Every good fight needs some fight songs, but the climate battle doesn’t have many. People don’t sing much about car emissions, deforestation, or wasteful power consumption.

Coal, however, has been the target of songwriters for almost a hundred years, showing up repeatedly in the great American songbook alongside death, heartbreak, and poverty (I came across these songs while learning bluegrass). Turns, out, the war on coal has been raging for quite a long time!

Today, coal is losing to lower-priced natural gas and renewables, but many forces are still fighting to keep it alive. Below are some of the best songs from the war on coal. Pass these songs along if you’re in this fight – they speak to emotions and human impact, which can be even more powerful than economics.

Here’s twenty of the most impactful songs about coal and coal mining (lyrics and videos):

Coal Minin Man Lyrics.png
Miner's Prayer lyrics.png
Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 7.51.22 PM.png

And even more coal songs:

The Full “Music of Coal” Album Song List:

“Down in a Coal Mine (Excerpt)” – 1:25
The Edison Concert Band

“Mining Camp Blues” – 2:59
Trixie Smith

“Sprinkle Coal Dust on My Grave” – 2:46
Orville Jenks

“Coal Miner’s Blues” – 3:04
The Carter Family

“Hard Times in Coleman’s Mine” – 2:36
Aunt Molly Jackson

“He’s Only a Miner Killed in the Ground” – 2:35
Ted Chestnut

“Coal Black Mining Blues” – 1:13
Nimrod Workman

“‘31 Depression Blues” – 2:52
Ed Sturgill

“Prayer of a Miner’s Child” – 1:51
Dock Boggs

“That Twenty-Five Cents You Paid” – 2:25
Sarah Ogan Gunning

The L & N Don’t Stop Here Anymore” – 3:10
Jean Ritchie

Dark as a Dungeon” – 1:55
Merle Travis

“Come All You Coal Miners” – 2:21
The Reel World String Band

“My Sweetheart’s the Mule in the Mines” – 0:22
Mike Kline

“Thirty Inch Coal” – 2:36
Hobo Jack Adkins

“Black Waters” – 3:38
Jim Ringer

“Roof Boltin’ Daddy” – 2:26
Gene Carpenter

“Dream of a Miner’s Child” – 2:46
Carter Stanley

“Coal Miner’s Boogie” – 2:57
George Davis

“The Yablonski Murder” – 3:00
Hazel Dickens

“What Are We Gonna Do?” – 3:01
Dorothy Myles

“Explosion at Derby Mine” – 4:02
Charlie Maggard

“Blind Fiddler” – 3:05
Jim “Bud” Stanley

“Loadin’ Coal” – 2:29
John Hutchison

“Coal Town Saturday Night” – 3:06
Randall Hylton

“It’s Been a Long Time” – 3:15
Sonny Houston & Roger Hall

“Fountain Filled with Blood” – 3:56
Elder James Caudill & Choir

“West Virginia Mine Disaster” – 2:48
Molly Slemp

“Union Man” – 3:36
Blue Highway

“Blue Diamond Mines” – 4:26
Robin & Linda Williams

“Set Yourself Free” – :50
Billy Gene Mullins

“Redneck War” – 5:22
Ron Short

Sixteen Tons” – 2:32
Ned Beatty

“There Will Be No Black Lung in Heaven” – 2:05
Rev. Joe Freeman

“Deep Mine Blues” – 3:45
Nick Stump

“I’m a Coal Mining Man” – 2:22
Tom T. Hall

“Dirty Black Coal” – 4:27
Kenneth Davis

“Black Lung” – 3:21
AJ Roach

“Coal Dust Kisses” – 4:06
Suzanne Mumpower-Johnson

“Coal Tattoo” (Billy Edd Wheeler) – 4:06
Dale Jett

“A Strip Miner’s Life” – 3:00
Don Stanley & Middle Creek

“Daddy’s Dinner Bucket” – 3:26
Ralph Stanley II

“In Those Mines” – 3:43
Valerie Smith

“Miner’s Prayer” – 3:14
Ralph Stanley & Dwight Yoakam

“Dyin’ To Make A Livin’” – 3:47
W.V. Hill (of Foddershock)

“You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” – 6:06
Darrell Scott

“They Can’t Put It Back” – 2:31
Jack Wright

Which Side Are You On?” – 5:04
Natalie Merchant

Bonus: Coal Mining Jobs in the U.S., by Decade

us coal mining jobs.png
Source: Wikipedia