Saturday, January 22, 2011

And The Band...

I’ve been thinking about war protest songs and how they rarely ever seemed to come about until the war in Vietnam. Even the Pete Seeger song, Waist Deep in the Big Muddy, which was about a platoon on practice patrol in 1942 wasn’t written until 1967 and was more a statement about Vietnam at that time.

I can think of no anti-war songs from Korea or World War II. I can think of no real anti war songs for all the wars we’ve been involved with since Vietnam. There have been a few vague songs that hint of a retro feeling, but none have captured the country like the anti war songs of the 60’s. Oddly, many of the songs that came from the Country Music community seemed to edge on the pro-war sentiment during the second Gulf War

However one of the greatest anti war songs is a song written in 1971 by Scottish-born singer-songwriter Eric Bogle. The song is an account of a young Australian soldier who is maimed in a confrontation with the Turks at the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War. Where most war songs are the embodiment of anger; this song is the embodiment of sorrow.

The video for the song


Blogger Donna said...

Well, I went Googling, and by george, you're right! There are songs ABOUT other wars and conflicts, but 99% of them were written after the Vietnam conflict started.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

First time I heard this song was in a British Army Barracks dance hall just North of Belfast in 1982. Not a dry eye in the place and 100s sang along with.

Other best version of this was done by the Pogues. You can google the vid.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

here's a link to the Pogues version:

7:18 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

It seems to me that the wars of that era (WWI, WWII and even Korea) were a source of national pride, no matter whose nation you were with. We were fighting "Because we had to". And so songs were written to rouse the spirits. But when it came to Vietnam we could be shown no real reason why we should be fighting there. They kept their secrets and motives so it seemed that it was purely a political war and our men were over there dying for no reason. People stepped up and said "This war has no reason. Why are we there?"

8:49 AM  
Blogger mark said...

One of the greatest anti-war songs ever, no doubt about it. It used to be in regular rotation on KMUN's folk music shows.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your writing are the very best. I learn something everyday.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Nulaanne said...

That song always makes me cry.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the "protests" before WWII were in the form of poetry. Kipling was a big time writer of protest songs. Some of them got him in pretty hot water. Here's a link to his "Last of the Light Brigade"

6:27 PM  
Blogger Mike S said...

Vietnam was the 1st time we got terribly mired in a foolish conflict extended for the profiteers and because we were disliked by both sides with the exception of the wealthy S. Vietnamese.
Auntie, I was just listening to old Shane MacGowen last night. Didja know he finally got teeth awhile back?

9:53 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

I finally came up with a song I consider to be a great one that was written before Vietnam: "I Come and Stand At Every Door", otherwise known as "Dead Little Girl of Hiroshima".

4:59 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna, tis true.

Auntie, I agree on the version, but I went with the guy who wrote it.

Darev, WWII had songs like The White Cliffs of Dover and Don't Sit Under That Apple Tree.

Mark, I'm still refusing to listen to KMUN.

Anon, Thanks for reading and the kind words.

Nulaanne, Me too.

Anon, that was after he bent over backwards and pulled strings to get his son into the military and after his son was killed in WW I.

Mike it was a sea change of the public opinion that is with us all still today.

Donna, sad as well.

7:31 AM  

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