Music during Vietnam War

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Magazine Article About Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan Magazine Article

This magazine article written by Thomas Meehan in December of 1965, asks if Bob Dylan is the best public writer of the time. Meehan references all of his musical success and how innovative he is as an artist but also discusses Dylan’s impact on the political world. In March of 1965, the United States became involved in the Vietnam war because of their concern of communism spreading to other nearby countries. Many Americans, like Bob Dylan, were opposed the US involvement in the war. However, as Meehan says in his article “were concerned with things like the threat of nuclear war, the Civil Rights Movement, and the spreading blight of dishonesty… and Bob Dylan is the only American writer dealing with these subjects”. Meehan references Dylan as an important political figure and a very talented musician. Dylan’s music was a mix of folk music and rock n’ roll, and his lyrics were very potent with stories of inequality, and once the Vietnam War started anti-war beliefs. The lyrics of Bob Dylan’s music was very political based and discussed problems he saw within the country. Meehan in this article discusses Dylan’s popularity in the US, and found him so influential he  calls him the best public writer in America.


“War” by Edwin Starr is one of those famous songs that everyone has heard and knows the chorus. Rightfully so, it has transcended into almost a ballad against war. It has stood the test of time by truly maintaining relevance due to its iconic catchiness but what’s truly interesting and important is the lyrics that uncover the context of this song. Released in 1970 this song was directly focused on the flaws with the Vietnam War. It isn’t the most eloquently written song but protest songs often don’t need to be. It delivers the message in an almost war cry style, citing lines such as, “They say we must fight to keep our freedom. But lord knows there’s got to be a better way.”. However, the lyric that everyone remembers and loves will be, “War, huh, yeah, What is it good for absolutely nothing”. The purpose of this song can be interpreted in many ways and can be used as a general protest of war itself. In reality, Starr was attacking the absurdity that is the Vietnam War, a conflict that is generally regarded as a huge mistake by the United States. Some might blame the US government but Starr says it best by saying, “Oh war I despise, ‘Cause it means the destruction of innocent lives, War means tears to thousands of mother’s eyes, When their sons go to fight And lose their lives”. The song from start to finish shows Edwin Starr’s political views on the Vietnam war, and people in America love the song to this day.

Born in the USA

This song by Bruce Springsteen is another very famous song that is known for the catchiness of the chorus. However, when it released in 1982, the Vietnam War had been going on for about 17 years. Many US citizens had been drafted to go serve the military in Vietnam, and behind the catchy beat are very meaningful lyrics. In Springsteen’s first verse he sings, “Got in a little hometown jam, so they put a rifle in my hand, sent me off to a foreign land, to go and kill the yellow man”. While many didn’t notice, this song is a protest against the Vietnam war. The song touches on the truths of being a young man in the United States during the Vietnam war, A lot of men were drafted and ended up losing their lives fighting for their country in Vietnam. “Born in the USA” unexpectedly has lyrics of death, and the story of a man who had to fight in Vietnam, Springsteen sings, “I had a brother at Khe Sahn, Fighting off the Viet Cong, They’re still there, he’s all gone”. Springsteen very cleverly discusses how US men are losing their lives, while the Viet Cong continues to fight on. The song is very much politically oriented and its popularity shows that fellow Americans felt the same way Bruce did.