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VIETNAM ERA ANTI WAR MUSIC


Web AuthorJW Anderson
Member:  Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW)

CONTENTS

  • Preface
  • Influence Of Protest Music
  • Songs As The Anti-war message
  • Sampling Of Anti-War Songs
  • Kent State
  • Kent State Aftermath
  • Vietnam veterans
  • End Notes
  • Song Index
  • Veteran Links

    Preface

    On May 4, 1970 the evening news on all networks were carrying the story of students on the campus of Kent State University being killed by National Guardsman for exercising their constitutional right of peaceful protest. The Vietnam war had come home to middle America. As millions of Americans watched in numbed shock of what had happened on that college campus in Ohio, the mood of the nation was about to change and the college campuses were about to erupt in anger and rage. These emotions were expressed in a number of ways one of which was music.

    This page includes audio files for each of the tunes discussed in the Sampling Of Anti-War Songs section. To listen to the Real Audio files, you will need The Free RealPlayer and at least a 56 k connection. Enjoy the tunes as you browse through the page.

    [ContentsPrefaceProtest Music Anti-War messageAnti-War SongsKent StateKent State AftermathVietnam VeteransEnd NotesSong Index]



    Influence Of Protest Music

    Protest music has been with civilization, probably from when time began. I would assume that once a stringed instrument was conceptualized there had to be a troubadour somewhere singing a song with a message. During my lifetime we had the likes Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Big Bill Bronsy singing songs to encourage union organizers. During the civil rights movement, there were the likes of Harry Belafonte, the Weavers, Peter Yarrow, Josh White and Bob Dylan inspiring African Americans who wanted nothing more than to exercise their constitutional rights.

    The antiwar music of the Vietnam era took the children of the 60ís to a different level. Musicians of this generation took the guitar strumming troubadour from the coffee houses, plugged them in, and sent the music and the message into the college dorm rooms and the homes of the youth of America.

    This generation was not going to sit idly by while the government lied to the people about what was going on in Vietnam. Moreover, this was the first generation where combat veterans were returning prior to the end of the war and exposing the lies and pretzel logic that put us in Vietnam to begin with. This social climate, plus musicians who became the collective conscience of this generation through their lyrics and music became the foundation of ending a barbaric and unjust war, which the government tried to sweep under the rug by to calling it a 'conflict' or a 'police action'.

    [ContentsPrefaceProtest Music Anti-War messageAnti-War SongsKent StateKent State AftermathVietnam VeteransEnd NotesSong Index]



    Songs As The Anti-War Message

    As in many movements throughout history, music of the Vietnam era served as a rallying cry and a cause for action. However, it was not necessarily the music but the message. It was a form of communication that served as an uniting factor for a population that felt disenfranchised, much like the blacks during the civil rights movement. The message brought out emotions that made you feel angry. While the war had a numbing effect on everyone under the age of 30, the music would bring out the emotions of fear and anger that brought about the need to do something about it.

    We are political animals and are involved in political actions on a daily basis from issues such as civil rights or war to the school or the office. Political messages have been in song forever. The War Between the States was loaded with songs and messages on both sides of the mason-dixon line. During World Wars I & II, there were a number of messages in song that praised the war effort. During the Vietnam War, there were songs that glorified the war effort as well, such as 'Ballad of the Green Berets'.

    An even more fundamental point is that a political message in a song is not any different than free speech guaranteed under the US Constitution. As long as there is a cause or an event that provokes emotions, there will be songs and rhetorical speeches on both ends of any issue.

    If one would even go back to the complacent 50's, there were protests over the atomic bomb in the 'Ban The Bomb' movement. I believe that the antiwar protests and the music associated with them were because of a single issue... the Vietnam War. However, even if there were a different cause, protest music would have sprung up. There was a new generation evolving from the 'baby boom' after World War II who didn't like the inequities of the 'system' and the exclusion of certain populations within US society. This generation was tired of the rhetoric of seeing 'commies' behind every bush and the war mentality that permeated society. By getting involved in the civil rights movement and the free speech movement, it was just a matter of time before a single issue would unite the 'boomers'.

