Vietnam Music Monday: “Last Train to Clarksville”

Last Train to Clarksville

“Last Train to Clarksville” was the debut single by The Monkees released Aug. 16, 1966. (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!

Last Train to Clarksville (1966)

The Monkees

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

Purchase “Last Train to Clarksville” 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.

5 thoughts on “Vietnam Music Monday: “Last Train to Clarksville”

  1. I spent from 1962 to 1969 in the service I am very proud of it I fought Vietnam in 1968 it help to give the protesters the freedom to protest I will never let my country down like they did

    • You’re quite correct, while exercising their constitutional rights to protest, they did in fact shame their county.
      On the other hand, a lot of lives were lost in a war we maybe should not have engaged in.

      • hindsight is always 20-20. In retrospect, yes we should not have been engaged and we should have learned from the French. In reality we were in a cold war (and sometimes hot) with the USSR which ultimately we won. 50 years later we’re still talking about Viet nam, time to get over it and develop a long term foreign policy for the threats that exist today.

  2. Protesters wanted the war to end. You didn’t? How did they let the country down? I admire you your bravery and it’s too bad you weren’t welcomed back by a supportive group of people, but not everyone felt that way. We wanted the war to end but it wasn’t the fault of the soldiers.

  3. The Vietnam War and many other wars, like the one in Afghanistan isn’t about the Taliban or the Communists. Both of these wars were about heroin, a very, very lucrative, $5 trillion/year, business. Every war is a banker’s war and you’re not allowed to say it. You’re not allowed to criticise Israel, either. American taxpayers funding a foreign war with a country that is no threat to the USA. They needed coffins so they could smuggle in heroin and cocaine. That is the truth about Vietnam!

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