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!
Country Joe and the Fish
Country Joe and the Fish started in Berkeley, Calif., as a part of the Free Speech Movement. The group became a fixture of the San Francisco psychedelic music scene. In 1967, they released “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag,” which was popular on college radio stations but was not an immediate hit. The song, with its biting anti-war sarcasm, gained national attention after Country Joe McDonald performed it at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, and it was included in the Woodstock album and film.
And it’s one, two, three
What are we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn
Next stop is Vietnam
And it’s five, six, seven
Open up the pearly gates.
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We’re all gonna die
|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.