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Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam War’

At number 13 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Revolution”. This is a great John Lennon rock ‘n’ roll song, but one with a message. In fact, for those of you who are not that familiar with The Beatles, there are two versions of “Revolution”. There is the rock ‘n’ roll version which was released as the B-side to the single “Hey Jude”, but there is also a slow, bluesy version on The Beatles’ White Album. In fact, the slow version was recorded before the fast version. They sound very different, so if you have not heard both I suggest you try to find the album version.

“Revolution” was inspired by current events. 1968 is often thought of as one of the years which has seen the most uprising and unrest of any year in the second half of the 20th Century. With the Vietnam War spiralling out of control, riots on the streets of Paris, unrest in Prague, the murder of Martin Luther King in April, and other world events, Lennon decided to write about them in “Revolution”. He had been political for a number of years, but was always prevented from saying what was on his mind by their manager Brian Epstein. With Epstein’s death in August 1967, Lennon felt the liberty to vent his views.

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At number 13 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Revolution”

Here are the lyrics to this fantastic song.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

You 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 all doing what we can

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright, al…

You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You’d better free your mind instead

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

Don’t you know know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright

This is a live studio performance of the fast version, from The Beatles’ VEVO channel, so hopefully it will not disappear. Enjoy!

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Today I thought I would share this great anti-war song – “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was released in September 1969, and is specifically about the lucky men who were born into families which, somehow, meant that they were not called up for the draft to fight in the Vietnam war.

These were the senators’ sons, the millionaires’ sons, the fortunate sons. Sons like George W. Bush, who miraculously found himself in the National Guard, far away from any danger, rather than in Vietnam fighting. I wonder why? Oh, maybe because his father, George H. Bush, had the political clout and importance to make sure his precious son didn’t go and fight in the jungles of Vietnam, unlike the poor white and black men who were drafted there.

As the draft went on, it became more and more apparent how many fortunate sons were avoiding going to war, thanks to their family’s influence in bending the rules. And how many poor blacks and whites had no choice, they were forced to go and would be jailed should they refuse. The Vietnam war was wrong on so many levels, but the inequity of the draft was certainly one of its wrongs.

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“Fortunate Son” was released in September 1969, and talks of the privileged few who, somehow, avoided the Vietnam war draft.

“Fortunate Son” is rated at 99 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. It really is a great song, I am surprised that I haven’t blogged about it before.

Some folks are born, made to wave the flag
Ooo, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Ooo, they point the cannon at you, Lord

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Some folks are born, silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, y’all
But when the taxman comes to the door
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yeah

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Yeah, yeah
Some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask ’em, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer “More! More! More!”, y’all

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no military son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, one
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, one

Here is a video of the song. Enjoy!

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At number 4 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time is “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye. I have already blogged about this song here when I blogged about the 500 greatest albums, as this song is the title track of the album which came in at number 6 on that list.

The song “What’s Going On” was recorded over the summer of 1970 and released as a single in January 1971. It got to number 2 in the US singles charts, but in the Disunited Kingdom it was barely a hit, only getting to number 80 in the singles charts.



At number 30 in Rolling Stone Magazine's '500 Greatest Songs of all Time' is "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash.

At number 4 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of all Time’ is “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye.



The song was co-written by Gaye, Renaldo Benson (of the Four Tops group) and Al Cleveland. It was inspired by Benson witnessing an anti Vietnam war demonstration on the Berkeley campus in 1969, and discussing the issue with Cleveland. Cleveland went away and wrote the song, but the Four Tops rejected it. When it came to the attention of Gaye he worked on it some more, adding some lyrics and changing the melody.


Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today – Ya

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on
What’s going on
Ya, what’s going on
Ah, what’s going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on
Right on

Mother, mother, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me
So you can see
What’s going on
Ya, what’s going on
Tell me what’s going on
I’ll tell you what’s going on – Uh
Right on baby
Right on baby


Here is a video of this great song. Enjoy!




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Today I thought I would share this wonderful song by Buffalo Springfield – “For What It’s Worth”. The song was released in January 1967 and got to number 7 in the US charts. It was written by Stephen Stills (in the centre of the photograph below) who also sings lead vocals on the song. You may also notice in the video that Neil Young was in the group too, on guitar (he is on the right of the photograph).



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The following year, Stills would become part of possibly the World’s first “supergroup” – Crosby, Stills and Nash; which was formed when he, David Crosby (from The Byrds) and Graham Nash (from The Hollies) got together to form the group Crosby, Stills and Nash. A few months later, Neil Young joined them to form Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

This song is actually the only Buffalo Springfield song which I know; it is a great song addressing the unrest and uncertainty of the civil unrest and escalating Vietnam war in the late 1960s.


There’s something happening here
But what it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking’ their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, “hooray for our side”

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Now, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?



Here is a video of the song. Enjoy!





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