Vietnam Music Monday: “The Unknown Soldier”

The Unknown Soldier

Originally released as a single, “The Unknown Soldier” also appeared on the No. 1 album “Waiting for the Sun.” (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!

The Unknown Soldier (1968)

The Doors

The Doors were a psychedelic rock band with a string of hits and platinum albums. Lead singer Jim Morrison wrote “The Unknown Soldier” to protest the Vietnam War. Originally released as a single, the song also appeared on the No. 1 album “Waiting for the Sun.” The Doors made an experimental film for the song that showed Morrison being shot by a mock firing squad followed by a montage of news footage from Vietnam.


Breakfast where the news is read
Television children fed
Unborn living, living, dead
Bullet strikes the helmet’s head
And it’s all over
For the unknown soldier

Purchase “The Unknown Soldier” 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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