Protest Timeline: 1987-92

Protest music surged in the late ‘80s and into the early ‘90s in response to world-changing events, including the war in Iraq, the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles and the fall of the Berlin Wall. It all reflected what punk poet Patti Smith observed in ‘88 in her first new music in nearly a decade: “The people have the power.”

February 1987
Public Enemy’s militant “Yo! Bum Rush the Show” debut marks a landmark shift in hip-hop, reflected by the group’s Black-man-in-the-crosshairs-of-a-gun logo.

Bob Gendron is the associate editorial director at The Coda Collection. He has been obsessing over music, albums and audio ever since he landed a job at an indie record store at age 13. A longtime contributor to the Chicago Tribune and former Director of Communications at Music Direct, he spent 11 years as the Music Editor at The Absolute Sound and performed the same role for eight years at TONEAudio. Gendron is the author of “Gentlemen” (Bloomsbury) and a coauthor of “Nirvana: The Complete Illustrated History” (Voyageur). His writing has also appeared in DownBeat, Rolling Stone, Revolver and other outlets.

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