    The music then served as a catalyst that united this generation against war and in particular against the Vietnam War. Vietnam was on every young mans tongue and could be found everywhere...in the newspapers, radio, television movies, and magazines. Friends and neighbors were being drafted into the military, going to Vietnam and not returning. This hit home like a ton of bricks. Boys my age did not want to die for a cause that couldn't be defined nor did they want to be in a war...any war... that did not effect the freedom of the United States. So in essence, the music and the message was born generally because of the knowledge that war was not a solution to world problems, but specifically because of Vietnam and the thought of dying for a cause that could not be in any form, matter, or substance, be justified.

    [ContentsPrefaceProtest Music Anti-War messageAnti-War SongsKent StateKent State AftermathVietnam VeteransEnd NotesSong Index]



    A Sampling Of Anti-War Songs

    I first became smitten by the music and the message while I was stationed in the Presidio of San Francisco in the late sixties ('68 to be exact) while waiting to find out if the next levy would have my orders for Vietnam. Of course at that time I was young and naive and thought going to Vietnam was my patriotic duty.

    Looking back, it should be noted that all of us waiting for our free trip to the orient were young and quite impressionable. However, we were not stupid. Once witnessing the horrors of war, our hippie innocence was forever lost and we began questioning the US involvement in a military action that was in essence, a civil war.

    We witnessed barbaric acts, political corruption, insane military missions and of course wondering why blacks and other minorities, poor white kids, and less fortunate male youths were being drafted, while the more fortunate white males were enjoying life on college campuses or cushy jobs in the armed forces reserves. This had all the appearances of a bunch of old men sitting in Washington, D.C. and making uninformed decisions which would send young men halfway across the world to die in order to stroke their egos. Of course this was all shaded in the pretense of preserving the world for democracy.

    Once returned to the world, the music became even more meaningful and thought provoking as the war continued on. Song lyrics became an inspiration for us anti-war Vets. We were angry, distrusting and cynical about anything the government had to say about Vietnam.

    But, I digress. The music and the message did inspire and energize us, to the extent possible given the situation. Perhaps the anthem of this place and time was the Country Joe and the Fish song - 'I-Feel-Like-Iím-Fixiní-to-Die-Rag'.

    According to the author of the song, Joe McDonald: ' I wrote fixin-to-die-rag in summer of 1965 after I had been discharged from the US Navy for several years. It just popped into my head one day and I finished it in about 30 minutes. I did not have a conscious purpose in mind although I had been working on another song about the Vietnam War called Who Am I for several days so I had the war on my mind. The Who Am I song was part of a play I was writing songs for titled Change Over, written by Fred Hayden and directed by Nina Serrano. It was performed twice, once on the University of California Berkeley campus and once on the San Francisco State College campus. 1965 was the year that the Vietnam War became big news and a big protest issue with students.

    The song attempts to address the horror of going to war with a dark sarcastic form of humor called GI humor'. GI humor is a way people have of complaining about their situation so it will not get them in trouble and keep them from going insane in an insane environment: war.'

    [ContentsPrefaceProtest Music Anti-War messageAnti-War SongsKent StateKent State AftermathVietnam VeteransEnd NotesSong Index]


     

    Country Joe & The FishI-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag

    I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag
    Joe McDonald (1965)

    Well, Come On All Of You, Big Strong Men,
    Uncle Sam Needs Your Help Again.
    He's Got Himself In A Terrible Jam
    Way Down Yonder In Vietnam
    So Put Down Your Books And Pick Up A Gun,
    We're Gonna Have A Whole Lotta Fun.

    And It's One, Two, Three,
    What Are We Fighting For ?
    Don't Ask Me, I Don't Give A Damn,
    Next Stop Is Vietnam;
    And It's Five, Six, Seven,
    Open Up The Pearly Gates,
    Well There Ain't No Time To Wonder Why,
    Whoopee! We're All Gonna Die.

    Come On Wall Street, Don't Be Slow,
    Why Man, This Is War Au-Go-Go
    There's Plenty Good Money To Be Made
    By Supplying The Army With The Tools Of Its Trade,
    But Just Hope And Pray That If They Drop The Bomb,
    They Drop It On The Viet Cong.

    And It's One, Two, Three,
    What Are We Fighting For ?
    Don't Ask Me, I Don't Give A Damn,
    Next Stop Is Vietnam.
    And It's Five, Six, Seven,
    Open Up The Pearly Gates,
    Well There Ain't No Time To Wonder Why
    Whoopee! We're All Gonna Die.

