Module 04 Written Assignment – Music of the Vietnam War
Module 04 Content
For American soldiers in Vietnam, music was an important part of their lives overseas. It was a reminder of home in a dangerous and foreign place. At the beginning of the war, the major source of music for the troops in Vietnam was Armed Forces Radio, operated by the United States Department of Defense.
The Department of Defense placed a number of restrictions on the types of music that could be played over Armed Forces Radio. Protest songs, or those that could be interpreted as protest songs, were prohibited. One song approved was “The Ballad of the Green Berets” from 1966 by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler (Leepson, 2017). The song’s lyrics “Fighting soldiers from the sky, Fearless men who jump and die” spoke to courage and bravery of the Green Berets (Barry Sadler lyrics, n.d.). Sadler’s song would hit number one on the Billboard charts and stay there for five weeks (Leepson, 2017).
As the war in Vietnam dragged on and public opinion towards it shifted; the popular music about the war began to change too. Increasingly musicians had something to say and Armed Forces Radio had more music to prohibit. Bored with the approved playlists, which were increasingly dominated by classical music and light pop tunes, soldiers began to bringing music and stereos with them to Vietnam. From that point on, songs like “We Gotta Get Outta This Place”(1965) by the Animals, “Fortunate Son”(1969) by John Fogerty, “Purple Haze”(1970) by Jimi Hendrix, and “War”(1970) by Edwin Starr that were popular back home were also a hit with American troops in Vietnam.
Works Cited:
Barry Sadler lyrics. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Leepson, M. (2017, April 13). Barry Sadler. Retrieved from
Written Assignment Instructions
Research two or three of the songs mentioned above or in the article “If Ya Wanna End War and Stuff, You Gotta Sing Loud:
A Survey of Vietnam-related Protest Music”. Use the guidelines below to focus your work.

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