Vietnam War through Songs 

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The war in Vietnam has left a huge mark on the American history which has been reflected in music as well. Here are dozens of songs of all genres that are related to or about this war. Music was the best way of soldiers and people to express themselves, how they felt during the war or how they experienced it. These are some of the songs.  

1. House of the Rising Sun 

This one was performed by The Animals, a rock band from England and this song became the instantaneous hit. The song is not about the war particular since the lyrics are based on a man whose father is a drunkard but the song is important since there is a chord with the troops that participated in the war thus making the reference to this war.  

2. All Along the Watchtower 

This one was recorded for the first time, and performed as well, by Bob Dylan. However, its most memorable performance was by Jimi Hendrix. We should point out his performance on the 21st January in 1968 in London. Even Bob Dylan was overwhelmed by Jimi’s performance and said that Jimi is such an artist that can trigger the deepest feelings of people.  

3. Gimme Shelter 

This one was directly inspired by the Vietnam War and was made by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. In an interview, Mick even said that the difference between this war and other wars is in the fact that this one was opposed by the vast majority of people and that people did not want to participate in it. This kind of movement against the war grew stronger and on a larger scale. One of the most memorable lines in the song was sung by Merry Clayton.  

4. Fortunate Son 

Some people consider this one o be the official anthem against the Vietnam War and against the elite that was pro-war but did not participate in it and whose sons were not sent to Vietnam to fight. They and their children were fortunate since they did not have to fight. It was later established that the picture of the great morale of the troops and them being pro-war was actually false and not true at all. This song has been played innumerable times during the protests against the war. The song was written and performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival. 

5. For What It’s Worth 

This one was not originally written for the Vietnam War, but it was recognized due to its lyrics and was later on used during the protests and against the elite and popular culture. It was hippies that massively used this one that was performed by Buffalo Springfield 

6. Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay 

This is one of the most famous songs of Otis Redding and it is considered to be among the most popular ones among the soldiers during their fighting in Vietnam due to its melody that evoked nostalgia and longing for home.  

9. We’ve Gotta Get Out of this Place 

Yet another hit performed by The Animals. This song is often related to the film called Hamburger Hill and it was particularly favored by those soldiers who fought in South Vietnam. According to a survey from 2006, the vast majority of the men that were stationed in Vietnam during the war identified themselves with this particular song.  

10. What’s Going On 

Marvin Gaye performed this one and he was also known to be active in the movements for social justice and freedom. It is believed that he wrote and performed this song on the basis of his conversation with his brother, Frankie, who fought in this war. One of his cousins was even killed during the war. 

11. War 

This one was performed by Edwin Starr and it was not only against the war but against the mainstream and popular culture at that time. The Temptations were the first one to performed, but Edwin gave it its recognizable note. His performance kept the song at the first place on the charts. 


These are just some of the songs that marked the protests during the war and that people who participated in it like. There are surely many more.