Renewed Relevancy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Speeches & The Music They Inspired

Posted by Billyjam, January 16, 2017 02:11pm | Post a Comment
Martin Luther King Jr.
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." - MLK

These two above famous American history quotes, each from the same speech from 54 years ago, take on a renewed relevancy in January 2017 on this Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in the current uncertain political climate. No doubt the 1963 March On Washington, at which MLK gave his famous speech to a sea of peaceful protesters, will be in the minds of those participating in this weeks Women's March on Washington.

Taking place on Saturday January 21st 2017, the post inauguration day protest organizers announced that, due to the swelling number of confirmed participants, that they are now expecting 200,000 people at this weekend's march which is the same number that marched back in 1963 when MLK spoke. Similarly with the 1963 March on Washington, which King stressed was about equality for all, the message of the Women's March is about rights for all with the motto is "The RIse of the Woman = The Rise of the Nation."

At Amoeba's three stores you'll find various collections of speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. And / or visit the online store's Martin Luther King Jr. section where you'll find such collections as In Search Of Freedom (9 track CD includes "I Have A Dream" and "Police Brutality Will Backfire"), the Wisdom of Martin Luther King Jr.  2 CD set, and The Martin Luther King Jr Tapes that is another collection that includes the historic "I Have A Dream" speech from August 28th, 1963. Also found at Amoeba are artists who either dedicated music to the legacy of MLK or artists who sampled his speeches in their music. Besides the content of his speeches, as a great orator who spoke in perfect rhythm, makes for a perfect speechmaker to sample over beats.

Mostly hip-hop, those who've sampled MLK include  Common's "I Have A Dream (feat. Will I Am)" from the Freedom Writers movie soundtrack,  Flocabulary's "Let Freedom Ring (featuring Trajik)," house legend Larry Heard as Mr Fingers' track "Can You Feel It (Martin Luther King remix)," and Public Enemy's sample of MLK on "Night of the Living Baseheads" off their 1988 Def Jam debut album It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back.

Songs about or dedicated to MLK include Nina Simone's "Why? (The King of Love is Dead)," UB40 and their 1980 song "King," Ben Harper and his 1994 recording "Like A King,"  U2's 1984 single "Pride (In The Name Of Love)," and Stevie Wonder's influential hit "Happy Birthday." The 1981 single was instrumental in making MLK's birthday an official federal holiday. Some of these videos appear below along with Martin Luther King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech from August 28th, 1963

Stevie Wonder "Happy Birthday (live)"

Nina Simone "Why? (The King of Love Is Dead)"

U2 "Pride (In The Name Of Love)"

Common "I Have A Dream (feat. Will"


Relevant Tags

Stevie Wonder (16), Mlk (3), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1), U2 (14), Common (19), Women's March On Washington (1), Nina Simone (20), Public Enemy (44)