Vietnam Music Monday: “Vietnam”


Bob Dylan called Jimmy Cliff’s “Vietnam” the best war protest song he ever heard. (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!

Vietnam (1970)

Recorded by Jimmy Cliff

Folk music star Bob Dylan called Jimmy Cliff’s “Vietnam” the best war protest song he ever heard. Cliff — a popular Jamaican reggae singer best known for “The Harder They Come” and “Many Rivers to Cross” — based the song on the true story of his friend’s death in Vietnam and the impact his death had on his family and on society.


Now mistress Brown, she lives in the USA
And this is what she wrote and said
“Don’t be alarmed,” she told me the telegram said
“But mistress Brown your son is dead”
And it came from Vietnam, Vietnam

Purchase “Vietnam” 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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