Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Music of the Vietnam Era

I am teaching my "America in the Sixties" class again this semester. Not surprisingly, students are drawn to the music of the period, so I do a lot with it in the course. Over the past few times I've taught the class, I've been expanding my Vietnam-era music mix. It is up to a 5th CD at this point. We don't deal with every track in class, but I put the following expanded mix on reserve so they can listen more broadly, if they'd like. Most do.

So, here is the list of tracks. I thought I'd share, but I am also always interested to hear suggestions for new tunes to add to any category and, I suppose, arguments to elimnate aything you think does not belong. The "patriotic/pro-war music" section is the weakest, so any suggestions there are particularly welcome...

Music about soldiers’ experiences:
• The Ballad of the Green Beret, Sgt. Barry Saddler
• Vietnam Blues, Sarge Lintecum
• Saigon, Saigon (Dinky Dow Do)
• Run Through the Jungle, Creedance Clearwater Revival
• Chain Of Fools, Aretha Franklin
• Green Eyed Lady, Guess Who
• To Susan On The West Coast Waiting, Donovan
• Battle Hymn Of The River Rats, Johnny Cash
• Izabella, Jimi Hendrix
• Oh, Camil (The Winter Soldier), Graham Nash
• Shakin All Over, The Guess Who
• Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town, Kenny Rogers & the First Edition
• Waist Deep In The Big Muddy, Pete Seeger
• Soldiers of Peace, Graham Nash
• These Boots are Made for Walking, Nancy Sinatra

Anti-war/protest music:
• I Ain't Marchin' Anymore, Phil Ochs
• Blowin' In the Wind, Bob Dylan
• I Got a Letter from LBJ, Tom Paxton
• Hell No, I Ain't Gonna Go, Matt Jones and Elaine Laron
• Vietnam, Paul Kaplan
• Hole In The Ground, Thom Parrott
• The Times They Are a-Changin', Bob Dylan
• Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Pete Seeger
• Draft Dodger Rag, Phil Ochs
• Universal Soldier, Buffy St. Marie
• Two Hangmen, Mason Profit Band
• Agent Orange Song, Country Joe McDonald
• Kill for Peace, The Fugs
• Looks Like We're Fixin' to Die Rag, Country Joe & the Fish
• Universal Soldier, Donovan
• Masters of War, Bob Dylan
• Eve of Destruction, Barry McGuire
• It Better End Soon, Chicago
• Gimme Shelter, Rolling Stones
• Ohio, Neil Young
• Maggie's Farm, Bob Dylan
• Fortunate Son, Creedance Clearwater Revival
• Power to the People, John Lennon
• What Are Their Names?, David Crosby
• Hey Joe, Jimi Hendrix
• Rejoyce, Jefferson Airplane
• Machine Gun, Jimi Hendrix
• Ballad of Penny Evans, Steve Goodman
• What About Me?, Quicksilver Messenger Service
• Street Fightin' Man, Rolling Stones
• For What It's Worth, Buffalo Springfield
• Give Peace a Chance, John Lennon
• All Along the Watchtower, Jimi Hendrix
• War, Edwin Starr
• Vietnam, Jimmy Cliff
• Ball Of Confusion, The Temptations
• What's Goin' On, Marvin Gay
• Singing in Vietnam Talking Blues, Johnny Cash
• Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore John Prine
• What is Truth, Johnny Cash
• We Gotta Get Out of this Place, The Animals
• Paint It Black, Rolling Stones
• Who'll Stop The Rain, Creedence Clearwater Revival

Patriotic/Pro-war music:
• Okie from Muskogee, Merle Haggard
• Battle Hymn Of Lt. Calley, C Co (Feat. Terry Nelson
• Hello Vietnam, George Strait
• Fightin' Side of Me, Merle Haggard
• Song of the patriot, Johnny Cash & Marty Robbins

Counter-cultural/psychedelic music:
• White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane
• The Unknown Soldier, The Doors
• It Can't Happen Here, Frank Zappa
• Sky Pilot, Eric Burdon & The Animals
• Insense and Peppermints, Strawberry Alarm Clock
• Good Morning Starshine, Oliver
• Volunteers, Jefferson Airplane
• That's It For The Other One, Grateful Dead
• All You Need Is Love, The Beatles
• Break On Through, The Doors
• Cream Puff War, Grateful Dead
• Mary Jane, Janis Joplin
• Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles
• Tales Of Brave Ulysees, Cream
• Get Together, The Youngbloods
• Beautiful Jam, Grateful Dead
• Revolution 1, The Beatles
• Walking Blues, Quicksilver Messenger Service
• I Need a Man to Love, Janis Joplin
• Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix
• Tomorrow Never Knows, The Beatles
• Dear Mr. Fantasy, Traffic
• The End, The Doors
• In The Year 2525, Zager and Evans
• Morning Dew, Grateful Dead
• Star Spangled Banner, Jimi Hendrix
• Imagine, John Lennon

