Vietnam Music Monday: “Bring the Boys Home”

Bring the Boys Home

“Bring the Boys Home” was not included in the first 50,000 copies of Freda Payne’s 1971 album Contact. It was added as the third track on side one after the song became a hit. (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!

Bring the Boys Home (1971)

Recorded by Freda Payne

Soul singer Freda Payne was best known for her million-selling 1970 hit, “Band of Gold.” “Bring the Boys Home” was an anti-war song that described the pain of losing a loved one to war and implored the U.S. government to bring the troops home alive. The song went gold but was banned by the Armed Forces Vietnam Network, which feared it would “aid and comfort” the enemy.


Fathers are pleading, lovers are all alone
Mothers are praying — send our sons back home
You marched them away — yes, you did now — on ships and planes
To a senseless war, facing death in vain
Bring the boys home (bring ’em back alive)

Purchase “Bring the Boys Home” 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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