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!
The Monkees were a pop group created for a comedy show of the same name on NBC. “Last Train to Clarksville” was the group’s debut single and first No. 1 hit. The song was about a soldier who asks his girlfriend to meet him at the train station to say goodbye before he leaves for Vietnam. Songwriter Bobby Hart said the anti-war message had to be subtle, because the Monkees couldn’t be associated with a protest song.
’Cause I’m leavin’ in the morning,
And I must see you again
We’ll have one more night together
Till the morning brings my train
And I must go
Oh, no, no, no
Oh, no, no, no
And I don’t know if I’m ever coming home
|Listen to our “Reporting Vietnam” Playlist on Spotify|
“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.
|“Reporting Vietnam” Now Open|
Contributing support for the “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit is provided by CBS Corporation, in memory of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon.