our Side” is a song concerning the destruction and consequences of war.

The song to highlight the injustice of war and how it can frequently be used as an excuse for violence and oppression.

The song was released in 1964 and has since become an anthem for anti-war movements around the world.

#6. “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song “Fortunate Son” is a classic protest song about the Vietnam War.

Written by CCR frontman John Fogerty, the song critiques the hypocrisy in how some individuals managed to avoid military service while others were subject to be drafted or volunteer.

The lyrics focus on those who sought special privileges or exemptions and launched scathing criticism of the individuals who would send others to fight in a war they were not involved in personally.

#7. Run To The Hills by Iron Maiden

Run To The Hills – by Iron Maiden is a song which explores themes of war and conflict.

It was penned by lead singer Steve Harris in 1981 and speaks of Native American struggles against the encroachment of European forces into their homeland.

The song’s lyrics powerfully depict the feelings of desperation, frustration and ultimately hope that this fight for survival inspires in its protagonists.

#8. “One” by Metallica

“One” by Metallica is a powerful song about the horrors of war. The song tells the story of a soldier who is severely injured and rendered blind, deaf and mute from fighting in the war.

Despite his state, he is unable to communicate with those around him making it difficult for them to understand his suffering.

Metallica’s “One” serves as a reminder of how much destruction wars cause for all mankind.

#9. “When The President Talks To God” – by Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes released their hit single “When The President Talks To God,” a song that raises questions and conversation around the US’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This song criticizes the actions taken by US war leaders and calls for honest reflection into the consequences of these wars on innocent lives.

The timely release of this single reminded listeners all over the world to think critically about the decisions being made in times of conflict.

#10. “Oliver’s Army” – by Elvis Costello And The Attractions

“Oliver’s Army” is a 1979 song by Elvis Costello and the Attractions about the pains of war and its devastating effects on those who are forced to fight it.

The song reflects on how soldiers are treated as pawns in a game between political elites, sending them off to battle with no regard to their own well-being or safety.

With a catchy chorus and emotive lyrics, this song has become an anthem for those struggling against war.

#11. “Stoned Love” – by The Supremes

Released in 1971, “Stoned Love” by The Supremes is an uplifting anthem about love and peace in a world that was fraught with conflict.

In the wake of the Vietnam War and other global unrest, the song captures a longing for harmony and a message of hope for a better tomorrow.

With its soulful melodies and powerful lyrics, it remains one of the most popular Motown songs to this day.

#12. “Draft Morning” – by The Byrds

Written and released in 1965, ‘Draft Morning’ by The Byrds is a song written about the Vietnam War.

It serves as an anti-war protest piece, criticizing the government for drafting young men despite vocal concerns by citizens against military action.

The lyrics paint a picture of soldiers being taken away from their families and homes to fight a cruel war.

Additionally, the protest song talks about how some were not even given a chance to finish college or say goodbye to their loved ones before heading off to war.

#13. “Hammer to Fall” – by Queen

“Hammer to Fall” – by the British band Queen, is a song about the sorrows of war.

Written by lead singer Freddie Mercury, it is an anti-war anthem that questions the futility of military conflict and asks whether it is really worth sacrificing young lives for a cause.

The lyrics emphasize themes of despair, pain, suffering and loss that are often associated with war.

#14. “How Does the Grass Grow” – by David Bowie

“How Does the Grass Grow” is a song by David Bowie that reflects on war and remains an anthem of peace.

The lyrics capture the thoughts of many following the aftermath of a war, questioning how can life and nature recover after so much destruction, devastation and death.

It was released in 1969 shortly after the Vietnam War had ended and is an emotional reflection of what many people endured during this war-torn period.

#15. “Orange Crush” – by R.E.M.

Released in 1988, “Orange Crush” by the band R.E.M. is a powerful anti-war song that depicts the devastating effects of war on people and their communities.

The montage of images created by the story-telling lyrics paints a vivid picture of the horrors faced by those caught up in warfare and serves as an important reminder to all about the human costs of war.

The song has served as an anthem for peace activists worldwide since it was released and continues to be relevant today.

#16. “Zombie” –  by The Cranberries

The Cranberries’ hit single “Zombie” is a protest song inspired by the violence surrounding the Troubles in Northern Ireland, an ongoing conflict that dates back to the late 1960s.

The track became one of the band’s most well-known songs and was their fifth UK Top Twenty hit.

Lead singer Dolores O’Riordan wrote the lyrics in response to an IRA bombing at a Warrington shopping center that killed two young children.

The song was released in 1994 and was met with international acclaim, becoming an anthem for those suffering from war-related trauma and unrest.

#17. “Devils and Dust” – by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen, in his song “Devils and Dust,” explores the effects of war on the individual psyche.

The song paints a vivid portrait of one soldier’s experience, conjuring images of terror, loneliness, doubt, and grief as they cope with life on the battlefield.

It is a stirring tribute to the bravery and nobility of those fighting in wars, while also serving as an impassioned reminder of the human costs that war incurs.

#18. “Army Dreamers” – by Kate Bush

The 1980 song “Army Dreamers,” famously performed by Kate Bush, was inspired by her experience of living through the Falklands War.

The track paints a vivid picture of the harsh realities of war as it tells the story of a mother’s sorrows upon receiving news that her son has gone missing in action.

This classic anti-war song expresses powerful emotion and highlights the devastating effects of violence against those impacted by warfare.

#19. “Harry Patch (In Memory Of)” – by Radiohead

“Harry Patch (In Memory Of)” is a song by the British rock band Radiohead from their 2007 album In Rainbows.

Written in memory of World War I veteran Harry Patch, it serves as a powerful tribute to all those who lost their lives in battle during the Great War.

With its somber atmosphere and poetic lyrics, this track offers listeners an emotional reflection on the devastating consequences of war for an entire generation.

#20. “Give Peace a Chance” – by Plastic Ono Band

“Give Peace a Chance” is a song composed by John Lennon and performed by the Plastic Ono Band.

It was released in 1969 as an anti-war protest song during the Vietnam War, calling on countries to end their wars and embrace peace instead.

The lyrics make appeals for peace including lines like “all we are saying is give peace a chance” urging listeners to consider the concept of world peace being achievable.

#21. “There is a War” – by Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen released an impacting song “There is a War” that expresses the struggle of war and its repercussions.

This ballad speaks about a soldier’s personal struggles and reminisces about his family during the war.

The emotional lyrics provide a powerful illustration of what it is like to be in the midst of warfare.

With heartfelt words, it brings attention to how war affects both those on the battlefield and people back home.

#22. “The Unknown Soldier” – by The Doors

Written by Jim Morrison, the Doors’ 1967 hit “The Unknown Soldier” pays tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives in World War II. It is a powerful reminder of both the personal toll of war and its global implications.

The song speaks to the experiences of those who suffered and died in battle, as well as those left behind unable to say goodbye for a final time.

With lyrics like “Sing a song of sorrow, fill tomorrow with joy,” the song serves as an ode to soldier’s courage and sacrifice then and now.

#23. “Love and War” – by Neil Young

Often referred to as one of Neil Young’s most iconic songs, “Love and War” was released in 1989 and is a cautionary tale of the horrors of war.

With its signature guitar licks and hauntingly beautiful vocals, this folk-rock classic dispels the myth that love can end war, while still offering a reminder to never lose hope during times of strife.

The song is an enduring reminder of a difficult moment in history, connecting its listeners emotionally with every note.

#24. “A Pair of Brown Eyes” – by The Pogues

The Pogues’ classic song “A Pair of Brown Eyes” is an ode to the soldiers and the civilians who endured wartime suffering.

Through its sorrowful lyrics and powerful melodies, it pays tribute to the pain endured by those who fought in wars or experienced their consequences firsthand.

The song highlights both the physical and emotional wounds left behind by war.

#25. “Love Vigilantes” – by New Order

Released in 1985, the track ‘Love Vigilantes’ by the English band New Order is about the life of a soldier and his experiences during war.

The melancholic lyrics recount how he misses his home and family, and alludes to how war affects people’s lives in more ways than one.

With its mix of emotionally charged imagery, powerful metaphors, and bittersweet view on the realities of modern warfare, this song serves as an acute commentary on the plight of those affected by conflict.

#26. “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” – by Country Joe McDonald & The Fish

“Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” by Country Joe McDonald & The Fish is a song about the Vietnam War that critiques its cruelty and resulting death and destruction of millions of people.

The song includes catchy, ironic lyrics and an upbeat chorus, but also serves as an important reminder of the severe consequences of brutality during armed conflict.

#27. “The Dogs of War” – by Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd’s song “The Dogs of War” is an anti-war anthem that paints a somber picture of the aftermath of warfare and its lasting impact on those involved in military conflict.

The lyrics explore themes of war, violence, and death, to create a captivating but harrowing song about the cruelty of war.

The song serves as a powerful reminder that war has far-reaching consequences beyond those affected by combat.

#28. “Eve of Destruction” – by Barry McGuire

“Eve of Destruction” is a 1965 protest anti-war song by American singer-songwriter Barry McGuire.

The lyrics were written in response to the tension and rising nuclear capabilities in the height of the Cold War era, and address a variety of contemporary issues such as racism, poverty, and the Vietnam War.

#29. “Games Without Frontiers” – by Peter Gabriel

“Games Without Frontiers” is a song written and performed by English singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel.

The lyrics of the song address war, death, and the politics of military conflict, alluding to the same themes as Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and addressing how politicians use media propaganda to manipulate public opinion of their respective causes.

Musically, the song is centered around an acoustic guitar riff that has been described as ‘heroic’ in nature.

#30. “Masters of War” – by Bob Dylan

Released in 1963, Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” is a protest song condemning those who perpetrate war and its consequences.

The song takes aim at those in power and authority who ultimately decide the fates of many through their decisions to go to war.

In this powerful tune, Dylan implores the “masters of war” to consider the human cost of such conflict before enacting it.

#31. “Gimme Shelter” – by The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” is a classic rock hit that examines the harrowing realities of warfare.

