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Music and the Vietnam War:


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Presentation for Communications in a Global Age course Fall 2009

Published in: Entertainment & Humor
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Music and the Vietnam War:

  1. 1. Music and the Vietnam War:The Impact on Popular Culture<br />Gretchen Cundiff<br />
  2. 2.<br />Johnny Cash<br />“The only good thing that has ever come out of a war was a song”<br />
  3. 3. Wartime Music<br />http://redhatrob.files<br /><br />Challenged social norms<br />Set the framework for artistic expression<br />Influence still resonates today<br />Medium of communication<br />Used voices as a means of persuasion (Perone, 2001)<br />
  4. 4. History & Music 1965-1975<br />http://www.digitalhistory<br /><br />Foreign policy goals of Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations<br />Initially, sixty percent of the American public supported LBJ’s policy of military escalation in Vietnam during 1964 (Anderson, 1986) <br />Protest demonstrations triggered debate<br />Record sales tripled during this decade (Anderson, 1986)<br />
  5. 5. Views on War<br />Public opinion shifted drastically between 1967 to 1970 with themes of discontent, angst, and bitterness emerging in popular music lyrics (Laux, 2007)<br />War advocates spread optimistic message in music<br />Nation split into left-wing “anti-war” or right-wing “pro-war” sides (Perone, 2001)<br />Nixon’s strategy for an “honorable” end to the war failed<br /><br />
  6. 6. Evolution of Music<br />Jazz & rock n’ roll  country and rock<br />Popular music expressed public divide over war<br />Pro-war= country & easy-listening<br />Anti-war= rock & folk<br />Both intertwined political messages<br />Supported the troops or incited protests and rallies<br />Served as an effective form of wartime propaganda “to communicate both political and social messages” (Graham, 2003)<br /><br />
  7. 7. Pro-War Music<br /><br />Songs promoted duty and patriotism (Perone, 2001)<br />Merle Haggard- “Okie from Muskogee” and “The Fightin’ Side of Me”<br />The top song requested and played on the radio during war years was singer Barry Sadler’s “The Ballad of the Green Berets” (Anderson, 1986) <br />Holds the title as the most popular war song ever produced with over 9 million singles sold to date<br />http://christiandivine.files<br /><br />
  8. 8. Anti-War Music<br />http://riverdaughter<br /><br />09/peter-paul-and-mary.jpg<br />Resurgence of folk music with Peter, Paul, and Mary & Bob Dylan (Rikard, 2005) <br />Creedence Clearwater Revival- “Fortunate Son”<br />Music artists of the late 1960s “witnessed more protest songs on the top 100 charts than any other time in the history of rock music” (Anderson, 1986) <br />Country Joe and the Fish – “The I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die-Rag”<br />Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young composed “Ohio” in response to Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970<br /><br />
  9. 9. Impact of War & Music<br />1st amendment ideals- freedom of speech<br />Progression in society by “exerting deep and lasting influences on the form and content of popular music” (Rikard, 2005)<br />Songs of that era span many generations<br />Paved a path toward greater musical expression in times of conflict<br />Author Michael Herr notes how “music melded with the war” and “became part of the Vietnam experience” (Rikard, 2005)<br />Songs such as Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” depict “age(s) of social unrest in America” (Laux, 2007) <br />http://digitalcollections.mcmaster<br />.ca/files/pw20c_images/00001300.jpg<br />