    Well, Come On Generals, Let's Move Fast;
    Your Big Chance Has Come At Last.
    Now You Can Go Out And Get Those Reds
    'Cause The Only Good Commie Is The One That's Dead
    And You Know That Peace Can Only Be Won
    When We've Blown 'Em All To Kingdom Come.

    And It's One, Two, Three,
    What Are We Fighting For ?
    Don't Ask Me, I Don't Give A Damn,
    Next Stop Is Vietnam;
    And It's Five, Six, Seven,
    Open Up The Pearly Gates,
    Well There Ain't No Time To Wonder Why
    Whoopee! We're All Gonna Die.

    Come On Mothers Throughout The Land,
    Pack Your Boys Off To Vietnam.
    Come On Fathers, And Don't Hesitate
    To Send Your Sons Off Before It's Too Late.
    And You Can Be The First Ones On Your Block
    To Have Your Boy Come Home In A Box.

    And It's One, Two, Three
    What Are We Fighting For ?
    Don't Ask Me, I Don't Give A Damn,
    Next Stop Is Vietnam.
    And It's Five, Six, Seven,
    Open Up The Pearly Gates,
    Well There Ain't No Time To Wonder Why,
    Whoopee! We're All Gonna Die.


    While 'fixin'-to-die' became the satirical anthem of the anti-war movement, there were other messages being sent through the FM airwaves from the likes of the Jefferson Airplane and a little known Chicago garage band know as Mason Profitt.

    After Grace Slick joined Jefferson Airplane in 1966, the music became more daring and more political. According to Airplane biographer Jeff Tamarkin, during the recording of the After Bathing At Baxter's LP, Grace Slick was exploring intellectual lyrical pursuits.

    The song rejoyce was based on the novel Ulysses by James Joyce. Grace Slick: 'I just assumed that most people of our generation have had at least a couple years of college and I further assumed my generation would understand the black humor of the song, the idea of a mother saying how wonderful their kid was because he killed a lot of people. Kind of a disgusting war mode thing.'

     

    Jefferson Airplanerejoyce

    rejoyce
    Grace Slick (1967)

    Chemical Change Like A Laser Beam
    You've Shattered The Warning Amber Light
    Make Me Warm
    Let Me See You Moving Everything Over
    Smiling In My Room
    You Know You'll Be Inside Of My Mind Soon.

    There Are So Many Of You.
    White Shirt And Tie, White Shirt And Tie,
    White Shirt And Tie, Wedding Ring, Wedding Ring.

    Mulligan Stew For Bloom,
    The Only Jew In The Room
    Saxon's Sick On The Holy Dregs
    And Their Constant Getting Throw Up On His Leg.

    Molly's Gone To Blazes,
    Boylan's Crotch Amazes
    Any Woman Whose Husband Sleeps With His Head
    All Buried Down At The Foot Of His Bed.

    I've Got His Arm
    I've Got His Arm
    I've Had It For Weeks
    I've Got His Arm
    Steven Won't Give His Arm
    To No Gold Star Mother's Farm;
    War's Good Business So Give Your Son
    And I'd Rather Have My Country Die For Me.

    There Are So Many Of You.
    Sell Your Mother For A Hershey Bar
    Grow Up Looking Like A Car
    There Are;
    All You Want To Do Is Live,
    All You Want To Do Is Give But
    Some How It All Falls Apart!



    Mason Profitt, on the other hand, were one of the first groups to have the vision to cross over from folk to rock to country and still send a message to the youth of America. In their 1969 LP, Wanted! was the song Two Hangmen. This became an underground FM staple about the troubling direction the country was heading in the late sixties. Mason Profitt are considered in some circles to be the best band that never made it to the big time.

     

    Mason ProfittTwo Hangmen

    Two Hangmen
    Terry Talbot (1969)

    As I Rode Into Tombstone On My Horse His Name Was Mac
    I Saw What I'll Relate To You Goin' On Behind My Back
    It Seems The Folks Were Up In Arms A Man Now Had To Die
    For Believin' Things That Didn't Fit The Laws They'd Set Aside
    The Man's Name Was I'm A Freak The Best That I Could See
    He Was The Executioner A Hangman Just Like Me
    I Guess That He'd Seen Loopholes From Workin' With His Rope
    He'd Hung The Wrong Man Many Times So Now He Turned To Hope

