Don’t let Earth Day pass without a little music to mark the occasion. Remarkably, you can find music in many different genres that mention the air and the general environment.
This is a great opportunity to remind yourself of the day’s importance while also expanding your taste in music. So, take a deep breath and enjoy six great songs about the air.
1. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Who says a plea for better environmental guardianship can’t be wrapped in a sophisticated groove? Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me was an early climate warning that people didn’t mind hearing.
Gaye released the song in 1971 when environmental activism was getting widespread mention in major media outlets. People were wondering, along with Gaye, “Where did the blue skies go? Poison is the wind that blows from the North and South and East.”
2. What A Wonderful World
Louis Armstrong is the musician most responsible for modernizing jazz music and pop singing. But by 1967, his age made him an unlikely candidate to release what would become a new classic.
Meanwhile, the Vietnam War was raging, and there were riots in the streets. Plus, the nation was still reeling from the political turmoil following a presidential assassination four years earlier.
The lyrics remind us that despite a bleak situation, nature always provides something to celebrate. “I see skies of blue and clouds of white. The bright, blessed days, the dark, sacred nights. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”
Tom Lehrer was only a part-time recording artist. He paid the bills as a full-time math professor. He used his scholarly background to craft several brainy but funny hit songs. One example is that song about the periodic table that helped you pass chemistry.
In “Pollution,” he turns his attention to the environment, taking the visitor on a sobering tour of the U.S. “Pollution! Pollution! Wear a gas mask and a veil. Then you can breathe. ‘Long as you don’t inhale!”
4. Pass it on Down
Alabama showed that country music artists are also concerned about the direction the environment is headed. In “Pass it on Down” they urge us to protect the Earth for the next generation.
“Well, there’s a change taking place way on the mountains. Acid rain is falling on the leaves. And down in Brazil, the fires are burning still. How ‘we gonna breathe without them trees?”
5. Mother Nature’s Son
This song appears on the legendary White Album. And like much of the Beatles catalog, “Mother Nature’s Son” has been covered by a variety of artists over the years.
This simple, short melody does what all good songs do. It takes you to another world. Close your eyes and join McCartney as he sings, “Find me in my field of grass, Mother Nature’s son. Swaying daisies, sing a lazy song beneath the sun.”
6. Feels Like Summer
An environmental rap song? Yes. Childish Gambino feels what so many are feeling – the air getting hotter.
At first, the title, “Feels Like Summer,” might seem like an ode to the carefree days of youth. But the Grammy winner has crafted a warning marked by rising temperatures.