Songs About War

November the eleventh is a day in North-America that we honor the memory of those who have fought overseas, either in past wars or on peacekeeping missions. There are different ways that we can pay tribute to these brave men and women, some attend memorial services or watch the parade on television. There have been talented individuals who have chosen to commemorate these veterans through their art. Here is a list of some of the most notable songs that were written about war. This Veterans Day, or Remembrance Day, listen to one of these songs and remember those who gave so much. Take an active part in some of these protest songs with some karaoke online and show your support.

germans_in_stalingrad

Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBfjU3_XOaA[/youtube]

David Eisenhower was supposedly the inspiration for this CCR hit. David was the grandson of the former US president, Dwight Eisenhower, and married the daughter of President Nixon. During an interview John Fogerty mentioned how people knew that people like this were going to have nothing to do with the Vietnam War. The song symbolizes the thoughts of a man who is being drafted. The people who were forced to fight by the draft were not “fortunate” enough to come from rich or powerful families.

War by Edwinn Starr (1970)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01-2pNCZiNk[/youtube]

It was this song of protest that shot Edwinn Starr to the top of the charts. This classic song against the Vietnam War is still used toady to speak out against war. The blunt statement that is made in the song’s chorus could not be more straightforward: “War – What is it good for? – Absolutely nothing!”

Billy Don’t Be a Hero by Paper Lace (1974)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5BWfGjeql0[/youtube]

This anti-war song was released in the seventies, therefore it is often associated with the Vietnam War. However, there are references to the American Civil War in the song’s lyrics: “soldier blues” (Union Army). In the song a young woman is sad because her fiancé, Billy, is joining the army contingent that is passing through their town. We then find out that Billy was killed in action. The song ends with his lover throwing away the letter that notified her of Billy’s “heroic” death.

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Eric Bogle (1971)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z_dUOhkygY[/youtube]

The lyrics of this song deal with the horrible reality of war and take a shot at the people who attempt to glorify it. It tells the experience of one WWI Australian soldier who loses his leg at the Battle of Gallipoli. It then goes on to describe how there are fewer veterans over time and younger generations begin to care less about their cause. It is a song that should remind all listeners that it is important for future generations to remember what the veterans did.

One by Metallica (1987)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzgGTTtR0kc[/youtube]

This powerful heavy-metal ballad opens to the sound of an artillery barrage, a unique and gripping way to begin a song. Metallica based the song off of the 1939 novel Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. The novel was about a soldier who was hit by German artillery fire in WWI. He lost all of his senses, could no longer speak and could not move his arms or legs; but his mind remained undamaged. Metallica does a great job of portraying how it would feel to be a prisoner inside of your own body.

Vera Lynn (1971 – )

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC5P9PmXM5U[/youtube]

Vera Lynn’s voice offered comfort to the British soldiers during WWII with her BBC radio show Sincerely Yours. To soldiers stationed everywhere she was known as the “Forces Sweetheart” because of her numerous concerts for the troops. Her most popular songs included We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover. Interestingly enough her tunes still strike a chord with the British public. Lynn, who is now ninety-two, recently had the No. 1 record in Britain, We’ll Meet Again-The Very Best of Vera Lynn, beating the remastered Beatles albums.

Johnny Horton (1925-1960)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KecIdlEAKhU[/youtube]

Johnny Horton loved to sing songs about history during his career as a country music artist. Some of these songs dealt with historic battles in war. His song The Battle of New Orleans was a popular hit that dealt with a battle that took place during the War of 1812. Horton’s song book also included ballads about more recent world conflicts. The Ballad of the Green Berets focused on the elite unit; and Sink the Bismark’was about the need to sink a troublesome German battleship.

The Ballad of Ira Hayes by Johnny Cash 1964 written by Peter LaFarge

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdNV9JX-Xi8[/youtube]

Ira Hayes was a Native American soldier who took part in the Battle of Iwa Jima and was featured in the popular photograph of the second raising of the American flag on top of the hill. Hayes did not like the post-war fame that this photograph brought him. Family members claim that he came back a changed man. He began to drink heavily and eventually died from the affects of alcohol and exposure.

19 by Paul Hardcastle (1985)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byCCmBwRjGw[/youtube]

Paul Hardcastle took a look at how America’s involvement in the Vietnam conflict affected the soldiers. The war does not end for the soldiers who come home; many live with horrible physical and emotional scars. The song includes sound clips of news reports and dialogue from Vietnam Requiem, an ABC documentary about post-traumatic stress disorder amongst veterans.

Feel Like I’m Fixin to Die by Country Joe (1965)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBdeCxJmcAo[/youtube]

Country Joe penned this song during the year that the Vietnam War became a huge protest issue with American students. The lyrics use a form of dark-humour to explain the process of being drafted. Joe wanted to point the blame at the people who profit from war and the politicians that cause them, not the soldiers who are required to do the actual fighting.

Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 (1983)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9c4lLnY0rA[/youtube]

U2 does a beautiful job of combining their signature melodic harmonies, Edge’s harsh guitar riffs and a militaristic drum beat to speak out against The Troubles in Northern Ireland. This powerful song should show all listeners that wars are fought on many different scales; but always for all of the wrong reasons.

These songs are an important way to help keep the memory of the veterans and the wars that they fought in alive. We as a society must never forget their sacrifice. History cannot be permitted to repeat itself.

**NOTE: This is a short list of some o the most notable songs about war. The author realizes that there are many more songs out there and would like to hear from you which songs have the deepest meaning for you on November 11th.


11 Comments

Posted by wparena 11. November 2009 at 3:09 pm :

Very good collection…. increased my blood circulation

Posted by All In One Information » Karaoke Lounge» Songs About War 11. November 2009 at 8:28 pm :

[…] post: Karaoke Lounge» Songs About War This entry is filed under War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 […]

Posted by dude 11. November 2009 at 9:26 pm :

I find it ironic that whoever wrote this article, put a picture of german troops on the top. It should be corrected.

Posted by Joe Blanton 11. November 2009 at 10:51 pm :

Lucero – The War

Posted by Tom 12. November 2009 at 1:23 pm :

@dude Many of these songs are war protest songs. War isn’t the right answer. Yes, the reason why we have days like Remembrance Day and Veterans Day is to honour the sacrifice made by so many men and women; but it is also so that we learn from our and our enemies mistakes so that something like the tragedy of the 2nd World War doesn’t happen again.

The image itself is merely a solitary frame in a war that lasted several years for all sides. My grandfather fought for the Allies in WW2 and he became very anti-war after serving. He always said it was the most terrible thing because you’re really not fighting the bad guys in war, you’re fighting and killing regular people like you and me.

Posted by Good Karaoke Songs 12. November 2009 at 7:00 pm :

[…] Songs About War […]

Posted by arkzist 12. November 2009 at 8:38 pm :

oh hate to nitpick but its iwo jima, not iwa jima… the johnny cash one

Posted by dylan 13. November 2009 at 5:58 am :

Bob Dylan – Masters of War

Posted by jake 16. November 2009 at 12:37 pm :

you’ve posted songs, mainly american ones, about war.

and yet, the picture above is of german(nazi) soldiers in ww2.

get your head of your ass.

Posted by Halloween Costume of Jack Sparrow » Blog Archive » Karaoke Lounge» Songs About War 18. November 2009 at 11:03 am :

[…] During an interview John Fogerty mentioned how people knew that people like this were going to have nothing to do with the Vietnam War. The song symbolizes the thoughts of a man who is being drafted. The people who were forced to fight …This Post […]

Posted by Artmonger 30. January 2010 at 3:55 am :

Songs about War. Any Sex Clark Five album….

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