Popular Song on the Picket Lines: Labor Day Special

Airs Monday, September 7, at 10 p.m. "Popular Song On the Picket Lines" features "social significance" music from the 30s and 40s that had a political message behind it in one way or another, or alluded in humorous or poignant ways to issues and problems of the times.

Many artists in those years were involved with politics and ideological organizations or movements, often referred to as the Popular Front--much of this activity spurred on by the challenges that the Great Depression had brought to America.  Some of the country's most popular songwriters and performers composed and recorded social-significance songs, including Irving Berlin, Yip Harburg, Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Cab Calloway.  In addition to music from Popular Front musicals such as The Cradle Will Rock, Meet the People, and Pins and Needles, we'll also hear Billie Holiday performing a live version of the anti-lynching anthem "Strange Fruit," and an even earlier anti-lynching song written by Irving Berlin and sung by Ethel Waters.