    He'd Talk To All The People From His Scaffold In The Square
    He Told Them Of The Things He Found;
    But They Didn't Seem To Care
    He Said The Laws Were Obsolete, A Change They Should Demand
    But The People Only Walked Away, He Couldn't Understand

    The Marshall's Name Was Uncle Sam He Said He'd Right This Wrong
    He'd Make The Hangman Shut His Mouth If It Took Him All Year Long
    He Finally Arrested Freak And Then He Sent For Me
    To Hang A Fellow Hangman From A Fellow Hangman's Tree

    It Didn't Take Them Long To Try Him In Their Court Of Law
    He Was Guilty Then Of Thinking A Crime Much Worse Than All
    They Sentenced Him To Die So His Seed Of Thought Can't Spread
    And Infect The Little Children; That's What The Law Had Said

    So The Hangin' Day Came 'Round And He Walked Up To The Noose
    I Pulled The Lever But Before He Fell I Cut Him Loose
    They Called It All Conspiracy And That I Had To Die
    So To Close Our Mouths And Kill Our Minds They Hung Us Side By Side

    And Now We?re Two Hangmen Hangin' From A Tree
    That Don't Bother Me At All
    Two Hangmen Hangin' From A Tree
    That Don't Bother Me At All


    Political awareness was affecting middle of the road bands too. Chicago a.k.a. Chicago Transit Authority began delving into politics as well. In their 1st LP released in 1969, the band included chants from demonstrators outside the 1968 Democratic Convention. In the 1970 LP Chicago II Robert Lamm penned a song titled It Better End Soon about the kinds of questions the youth of America were asking and specifically about the Vietnam War.

    Robert Lamm:  'I think just being alive in those times and watching that conflict in asia unfold on television daily because lord knows we all sat around and watched a lot of television, then the culture shock of moving from chicago to california. and then the alternative press, the L.A. Free Press, was very much into the hot topic of revolution. It seemed that the generation of which i was a member and the generation which was peopling the new bands had a connection, and so it seemed natural to give voice to some of the thinking. my opinions and those of some of my contemporaries felt really real, and also it felt like it was right, it was right that a lot of bands at the time were giving voice to the idea of the average person having a certain amount of power, and power maybe enough to stand up to the policies of the government and protest the war.'

    The LP itself included a dedication of political consciousness:

    With this album we dedicate ourselves, our futures and our energies to the people of the revolution...And the revolution in all its forms.

    Robert Lamm
    Terry Kath
    Walter Parazaider
    James Pankow
    Lee Loughnane
    Daniel Seraphine
    Peter Cetera
    James William Guercio
    January, 1970

     

    ChicagoIt Better End Soon

    It Better End Soon
    Robert Lamm-Terry Kath (1969)

    Can't Stand It No More
    The People Dying
    Crying For Help For So Many Years
    But Nobody Hears
    Better End Soon My Friend
    It Better End Soon My Friend Can't Take It No More
    The People Hating
    Hurting Their Brothers
    They Don't Understand
    They Can't Understand
    Better End Soon My Friend
    It Better End Soon

    Hey, Everybody
    Won't You Just Look Around
    Can't Anybody See
    Just What's Going Down
    Can't You Take The Time
    Just To Feel
    Just To Feel What Is Real
    If You Do
    Then You'll See That We Got A Raw Deal
    They're Killing Everybody
    They're Killing Me And You
    They're Killing Everybody
    I Wish It Weren't True
    They Say We Got To Make War
    Or The Economy Will Fall
    But If We Don't Stop
    We Won't Be Around No More
    They're Ruining This World
    For You And Me
    The Big Heads Of State
    Won't Let Us Be Free
    They Made The Rules Once
    But It Didn't Work Out
    Now We Must Try Again
    Before They Kill Us Off
    No More Dying!
    No More Killing
    No More Dying
    No More Fighting
    We Don't Want To Die
    No, We Don't Want To Die
    Please Let's Change It All
    Please Let's Make It All
    Good For The Present
    And Better For The Future
    Let's Just Love One Another
    Let's Show Peace For Each Other
    We Can Make It Happen
    Let's Just Make It Happen
    We Can Change This World
    Please Let's Change This World
    Please Let's Make It Happen For Our Children
    For Our Women
    Change The World
    Please Make It Happen
    Come On
    Come On
    Please
    Come On
    It's Up To Me
    It's Up To You
    So Let's Do It Now
    Yeah
    Do It Now

    Can't Stand It No More
    The People Cheating
    Burning Each Other
    They Know It Ain't Right
    How Can It Be Right
    Better End Soon My Friend
    It Better End Soon My Friend


    Kent State

    On May 4, 1970 four students had been shot dead by the Ohio National Guard on the campus of Kent State University. The writing and recording of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song Ohio is somewhat of an urban legend.

