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Martin Luther King Jr. Day: 7 Songs Honoring The Icon

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most important figures in American history, and although we honor him with a national holiday in January, his lessons resonate 365 days a year. Naturally, a towering cultural figure such as MLK Jr. has influenced scores of important pieces of art, including songs by some of the biggest artists in the world. Check out 7 songs inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., as we celebrate him today and every day.

1 / 7

Public Enemy, "By The Time I Get To Arizona"

Amazingly, some U.S. state officials disagreed with instating a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Naturally (and rightfully), Chuck D and crew had some words for the folks in Arizona, among the resistant states.

2 / 7

U2, "Pride (In The Name of Love)"

"Early morning, April 4 / Shot rings out in the Memphis sky / Free at last, they took your life / They could not take your pride." Powerful words in honor of a legend.

3 / 7

Stevie Wonder, "Happy Birthday"

In 1981, Wonder reflected on why a man as monumental as MLK would not have his own national holiday. It was a fair question, and fortunately the music icon's question was answered.

4 / 7

The Beatles, "Blackbird"

Paul McCartney has stated that the White Album standout touches on the race relation issues that were ongoing in the late 1960s.

5 / 7

Ben Harper, "Like A King"

"Well Martin's dream has become Rodney's worst nightmare," Harper begins on the 1994 track, paralleling two famous Kings--MLK and Rodney--at another time of civil unrest.

6 / 7

Patty Griffin, "Up To The Mountain"

With a title that references Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech in 1968, the song finds Griffin yearning to see "the peaceful valley" in her lifetime.

7 / 7

Common & John Legend, "Glory"

The only Oscar win for Selma came in the best original song category, as Common and John Legend teamed up for a stirring anthem honoring MLK.

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Photo of the day

HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 30: NSYNC is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 30, 2018 in Hollywood, Californ

Apr 30: *NSYNC 4EVER

It’s been a while since the guys of *NSYNC reunited. Since their epic onstage reunion at the 2013 MTV VMAs and JC’s 40th birthday, the guys have been doing their own thing, until today! Justin, JC, Joey, Lance and Chris got together to celebrate their new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and as if the day couldn’t get any better, JC reminds us that tomorrow it’s gonna be MAY.