Vietnam Music Monday: “Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation”

Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation

“Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation” was released on Tom Paxton’s 1965 album, Ain’t That News! (Newseum collection)

Music played an important cultural role during the Vietnam War, representing the rebellious views of a young generation and the traditional values of an older, so-called “silent majority.” The Newseum selected 40 songs released between 1963 and 1973 that typified the music of the Vietnam era. The songs captured the emotions of people for and against the war and reflected the mood of an increasingly diverse country amid dramatic social and political change.

The 40 songs, part of the Newseum’s “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit, are a fraction of the hundreds of recordings that dealt with the war and civil disobedience. Each week, one song from the playlist will be featured. We encourage you to add your favorite songs of the era to the comment section!

Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation (1965)

Tom Paxton

Although the song never became a hit, “Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation” was one of the first songs to accuse the president of the United States of lying about the Vietnam War. The line “to help save Vietnam from the Vietnamese” captured the disconnect between what Johnson said about America’s involvement in the war and the ideals of American democracy.


Lyndon Johnson told the nation
Have no fear of escalation
I am trying everyone to please
Though it isn’t really war
We’re sending 50,000 more
To help save Vietnam from the Vietnamese

Purchase “Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation” on Amazon or iTunes.

“Reporting Vietnam,” a new exhibit that marks the 50th anniversary of the start of America’s first televised war, explores the dramatic stories of how journalists brought news about the war to a divided nation.

CBS News

Contributing support for the “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit is provided by CBS Corporation, in memory of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon.

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