    As the story goes David Crosby and Neil Young were hanging out when Crosby handed Young a copy of Time Magazine with the now infamous picture of the student grieving over the body of a dead protesting classmate who was shot dead by the National Guardsmen. Apparently Young sat down and wrote the song and within 24 hours, the band was recording the song.

    Acording to Neil Young's biographer, Jimmy McDonough, 'In ten lines, Young captured the fear, frustration aand anger felt by the youth across the country and set it to a lumbering D-modal death march that hammered home the dread.'

    [ContentsPrefaceProtest Music Anti-War messageAnti-War SongsKent StateKent State AftermathVietnam VeteransEnd NotesSong Index]



     

    CSNYOhio

    Ohio
    Neil Young (1970)

    Tin Soldiers And Nixon's Bombing
    We're Finally On Our Own
    This Summer I Hear The Drumming
    Four Dead In Ohio

    Gotta Get Down To It
    Soldiers Are Gunning Us Down
    Should Of Been Done Long Ago
    What If You Knew Her And
    Found Her Dead On The Ground
    How Can You Run When You Know

    La La La La La La La
    La La La La La La La
    La La La La La La La

    Tin Soldiers And Nixon's Bombing
    We're Finally On Our Own
    This Summer I Hear The Drumming
    Four Dead In Ohio

    Four Dead In Ohio
    Four Dead In Ohio
    Four Dead In Ohio
    Four Dead In Ohio


    The Kent State Aftermath

    I was ending my tour in Uncle's Army when the massacre at Kent and Jackson State happened. While in Uncle's army I had become radicalized and more anti-war, anti-military and anti-government each day, but this numbed me. Now the government was not only sending American youth to kill Asian youth but it was killing its' own children on college campuses...what's next?

    This was when the music and the message became louder and bolder.  David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released a solo LP later in 1970, If I Only Could Remember My Name, that would address issues such as drugs, love and war. In the song What Are Their Names Crosby wondered who the old men were who could send children off to war and perhaps we should pay them a visit. Backed by a who's/who of San Francisco musicians, this LP is perhaps the most creative music Crosby was ever to release as a solo venture.

    [ContentsPrefaceProtest Music Anti-War messageAnti-War SongsKent StateKent State AftermathVietnam VeteransEnd NotesSong Index]



     

    David CrosbyWhat Are Their Names

    What Are Their Names
    Neil Young-Jerry Garcia-Phil Lesh-Michael Schrieve-David Crosby (1970)


    I wonder who they are
    The men who really run this land
    And I wonder why they run it
    With such a thoughtless hand.
    Tell me what are their names,
    And on what street do they live
    I'd like to ride right over
    This afternoon and give
    Them a piece of my mind
    About peace for mankind
    Peace is not
    An awful lot
    To ask


    The aftermath of Kent State and Jackson State even had some of the hippie bands of San Francisco talking about their distrust of the government and expressing more anti-war themes. One such case was Quicksilver Messenger Service. †

    QMS member, Dino Valente penned a number of songs under different pseudonyms that expressed hippie hopefulness like Get Together that the Youngbloods turned into a hit. But in 1970 Valente penned What About Me in the QMS LP of the same name about the disgust and distrust of the Vietnam era America that still rings true in America of the Bush League elite today.

     

    Quicksilver Messenger ServiceWhat About Me

    What About Me
    Dino Valente(1970)


    You Poisoned My Sweetwater You Cut Down My Green Trees
    The Food You Fed My Children Was The Cause Of Their Disease
    My World Is Slowly Falling Down And The Air's Not Good To Breath
    And Those Of Us Who Care Enough We Have To Do Something
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me

    Your Newspapers They Just Put You On
    They never Tell You The Whole Story
    They Just Put Our Young Ideas Down
    I Was Wondering
    Could This Be The End Of Their Pride And Glory
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me

    I Work In Your Factories I Study In Your Schools
    I Fill Your Penetentiaries And Your Military Too
    And I Feel The Future Trembling As The Word Is Passed Around
    If You Stand Up For What You Do Believe Be Prepared To Be Shot Down
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me

