Vietnam Music Monday: “Eve of Destruction”

Eve of Destruction

“Eve of Destruction” was released on Barry McGuire’s 1965 album, Eve of Destruction. (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!

Eve of Destruction (1965)

Barry McGuire

Written by P.F. Sloan, “Eve of Destruction” captured the mood of rebellious young Americans who feared the war’s impact on their generation. The song quickly became a No. 1 hit but was criticized by conservatives as an example of everything that was wrong with the counterculture.

 

The Eastern world it is explodin’
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’
You don’t believe in war, what’s that gun you’re totin’?
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

Purchase “Eve of Destruction” 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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