Vietnam War Songs.
June 29, 2008 7:01 PM   Subscribe

What are some of the best/most relevant songs about the Vietnam War or capture the sentiments of that era?

I know some pretty good music came out of that generation, and I would like to find some good examples of songs that defined the whole Vietnam War generation.

posted by clearly to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: For What It's Worth
Paint It Black

posted by troybob at 7:07 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Fortunate Son
posted by LoriFLA at 7:09 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Not sure if this is exactly what you are looking for, but there is a great song Johny Cash did, not that long ago, that I find almost haunting. It's called "Drive On" and is a really great song on a great CD
posted by Mr_Chips at 7:13 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: "Alice's Restaurant"
posted by Jabberwocky at 7:14 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Country Joe and the Fish, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag", which was performed at Woodstock.

and it’s 1, 2, 3, what’re we fighting for?
don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn
next stop is vietnam
and it’s 5, 6, 7, open up the pearly gates
well there ain’t no time to wonder why
whoopee! we’re all gonna die

posted by a young man in spats at 7:15 PM on June 29, 2008

Time has come today.

posted by stubby phillips at 7:28 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: I was born in 1970, so take these with a grain of salt.

Although not explicitly so, I always thought "All Along the Watchtower" had a whole lot to do with the Vietnam conflict. (Originally by Bob Dylan in 1964, but I'm thinking of Jimi Hendrix's version, 1968.)

"War Pigs" by Black Sabbath, 1971, is about War in general but very relevant to Vietnam.
posted by Cranialtorque at 7:30 PM on June 29, 2008

Tin Soldiers -- Neil Young
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:33 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Eve of Destruction
posted by hortense at 7:35 PM on June 29, 2008

"Where have all the flowers gone?"
posted by Orinda at 7:36 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: "Waist Deep In The Big Muddy."
posted by zoinks at 7:46 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Phil Ochs, White Boots Marching in a Yellow Land

Blow them from the forest and burn them from your sight
Tie their hands behind their back and question through the night
But when the firing squad is ready they'll be spitting where they stand
At the white boots marching in a yellow land

Red blow the bugles of the dawn
The morning has arrived you must be gone
And the lost patrol chase their chartered souls
Like old whores following tired armies
posted by Meatbomb at 7:52 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: "War."
posted by zoinks at 7:52 PM on June 29, 2008

Or just do this, really.
posted by zoinks at 7:57 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Scott McKenzie - San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)
posted by box at 8:02 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler - Ballad of the Green Berets
posted by box at 8:03 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Born in the USA by Springsteen
posted by excitementMD at 8:09 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: And, I almost forgot, "To Susan on the West Coast Waiting" by Donovan is incredible.
posted by excitementMD at 8:10 PM on June 29, 2008

Response by poster:
I would just do the google search, but I would rather have suggestions from people as to which songs they personally associate with the Vietnam War.

These have been some great selections, keep them coming.
posted by clearly at 8:11 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Khe Sanh by Cold Chisel.

I left my heart to the sappers round Khe Sanh
And my soul was sold with my cigarettes to the blackmarket man
I've had the Vietnam cold turkey
From the ocean to the Silver City
And it's only other vets could understand

About the long forgotten dockside guarantees
How there were no V-dayheroes in 1973
How we sailed into Sydney Harbour
Saw an old friend but couldn't kiss her
She was lined, and I was home to the lucky land

posted by jozzas at 8:25 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Ohio by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Not exactly about the war, but definitely captures the era's feelings.
posted by papayaninja at 8:30 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan.
posted by zxcvz at 8:40 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: "Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore" by John Prine
posted by scottymac at 8:47 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Meatbomb mentioned Phil Ochs above; he wrote a number of excellent protest songs about Vietnam:

I Ain't Marching Anymore
One More Parade
I Kill Therefore I Am
posted by pombe at 9:00 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Redgums "I was only 19" which was recently reprised by Aussie hip hop group "The Herd"
posted by Admira at 9:02 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I found this audio archive of AFVN shows. This 1hr show (mp3) from Pleiku might be educational. I believe this is from July, 1970.
posted by yort at 9:20 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Brothers Under the Bridge, another by Bruce Springsteen.
posted by backwards guitar at 9:31 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Billy Joel's "Goodnight Saigon"
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:21 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: Lots of iconic stuff already mentioned, but here are some others that got airplay then and specifically evoke the war for me:

We've Got to Get Out of This Place - the Animals
Question - The Moody Blues
Turn! Turn! Turn! - The Byrds
Give Peace a Chance - John Lennon
Peace Train - Cat Stevens
If I Had a Hammer
Blowin' In the Wind - Bob Dylan
posted by gudrun at 10:39 PM on June 29, 2008

Best answer: two views on the uprising:

ccr: effigy

paul simon: peace like a river
posted by klanawa at 12:28 AM on June 30, 2008

Bob Dylan, Masters of War

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud
posted by miss tea at 3:53 AM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

CCR - Bad Moon Rising
posted by steinwald at 4:36 AM on June 30, 2008

Jimmy Cliff - Vietnam
posted by Abiezer at 4:50 AM on June 30, 2008

Phil Ochs - I Ain't Marching Anymore

The Animals - Sky Pilot

Donovan - Universal Soldier

Look for the CD called "Vietnam: Songs from the Divided House" a compilation of songs from the pro and anti-war factions and released in conjunction with the History Channel show of (I believe) the same name.
posted by 543DoublePlay at 6:15 AM on June 30, 2008

The Flesh Failures / Let the Sun Shine In (or really, the whole Hair soundtrack).
posted by Pax at 7:14 AM on June 30, 2008

Rocket City.
posted by WCityMike at 10:56 AM on June 30, 2008

From the modern era, but an appropriate song nonetheless:

Big Time in The Jungle by Old Crow Medicine Show
posted by BirdD0g at 12:14 PM on June 30, 2008

Best answer: The music of the time helped create the zeitgeist. The zeitgeist helped create the iconic film of the time, "Apocalypse Now." And the key piece of music in that film, which was a metaphor for misplaced American military power, was "Flight of the Valkyries."
posted by CollectiveMind at 12:29 PM on June 30, 2008

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