I also intersperse the following 60s news clips throughout my Vietnam mix. They come from a nice 2-CD set, featuring Walter Cronkite and Fred Friendly, titled, "I Can Hear It Now":
• NEWS: Tonkin Gulf Incident & Resolution (August 4, 1964)
• NEWS: Defoliate Jungle/Bombing Restraint, 1964
• NEWS: Burning of village of Cam Ne - (with Morley Safer)...
• NEWS: LBJ rap
• NEWS: Government officials voice optimism about war
• NEWS: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings
• NEWS: New Hampshire Primary: Sen. McCarthy challenges LBJ (1968)
• NEWS: Senator Robert F. Kennedy decides to run...
• NEWS: Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4, '68...
• NEWS: "I've been to the mountain top..." - (with Martin Luther King)...
• NEWS: Robert F. Kennedy Speaks Of Dr. King And Violence (1968)
• NEWS: Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy , 1968
• NEWS: 1968 Democratic National Convention...
• NEWS: Demonstrations at Columbia University...
• NEWS: Vice President Spiro Agnew castigates news media...
• NEWS: Nixon on End of War
• NEWS: Nixon policy speech, November 3, 1969
• NEWS: Reprise On Tonkin Gulf Resolution (February 6, 1970)
• NEWS: Nixon rap
• NEWS: Nixon, "We are caught in war, wanting peace..."
• NEWS: Peace demonstration/moratorium, Oct. 15, '69 & Nov. 15, '69...
• NEWS: Nixon rap


  1. You need Soldier Boy by the Shirelles, Search and Destroy by the Stooges and more as I think of them.

  2. What about 'Ringing of Revolution' by Phil Ochs?

  3. You already have two other songs by him listed, but Donovan's "The War Drags On" is pretty direct.

  4. You already have a lot of Beatles but you might add "Magical Mystery Tour" because Michael Herr mentions it in Dispatches.


  5. Excellent. Excellent. These are great suggestions. I'll take more, please... (smile) Can anyone think of any more patriotic or pro-war songs?

  6. One each from Bob Seger.

    Pro War - The Ballad of the Yellow Berets.

    Anti War - 2+2=?

  7. Johnny Cash's "Ragged Old Flag" is pretty patriotic. c. 1975

  8. Pro-War Songs

    These songs were adopted by soldiers during the Vietnam War but were used during the World Wars and Korea as well: "Give Me Operations," "Save a Fighter Pilot's Ass," and "There are No Fighter Pilots Down in Hell."

    Jim Bullington, "Yes, We Are Winning"

    That's all I could find for now.

    This site is quite good:


  9. Drug tunes: Arlo Guthrie, "Mr. Customs Man," and Rowan/Garcia, "Panama Red"

  10. I have to prepare a presentation on that topic and you really helped me a lot. Thank you.

  11. Come Home Soldier by Bobbie Venton I believe is a pro war song and Toby Kieth song American Soldier. I was raissed in Nebraska but left there in 54 for the Navy My ship helped evacuate the French and we spent weekly trips between Hiphyong (sp) and Saigon and I believe thats when the French sold us the war. I am 76 and have my list of Protest Music some of which you mention I enjoyed your web site and used it to find additional protest music.
    Hal Diebolt
    Du Quoin, Illinois

  12. Wow! Awesome list! I'll let you know if I ever link to this on Fungal Bloom - because I have a feeling the world is going to be in need of some straightforward and powerfully wise music in the near future. Nothing speaks more clearly than the past.

  13. Pro war songs - You missed Pat Boone's "Wish You Were Here Buddy" See my blog "Blindsight 100 most important American songs".

  14. I believe you could add "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton to the list on soldiers experiences.

  15. Stoned Love by The Supremes is another anti-war/peace song

  16. Here is one for the Pro war section.
    Pat Boone Wish you were here, buddy, 1966
    DOT Records Dlp-3764.

  17. What about 'I was only 19 (A walk in the light green)' by Redgum??

  18. Ooops..... sorry...Not from the 60s, but still about the Vietnam War. And a great song!

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