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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘We Are All Prostitutes’ By The Pop Group

The following was originally published at Ongoing History of Protest Music.

Mark Stewart made several contributions to the canon of protest music as part of the pioneering UK post-punk band The Pop Group, his solo work, and various other projects. He died on April 19, 2023, at the age of 62, and no cause of death was immediately shared.

Several musicians including the trip-hop group Massive Attack, Steve Albini, and Nick Cave paid their respects and acknowledged Stewart’s considerable influence. Cave described Stewart as a “fearsome vocalist and unbelievably exciting frontman to whom I am deeply indebted.”

Cave also specifically singled out the Pop Group’s 1979 standout single “We Are All Prostitutes,” which he said “influenced me as much as anything I have ever heard and has, I would say, the greatest opening 20 seconds of any song ever recorded.”

The single appeared on reissues of their influential 1980 sophomore album “For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder,” and it also featured the B-side “Amnesty International Report on British Army Torture of Irish Prisoners.”

“We Are All Prostitutes” declared that “capitalism is the most barbaric of all religions” and that “we are all prostitutes, everyone has their price.”

The lyrics remain relevant decades later given politics, where wealthy lobby groups hold considerable influence over policy and greed fuels the climate crisis and other societal ills.

Listen to “We Are All Prostitutes” by The Pop Group (1979):

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CJ Baker

CJ Baker

CJ Baker is a lifelong music fan and published writer. He recently started a website chronicling the historical developments of protest music: ongoinghistoryofprotestsongs.com, and can be found on Twitter @tunesofprotest