With lyricist Mick Jagger’s intense vocal delivery and Keith Richards’ creative guitar work, the song looks at the hatred and futility of war.

From references to bombs and battleships to blighted landscapes, it paints a vivid picture of conflict and its consequences.

#32. “1999” – by Prince

“1999” is a song by the iconic artist Prince. It was released in 1982 and became his biggest hit.

The song is an upbeat party anthem, singing about partying as if there’s no end in sight and enjoying one’s life despite any potential doom or destruction.

With lines like “Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999,” this anti-war song invokes the idea that living life to its fullest is the best way to protest any war, be it real or imagined.

#33. “Us And Them” – by Pink Floyd

“Us And Them” by Pink Floyd is an iconic song about the tension between two sides in conflict, commenting on how both sides struggle to understand each other.

Through its melancholic tune and muted instrumentation, the song conveys a sense of despair and helplessness that is all too familiar within war-torn nations.

The lyrics highlight the absurd tragedy of war, exploring themes such as loss of life, dehumanization, alienation, and social inequalities frequently associated with war.

Thus making “Us And Them” a true classic in anti-war songs.

#34. “Spanish Bombs” – by The Clash

The song draws inspiration from the Spanish Civil War, which was fought from 1936 to 1939 between the Second Spanish Republic and Spain’s National Movement.

The lyrics detail the band’s outrage at the suffering and destruction caused by war, and serve as a poignant reminder of its horrors.

#35. “Rooster” – by Alice In Chains

“Rooster” by Alice In Chains is an anti-war song that tells the story of a man who recounts his experiences during the Vietnam War.

The powerful lyrics and heavy guitar riffs capture the pain, suffering and confusion experienced by veterans of the war.

Exploring themes such as mortality, resilience and patriotism, “Rooster” serves as a poignant reminder of the devastating effects of war on the human spirit.

#36. “The Drums Of War” – by Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne’s “The Drums of War” is an evocative yet powerful song which speaks to the tragedy, helplessness, and strength that comes from facing a war.

The lyrics are filled with imagery and metaphors of the horrors of warfare, as well as courage in the face of darkness.

The song serves as a powerful reminder that wars are not just fought between countries, but also between people and their humanity.

#37. “When The Tigers Broke Free” – by Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd’s “When The Tigers Broke Free” is a powerful and moving song about the atrocities of war and its devastating effects on the people involved, especially the innocent civilians.

It reads like an account of personal tragedy, calling for peace and emphasizing that wars must not be fought nor accepted.

The song stands as a reminder to all of us that we have a responsibility to speak out against aggression and strive for better understanding between nations instead of resorting to violence.

#38. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” – by The Band

The Band’s song “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” tells the story of the conclusion of the Civil War through the eyes of a southern woman.

It speaks to the sadness, confusion and frustration felt by those in the south at the time as they come to terms with their defeat.

The haunting lyrics depict a day that shaped history, making it one of the most well-known songs about the American Civil War.

#39. “Bombs Away” – by The Police

“Bombs Away” by The Police is a song about the devastating effects of war.

With its powerful lyrics, driving melody and catchy chorus, this song paints a vivid picture of death and destruction that the war can bring upon innocent lives.

The Police uses the words in this memorable tune to express their disdain for war, encouraging people to think twice before rushing into it.

This classic tune puts an important spotlight on the horrors of armed conflict and serves as an important reminder that peace should be preserved whenever possible.

#40. “Bulls On Parade” – by Rage Against The Machine

It’s a powerful anthem about how war is used to blind people from seeing the truth.

Inspired by their anti-establishment views, Rage Against The Machine uses an aggressive and hard driving sound to get their message of hatred for greed, power and war across.

This song sheds light on the socio-political landscape that has been perpetuated throughout generations of mankind.

#41. “Civil War” – by Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses’ song “Civil War” is a powerful reflection of the human cost of war, dealing with themes of political anarchy and disillusionment.

The haunting guitar riff and driving beat emphasizes the often ignored individual stories of conflict, showing the pain, struggle and ultimately loss felt by both sides in the wake of war.

The song remains a poignant reminder that war carries a huge personal cost for all it touches.

#42. “Fun & Games” – by Barenaked Ladies


Here are popular question related to songs about warfare:

What are some pro war songs?

Some popular pro war songs include:

  1. “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood,
  2. “The Army Goes Rolling Along” by US Army,
  3. “Battle Hymn of the Republic” by Julia Ward Howe,
  4. “Purple Heart” by Johnny Cash,
  5. “American Soldier” by Toby Keith,
  6. “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa,
  7. “Proud to Be an American” by Lee Greenwood
  8. “Coming to America” by Neil Diamond.

What are war songs called?

War songs are typically referred to as “military songs” or “marching songs” . These types of songs are usually devoted to the experiences of war and victory or mourning losses due to battle.

Are there any pro Vietnam War songs?

Yes, there are several songs from the Vietnam War era that celebrate patriotism and support for the war.

Some of these include “Ballad of the Green Berets” by Sergeant Barry Sadler, “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Freedom’s Way” by Chuck Berry, and “America” by Neil Diamond.

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