Vietnam Music Monday: “Okie From Muskogee”

Okie From Muskogee

Released in September 1969, Merle Haggard’s “Okie From Muskogee” quickly became a No. 1 hit on the country charts. (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!

Okie From Muskogee (1969)

Recorded by Merle Haggard

Country music star Merle Haggard wrote “Okie From Muskogee” in response to the anti-war protests he watched on television. He said he wanted to sing a song that supported the troops and reflected patriotic American values. “Okie From Muskogee” quickly became a No. 1 hit on the country charts and was considered an anthem of the “silent majority.”

 

We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do
And I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee
A place where even squares can have a ball
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse
And white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all

Purchase “Okie From Muskogee” 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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