The Top 10 Vietnam War Songs: A Playlist for Veterans
(too old to reply)
2020-01-05 23:19:22 UTC
Well, this is just one person's opinion.
But a decent way to click and play them.

one article, that has a easy click thru--- to make playing easy:

The Top 10 Vietnam War Songs: A Playlist for Veterans
This article first appeared on the PBS site Next Avenue. The Vietnam
War, a 10-part Emmy-nominated PBS series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick,
streams to PBS station members for a limited time, through September 30,

This post was originally published on August 29, 2017, and was updated
August 5, 2019.

I first became a soldier in a war zone on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) 1970.
It’s an irony I’ve wrestled with for 45 years, due in part to the
precise timing of U. S. Army tours of duty in Vietnam, which meant that
Uncle Sam would send me back home exactly 365 days later — on Nov. 11, 1971.

Needless to say, the date is etched in my mind and will always be. It’s
personal, of course, but in a way it’s lyrical, too. I say that because
my earliest Vietnam memories aren’t about guns and bullets, but rather
about music. As my fellow “newbies” and I were being transported from
Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base to the Army’s 90th Replacement Battalion at
Long Binh, I vividly recall hearing Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
singing “Tears of a Clown”. That pop song was blasting from four or five
radios some of the guys had, and with the calliope-like rhythm and lines
like “it’s only to camouflage my sadness,” I was having a hard time
figuring out just where in the hell I was.

But I knew one thing for sure. Music was going to get me through my year
in Vietnam. Did it ever. In fact, it’s sustained me for the past 45
years, as it has countless other Vietnam veterans.

Craig Werner and I discovered the power of music from a decade of
interviews with hundreds of Vietnam vets. Our new book, We Gotta Get Out
of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War shows how music helped
soldiers/veterans connect to each other and to life back home and to
cope with the complexities of the war they had been sent to fight.

Many of the men and women we interviewed for We Gotta Get Out of This
Place had never talked about their Vietnam war experience, even with
their spouses and family members. But we found they could talk about a
song — “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’”, “My Girl”, “And When I Die”,
“Ring of Fire” and scores of others. And the talking helped heal some of
the wounds left from the war.

When we began our interviews, we planned to organize it into a set of
essays focusing on the most frequently mentioned songs, a Vietnam Vets
Top 20 if you will, harkening back to the radio countdowns that so many
of us grew up listening to.

Well, it didn’t take long for us to realize that to do justice to the
vets’ diverse, and personal, musical experiences would require something
more like a Top 200 — or 2,000! Still, we did find some common ground.
These are the 10 most mentioned songs by the Vietnam vets we
interviewed. Realizing, of course, that every soldier had their own
special song that helped bring them home.

Songs Vietnam Veterans Remember Most

10. Green Green Grass of Home by Porter Wagoner
(1965; No. 4 Country Chart)

Neil Whitehurst, a native of North Carolina who served with the 1st
Marine Air Wing at Marble Mountain, states emphatically “the No. 1 song
that takes me back to Vietnam is ‘Green, Green, Grass of Home’.” Songs
like this, those that tapped into loneliness, heartache and homesickness
hold a special place in the hearts of Vietnam vets. While some liked the
Tom Jones version better, others we interviewed felt the earlier, Porter
Wagoner version was “more real, more sad.”

9. Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin
(1967; No. 1 R&B; No. 2 Pop Chart)

Usually heard in the States as another of Aretha’s powerful statements
on racial and sexual equality, which it certainly was, “Chain of Fools”
took on special meaning in Vietnam. Marcus Miller, an infantryman in the
Mekong Delta during the war, said the song referred to the military
“chain of command.” And David Browne, who’d grown up in Memphis and
served with the 101st Airborne, recalls that when he first learned of
the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., while a soldier in Vietnam,
the only thing that stopped him from “killing the first honky I met” was
listening to Chain of Fools. “I thought, that’s my story,” and that
chain is gonna break …

8. The Letter by The Box Tops
(1967; No. 1 Billboard Hot 100)

Mail call was a sacred ritual in Vietnam and this song captured its
importance lyrically and musically. Didn’t hurt that it spoke of
“getting a ticket for an airplane” and “going home” because “my baby
just wrote me a letter.” Nothing kept guys going more than love letters
from home — and the dream of getting back to their beloved.

7. (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
(1968; No. 1 Billboard Hot 100)

Just before his tragic death in a plane crash in Madison, Wis., in late
1967, Otis Redding had completed recording “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the
Bay”, perhaps his greatest song and the first record to ever become a
posthumous No. 1 hit. Was Otis Redding thinking of Vietnam? We’ll never
know for sure, but he’d agreed to travel to Vietnam to entertain the
troops shortly before his passing. Frank Free, an information specialist
at USARV Headquarters at Long Binh in 1968-69, admits that he gravitated
to music that expressed feelings of yearning and loneliness, and that
Redding’s portrait of the lonely wanderer resting by the ocean watching
the sun go down in “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” perfectly captured
that feeling.

MORE HISTORY: See our Summer of ’69 documentaries or a Summer of 1969

6. Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR)
(1969; No. 3 Billboard)

When asked to sum up the music of the war, Peter Bukowski, who served
with the Americal Division near Chu Lai in 1968-69, responded: “Two
words. Creedence Clearwater.” “They were the one thing everybody agreed
on,” he told us. “Didn’t matter who you were — black, white, everyone.
We’d hear that music and it brought a smile to your face.” ROTC graduate
and heavy mortar platoon leader Loren Webster singled out Fortunate Son
because it “pretty well summarized my feelings about serving,
particularly since I had to serve in the Reserves with a whole lot of
rich draft dodgers after I returned.”

