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!
Recorded by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” originally recorded in 1967 by John Darrell, revealed the anguish of injured veterans returning home from Vietnam. The psychological effects of the war on returning soldiers were little understood at the time, and many vets received little or no care as they resumed civilian life. The country group Kenny Rogers and the First Edition released the song in 1969 and sold more than a million copies.
It’s hard to love a man whose legs are bent and paralyzed
And the wants and the needs of a woman your age, Ruby, I realize
But it won’t be long, I’ve heard them say, until I’m not around
Don’t take your love to town
|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.