    And I Feel Like A Stranger In The Land Where I Was Born
    And I Live Like An Outlaw And I'm Always On The Run
    And I'm Always Getting Busted And I've Got To Take A Stand
    I Believe The Revolution Must Be Mighty Close At Hand
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me

    I Smoke Marijuanna But I Can't Get Behind Your Walls
    And Most Of What I Do Believe Is Against Most Of Your Laws
    I'm A Fugituve From Injustice But I'm Going To Be Free
    Cause Your Rules And Regulations They Don't Do The Thing For Me
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me

    And I Feel Like A Stranger In The Land Where I Was Born
    And I Live Like An Outlaw And I'm Always On The Run
    And Though You May Be Stronger Now My Time Will Come Around
    You Keep Adding To My Numbers As You Shoot My People Down
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me
    Oooooh What You Gonna Do About Me


    Music and Vietnam Veterans


    In 1973, Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, brought the vision of anti-war veterans to light in the music. Nash knew that political subjects don't necessarily lend to commercial success. However, In his LP Wild Tales, Nash wrote Oh! Camil (The Winter Soldier) to tell the story of one member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). This told the story of how war and the spoils of war can change one's life. Nash has done benefits for VVAW to help raise money and it was from a benefit in Detroit in 1972 that Nash saw the story of Scott Camil. Nash, approximately 15 years later, would again address the plight of Vietnam Veterans by writing the song Soldiers Of Peace.

    [ContentsPrefaceProtest Music Anti-War messageAnti-War SongsKent StateKent State AftermathVietnam VeteransEnd NotesSong Index]



     

    Graham NashOh! Camil

    Oh! Camil (The Winter Soldier)
    Graham Nash (1973)


    Oh Camil, tell me how do you feel
    You fought for your country
    for God and for war,
    now your heart tells you that can't be real.
    So you tell me your story from beginning to end
    all the blood and the guts and the gore
    will you tell all the people
    'bout the people you killed,
    not for God, but for country and war

    Oh! Camil, tell me what did you mother say,
    when you left those people out in the fields,
    rotting along with the hay
    Did you show her your medals
    Did you show her your guns
    Did you show her the ears that you wore
    Did you show her a picture of the people you killed
    not for God, but for country and war
    br> Oh! Camil, tell me why are you in this place
    When you stood up for justice your country replied
    by throwing it back in your face.
    When you tell me your story
    are you making amends for all of the hatred you saw
    Will you tell all the people about the people that cry out for God
    not for country or war


     

    Soldiers Of PeaceSoldiers Of Peace

    Soldiers of Peace
    Graham Nash, Craig Doerge & Joe Vitale (1987)

    Soldiers of peace are not fighting a war
    Are not looking for enemies behind every door
    Are not looking for people to kill or to maim.
    Soldiers of peace are just changing the game.

    Men who were fighting for all of our lives
    Are now fighting for children, for homes and for wives,
    Fighting for the memory of all who fell before,
    But the soldiers of peace just can't kill any more.

    So come all you warriors who live for the fight,
    Come listen to somebody, somebody who might
    Have been there before you and they have the right,
    They've been dying to tell you the score.
    The old warriors don't want you to hurt any more.

    Soldiers of peace can still hear the cries
    When the people were screaming and losing their lives,
    When bodies were broken and spirits were torn
    The soldiers of peace do not want you to mourn.

    So come all you warriors who live for the fight,
    Come listen to somebody, somebody who might
    Have been there before you and they have the right,
    They've been dying to tell you the score.
    The old warriors don't want you to hurt any more.

    Soldiers of peace are not fighting a war.
    No more, no more, no more, no more.


    End Notes

    Sometimes as we get older we forget that we have locked certain memories and recollections in the deep recesses of our minds. Sometimes a person or an event will jog those memories and you think to yourself...wow...I forgot how deeply I felt about that issue. Well, this is one of those times. I was contacted, via email, by a high school student who had perused my personal web site on the internet. After reading my initial piece about rock & roll music and how it impacted the peace or antiwar movement, she wanted some more information for a history project.

