Vietnam Music Monday: “For What It’s Worth”

For What It’s Worth

“For What It’s Worth” was first released as a single in January 1967. (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!

For What It’s Worth (1967)

Buffalo Springfield

Buffalo Springfield featured a lineup of talented musicians, including Stephen Stills and Neil Young. Stills wrote “For What It’s Worth” after witnessing street protests. The song captured the clash between the younger generation seeking change and the force of authority seeking law and order.


There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speakin’ their minds
Gettin’ so much resistance from behind
It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s goin’ down

Purchase “For What It’s Worth” 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.

3 thoughts on “Vietnam Music Monday: “For What It’s Worth”

  1. 24 hours later and you still have Stephen Stills name spelled wrong on your website. It’s Stephen, not Steven.

  2. They (musicians during the Vietnam War) were so passionate young people were so mentally engaged the political process that affected so many lives. Thank you for this site. They’ll never be another time like that. Only people who live through that know what I’m talking about the energy.

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