Musical InďŹ‚uence during the Vietnam War By: Olivia Oberliesen, Cala Hobart, Christian Franz MUH 1370
Table of Contents ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
Slide 3-The Vietnam War Background Slide 4-To Fight or not to Fight, Anti-War Slide 5-Uniting Americans Slide 6-Bob Dylan Slide 7-Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young Slide 8-The Beatles Slide 9-Creedence Clearwater Revival Slide 10-The Rolling Stones Slide 11-Simon and Garfunkel Slide 12-Lasting Impact
Background about Vietnam War ●
The Vietnam War, (1954–75), was a protracted conﬂict that pitted the communist government of North Vietnam and its allies in South Vietnam, known as the Viet Cong, against the government of South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States The war was the biggest “defeat” the United States Army has ever faced Nearly 58,226 American soldiers were killed or missing-in-action
Anti-War Protests ●
Many Americans didn’t understand what we were fighting for in this war. ○ Unsure about the decision to go into Southeast Asia, especially as the body count rose. “We say — damn the guns, let ’em rot, let ’em corrode! Pile ’em in a junk heap to commemorate all the soldiers who have died in that unjust war!” ○ Quote from the San Francisco Chronicle from a protest in October 1969, where thousands of mainly young people protested the U.S involvement in the war.
Uniting Americans Songs were able to express feelings of anger and confusion with lyrics that could be abstract – like Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” – or explicit, such as Phil Ochs’s “I Ain’t Marching Anymore.” Because Vietnam-era musicians seemed to be the only people talking about America’s failure to live up to its democratic principles, many young people viewed them as “their own.” Protest music took several forms. There was The Beatles’ more tepid “Revolution” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s everyman anthem “Fortunate Son.” Groups like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane highlighted the hypocrisy of American values, shunned commercialism and supported anti-imperial movements across the globe. People chanted lyrics while marching, listened during gatherings like the “Be-In” in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park or simply absorbed the meaning and messages of these songs on their own.
Bob Dylan Bob Dylan was without a doubt, the forefront to 60’s era music. ● ● ● ●
Almost Every song written by him had some political charge to it. A charge that inspired lyricism all across the board. Bob Dylan wrote about the depth of the water, and it’s contents. Rather than the way it’s shaped. Every song was progressive in some way… Dylan wrote direct morals of racially charged injustices, and dedicated eulogies to the death and destruction suffered in the vietnam war. ○ “Blowin’ in the Wind.” 1962 ○ “A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall” 1963 ○ “Hurricane.” 1976
Bob Dylan not only defined modern day protest songs. He inspired millions to define themselves.
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young-”Ohio” “Ohio” is a protest song and counterculture anthem that was written in response to the Kent State Shootings, where four students were killed during a protest on the bombing of neutral Cambodia. [Verse] Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin' We're finally on our own This summer I hear the drummin' Four dead in Ohio [Chorus] Gotta get down to it Soldiers are gunning us down Should have been done long ago What if you knew her and Found her dead on the ground? How can you run when you know?
The Beatles The Beatles were very open about their anti-war stance, the recorded the song â€œrevolutionâ€? which expressed sympathy with the need for change but doubt in regard to some of the tactics. Say you got a real solution Well, you know We'd all love to see the plan You ask me for a contribution Well, you know We're doing what we can You want money for people with minds that hate I have to tell you, brother, you have to wait
Creedence Clearwater Revival ●
“Fortunate Son” is one of the most well known songs written during the Vietnam War. It soon became an anti-war movement anthem, an expressive symbol of the counterculture's opposition to U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War and solidarity with the soldiers fighting it. The song speaks more to the unfairness of class than war itself, stating that “It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator's son!” claiming that many rich people got out of the war while the rest were left to fight it. December 20, 1969 the song reached #3 on the United States Billboards Rolling Stones put “Fortunate Son” as #99 on its “Top 500 Greatest Songs of all Time”
The Rolling Stones ●
“Gimme Shelter” was written by The Rolling Stones directly about the war in 1969. ○ It was a time of war and tension, so that's reflected in this song. ○ It is a very moody piece ultimately about the world closing in on you. War, children, it's just a shot away It's just a shot away War, children, it's just a shot away It's just a shot away
Rape, murder yeah! It's just a shot away It's just a shot away
Simon and Garfunkel-”Sound of Silence” ●
The popular song “Sound of Silence” actually was not written about the Vietnam War but was in response to the assassination of president John F. Kennedy. By the time the song became popular, the war was on and many people felt it made a powerful statement as an anti-war song. The song very accurately depicted the turmoil that had spread across the country Simon's actual theme is man's inability to communicate with his fellow man. The lyrics, which are full of light and dark imagery, speak of "People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening," illustrating people's tendency to be apathetic towards each other. Communication is often only on a very superficial level, symbolized by the "neon god." In this world, no one dares to reach out to anyone else and disrupt the sound of silence.
Lasting Impact ● ● ●
Music influenced the soldiers significantly during the war and acted as morale to get them through it. One of the first times music was used to create a greater impact during times of protest. Groups of people were brought together by the music artists created to express what they thought during the time. Also expressed the many concerns and frustrations the public had against the war.