Watch American Experience: Woodstock (broadcast premiere August 6,
2019), as part of our Summer of ’69 programs.

5. Purple Haze by Jim Hendrix Experience
(1967; No. 65 Billboard Hot 100)

Maybe it’s because he could have been in Vietnam that Jimi Hendrix holds
so much appeal for ‘Nam vets. A member of the prestigious Screaming
Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., Hendrix
preferred guitar playing to soldiering, hence his early discharge in
1962. But even more than that, his guitar sounded like it belonged it
Vietnam, reminding GIs of helicopters and machine guns, conjuring
visions of hot landing zones and purple smoke grenades. As James “Kimo”
Williams, a supply clerk near Lai Khe in 1970-71, attests: “The first
time I heard Purple Haze, I said, ‘What is that sound and how do you do
that?’ The white guys who were into rock liked him,” Williams continues,
“and the black guys who were into soul liked him. He appealed to everyone.”

4. Detroit City by Bobby Bare
(1963; No. 6 Billboard Country and No. 16 on Billboard Hot 100)

No matter whether it’s theme or style, any song with a lyric about going
home was sure to find an in-country audience and show up on a list of
Vietnam vets’ favorite tunes. Maybe that’s why “Detroit City”, sung by
the country and western singer Bobby Bare with its lingering refrain, “I
wanna go home/I wanna go home/Oh how I wanna go home” was so popular on
jukeboxes in Southeast Asia long after its release in 1963. Big fans
included veteran C&W music lovers Jim Bodoh and Jerry Benson, who didn’t
think country music ever got enough airplay over Armed Forces Vietnam
Radio (AFVN).

3. Leaving on a Jet Plane by Peter, Paul and Mary
(1969; No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100)

When we played this song at LZ Lambeau, a welcome home event for Vietnam
vets and their families held at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., in
2010, we were overwhelmed by the response it received, especially by
spouses of Vietnam vets. They sang along with tears in their eyes,
because they were the ones saying goodbye to the men who were boarding
the planes for Vietnam. And it got to soldiers/vets, too. As Jason
Sherman, an AFVN DJ during part of his tour in Vietnam, recalled:
“Leaving on a Jet Plane brought tears to my eyes.”

2. I Feel Like I’m Fixin to Die Rag by Country Joe & The Fish
(1965, re-released 1967)

Misunderstood and misinterpreted by most Americans, Country Joe’s iconic
song became a flashpoint for disagreements about the war and its
politics. But Country Joe, himself a Navy veteran — who when we first
met him told us “I’m a veteran first and hippie second” — intended this
“not as a pacifist song, but as a soldier’s song.” “It’s military humor
that only a soldier could get away with,” he added. “It comes out of a
tradition of GI humor in which people can bitch in a way that will not
get them in trouble but keeps them from insanity.” And the soldiers got
it! As Michael Rodriguez, an infantryman with the 2nd Battalion, 1st
Marines, affirmed: “Bitter, sarcastic, angry at a government some of us
felt we didn’t understand, Rag became the battle standard for grunts in
the bush.”

1. We Gotta Get Out of This Place by The Animals
(1965; No. 13 Billboard Hot 100)

No one saw this coming. Not the writers of the song — the dynamic Brill
Building duo of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; not the group who recorded
it — The Animals and their iconic lead singer, Eric Burdon; not the 3
million soldiers who fought in Vietnam who placed extra importance on
the lyrics. But the fact is that We Gotta Get Out of This Place is
regarded by most Vietnam vets as our We Shall Overcome, says Bobbie
Keith, an Armed Forces Radio DJ in Vietnam from 1967-69. Or as Leroy
Tecube, an Apache infantryman stationed south of Chu Lai in 1968,
recalls: “When the chorus began, singing ability didn’t matter; drunk or
sober, everyone joined in as loud as he could.” No wonder it became the
title of our book!

Spotify Playlist

TAGS: Music Summer of '69 Thirteen Passport Vietnam War

DOUG BRADLEY | @dbradmsn
Doug Bradley is a Vietnam veteran from Madison, Wisconsin. Doug was
drafted into the U.S. Army in March 1970 and served as an information
specialist (journalist) at the Army Hometown News Center in Kansas City,
Missouri, and U.S. Army Republic of Vietnam (USARV) headquarters near
Saigon.​​Since his discharge from the military in 1971, Doug has worked
and advocated on behalf of veteran issues. He is the author of
Vietnam-related short stories, DEROS Vietnam: Dispatches from the
Air-Conditioned Jungle (2012) and co-wrote We Gotta Get Out of This
Place: Music, Survival, Healing, and the Soundtrack of the Vietnam War
with Dr. Craig Werner, Chair of Afro-American Studies at UW-Madison
(2015). He and Werner co-teach The Vietnam Era: Music, Media and
Mayhem"at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Doug is a regular
contributor to NextAvenue.org, the PBS website.


I thought sure the CCR song - Run Through the Jungle !!!
would make it.

I thought Sloop John B would make the list "I wanna go home ,
please let me go home I feel so broke up I wanna go home"

Or, how about Barry McGuire's Eve of Destruction!
Here is a shortcut to that one:

Or, One Tin Soldier - The Original Caste [Original]
shortcut is

Or, SSgt Barry Sadler - The Ballad Of The Green Berets, at

Colonel Edmund J. Burke
2020-01-06 02:01:02 UTC
Way too fucking long!