Vietnam Music Monday: “War”


Released in 1970, “War” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it remained for 15 weeks. (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!

War (1970)

Recorded by Edwin Starr

“War” was soul singer Edwin Starr’s biggest hit on the Motown record label. The song, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, was first recorded by the Temptations, but the single was never released because Motown executives considered it too political. The song was reworked, and Starr’s version hit No. 1 and became an iconic anti-war song.


War, huh
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it again
War, huh
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing

Purchase “War” 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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