Cause Song of the Month:

The second single from Marvin Gaye's landmark What's Going On album, "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)," is one of the greatest, most poignant environmental anthems ever recorded. The song hit No. 4 on the Billboard Pop Chart and No. 1 on the R&B Chart. More importantly, it shared an important message. In three minutes and 14 seconds, Gaye confronted air pollution, poisoned seas, radiation leaks and over-population in a way that's just as true — if not more so — some 45 years later. Buy it here. —Aaron Brophy

Damian Kulash Jr., frontman for America’s OK go, has written a solemn acoustic song for those who died and were affected by the terrorist attacks at Paris rock venue Bataclan. “I wrote a prayer for peace,” he posted. “with the bombings in Beirut, the attacks in Paris and Mali, […] threats in Brussels, the bombing of the Russian airline, the going atrocities in Syria, and so much other violence and war around the world, I hope peace can find a way.” The song was included in Al Gore’s climate change TV special presentation, The 24 Hours of Reality and Live Earth. Listen to the song here. — Karen Bliss

“Fight Song” has been Jeremiah Succar’s anthem since May. The 7-year-old has stage-four atypical rhabdoid teratoid, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that occurs in the brain and spinal cord. He learned all the lyrics and even got to sing them with the songwriter herself, Rachel Platten, on his hospital bed at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  “This is my fight song / Take back my life song / Prove I’m alright song / My power’s turned on / Starting right now I’ll be strong.” If you need some melodic punch to help you make it through something, this could be your fight song too. Buy it here. — Karen Bliss

Line by line, Blue Rodeo skewers the present Canadian government in what they are calling a “modern day protest song.” In “Stealin’ All My Dreams,” co-vocalist Greg Keelor calls out Prime Minister Harper for his position on everything from the oil pipeline to national security.  The accompanying video and web page actually lists a staggering number of “stealin’ all my dreams facts” corroborated with links to news stories.  “Blue Rodeo does not always speak with one voice,” says co-vocalist Jim Cuddy. “However, we feel collectively that the current administration in Canada has taken us down the wrong path.” Download the song for free here.  And vote on Oct. 19 — Karen Bliss

Chilliwack frontman Bill Henderson, whose hits include “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” and “I Believe,” has recorded a patriotic song, produced by Bob Rock, inspired by the documentary film Coastal Tarsands: Journey to Deleted Islands. The earnest “Take Back This Land” begins “We’re gonna take back this country; we’re gonna take back this land” and includes a snippet of Canada’s national anthem. The 70-year-old Vancouver native is hoping it will encourage Canadians to vote in the federal election Oct. 19.  The song isn’t on iTunes, but you can watch a video for an acoustic version shot outdoors on Salt Spring Island and a studio version here.  — Karen Bliss

The 2015 Academy Award and Golden Globe winner for best original song, “Glory,” is the theme for the 2014 film Selma, about the Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches in 1965 to do away with the discriminatory criteria placed on black citizens to deny them the right to vote.  The gospel-tinged song, sung by John Legend with rapper Common, references then (Rosa Parks) and now (Ferguson). Among the powerful lyrics: “Now the war is not over / Victory isn't won / And we'll fight on to the finish /Then when it's all done.” Common also appears in the film civil rights leader James Bevel.  Buy the song here. — Karen Bliss

Recently reimagined by Buffy Sainte-Marie about Native rights, this anti-apartheid song by British reggae-pop band UB40 came out in 1986, eight years before the end of nearly five decades of racial segregation in South Africa. Found on the album Rat in the Kitchen and some greatest hits packages, "Sing Our Own Song" features the lines “We will fight for the right to be free / And we will build our own society” and “Forward Africa run our day of freedom has come / For me and for you Amandla Awethu.”  Those Zulu words meaning “power” “is ours” were the African National Congress’s rallying cry. Buy the song here. — Karen Bliss

Hands up/Don’t shoot/I can’t breath,” Cold Specks, a.k.a. Al Spx (born Ladan Hussein), sings on this powerful a cappella gospel/blues song “We Are Many (Revisited),” inspired by her own experience with racism and the killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY. The track, which isn’t found on her critically acclaimed 2014 album, Neuroplasticity, is offered alongside another b-side to her new single, “Living Signs,” or sold separately. “I was in America when the Ferguson grand jury decision was announced,” the Somali-Canadian singer-songwriter tells Samaritanmag. “I was there again when it was announced the police officer who placed Eric Garner into a fatal chokehold would not be indicted. Many people, and certainly every black person in America felt something that day. For me, it was an overwhelming sense of sadness.” Buy the song here. — Karen Bliss

Nothing More frontman Jonny Hawkins wrote “Jenny” about his sister’s complicated and self-destructive struggle with bipolar disorder and his mother’s final year. Now the Texas-based rock band is using the song to expand the discussion about mental illness.  Of the 1 in 5 people who have a mental illness, only 41 percent will seek help, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Lyrics include “You’re beginning to drag the ones you love down / Will this phase ever end? / A thousand arms to hold you /But you won’t reach for any hands.” Buy the new single here and watch Hawkins talk openly about his family history in this videoKaren Bliss

In honour of International Women’s Day, Samaritanmag’s cause song of the month is “Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be? (Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be?)” about women’s suffrage — the right to vote on the same terms as men. Written by L. May Wheeler circa 1884, the chorus is  “Oh dear, what can the matter be / Women are wanting to vote.”  One of the verses begins “Women have husbands, they are protectedWomen have fathers, they're not neglected/Why are they wanting to vote?” The last verse outlines the reasons. The song is available on the compilation Songs of the Suffragettes, sung by Elizabeth Knight in 1954, and released by the Smithsonian/Folkways Recordings in 2004. Buy It here. — Karen Bliss