    This web page, then, is my reaction to a number of questions posed to me by this high school student. What has amazed me about this endeavor was that it made me think about who I was during these trying times, and has made me recognize that while the Vietnam era was tragic, it was also a learning experience that will stay with me the rest of my life. I want to thank Allison for providing me the vehicle for me to dig deep into my recollection and uncover some old memories and archive some of those memories of the music and the message. For further information about me and Vietnam Veterans Against the War see my 'treatise' on anti-war Veterans and VVAW.

    [ContentsPrefaceProtest Music Anti-War messageAnti-War SongsKent StateKent State AftermathVietnam VeteransEnd NotesSong Index]


    Perhaps the best way to summarize the effect of the Vietnam War in song and message is through a song written by the late Steve Goodman, which I believe could be the mother of all anti-war songs. Goodman recorded this song acapella.

     

    Steve GoodmanBallad Of Penny Evans

    Ballad Of Penny Evans
    Steve Goodman (1971)

    My Name Is Penny Evans And My Age Is Twenty-One
    I'm A Widow Of The War That Was Fought In Vietnam
    I Have Two Baby Daughters And I Do The Best I Can
    They Say The War Is Over But I Think It's Just Begun

    I Remember I Was Seventeen When First I Met My Bill
    At His Father's Grand Piano We Played Old 'Heart And Soul'
    I Only Knew The Left Hand Part, He Knew The Right So Well
    He's The Only Boy I Slept With, And The Only One I Will

    First We Had A Baby Girl, We Had Two Good Years
    And Next The Warning Notice Came, We Parted Without Tears
    Then It's Nine Months From Our Last Goodbye Our Second Child Appears
    And It's Ten Months And A Telegram Confirming All Our Fears

    So Once A Month I Get A Check From Some Army Bureaucrat
    And Once A Month I Tear It Up And Mail The Damn Thing Back
    Do They Think That Makes It All Right? Do They Think I'll Fall For That
    They Can Keep Their Bloody Money, It Won't Bring My Billy Back

    I Never Cared For Politics, Speeches I Don't Understand
    Likewise I'll Take No Charity From Any Living Man
    But Tonight There's Fifty Thousand Gone In That Unhappy Land
    And Fifty Thousand 'Heart And Souls' Being Played With Just One Hand

    My Name Is Penny Evans And My Age Is Twenty-One
    I'm A Widow Of The War That Was Fought In Vietnam
    I Have Two Baby Daughters - Thank God I Have No Son
    They Say The War Is Over But I Think It's Just Begun


    Song Index


    Country Joe & The Fish - I-Feel-Like_I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag

    Jefferson Airplane - rejoyce

    Mason Profitt - Two Hangmen

    Chicago - It Better End Soon

    CSNY - Ohio

    David Crosby - What Are Their names

    Quicksilver messenger Service - What About Me

    Graham Nash - Oh! Camil

    Graham Nash - Soldiers Of Peace

    Steve Goodman - Ballad Of Penny Evans


    [ContentsPrefaceProtest Music Anti-War messageAnti-War SongsKent StateKent State AftermathVietnam VeteransEnd NotesSong Index]



    Listen to Resist War. Chris Brown and Kate Fenner wrote the song Resist War during the latter part of 2002, as the USA moved closer to embarking on a war with Iraq. For more information Click Here.
    Vietnam Veterans Against the War

    VVAW



       VVAW: A Retrospective ~ JW Anderson
       Music With A Message ~ The Learning Channel
       Battlenotes:  The Music of the Vietnam War
       Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW)
       Radical Times: The Antiwar Movement of the 1960s
       The Winter Soldier Investigation
       Dewey Canyon III ~ April, 1971
       Vietnam Generation
       Sixties Project
       Pieman's Home Page
       Broken Rifle Press
       Veterans For Peace
       Remembrance
       Vietnam Veterans Home Page
       Vietnam Veterans Oral History and Folklore Project
       Veterans For Honesty
       Vietnam Veterans Memorial
       Vietnam Resource Center

    No War With Iraq Links

       VETERANS AGAINST THE IRAQ WAR
       United For Peace & Justice
       Truth Out
       Ron Kovic: Peace movement will be largest ever
       The CHICKEN HAWK Database
       The Campaign for Peace and Democracy
       MoveOn.org


      VVAW Logo & Images
    © Vietnam Veterans Against The War, Inc.
    Used By Permission.



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    Web Author: JW Anderson
    Member:  Vietnam Veterans Against the War
    Tuesday, May 23, 2006