Number one with a bullet?

Even before the first bomb fell in the United States’ war in Iraq, musicians had taken up positions on both sides of the issue. Now they are verbally firing at each other from across this musical Maginot Line.

The anti-war movement has already heard from a range of artists — Madonna, John Mellencamp and the Beastie Boys among them — who have made statements both in the recording studio and in action. Peacekeeper, the new Fleetwood Mac single, has been appropriated as an anti-war song and this week has broken through to the Billboard Hot 100. Even Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, has entered the fray by recording Angel of War, his first pop song since 1978.

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