A Vietnam Veteran’s Top 10 Playlist

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Every soldier had a special song of their own that helped to bring them home

Vietnam GIs purchased 178,000 reel-to-reel tape decks in 1969 and 1970. Source Wisconsin State Journal
Vietnam GIs purchased 178,000 reel-to-reel tape decks in 1969 and 1970. Source Wisconsin State Journal


It’s probably impossible to describe the Vietnam experience in just a handful of songs.  Every veteran who was touched by that place has their own meaningful playlist running through their heads.


Doug Bradley and Craig Werner tried to encapsulate the essence of the era in their book “We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Sountrack of the Vietnam War.”  In order to come up with the top songs, they interviewed hundreds of Vietnam veterans over 10 years.

The book explains how music helped the men and women fighting that war to cope.  It connected them to each other and to home.

Bradley and Werner found that many of the people they interviewed had never been able to talk about their war experience, not even to family or loved ones.  But they were always able to talk about the music.  Some found this to be a way to start the healing.

Be sure to check out our other trending posts:

The Top 10 Songs of Vietnam

10.  Green Green Grass of Home by Porter Wagoner

Songs like this, those that tapped into loneliness, heartache and homesickness hold a special place in the hearts of Vietnam vets….

9. Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin

…Usually heard in the States as another of Aretha’s powerful statements on racial and sexual equality, which it certainly was, Chain of Fools took on special meaning in Vietnam.  Marcus Miller, an infantryman in the Mekong Delta during the war, said the song referred to the military “chain of command….”

8. The Letter by The Box Tops

…Mail call was a sacred ritual in Vietnam and this song captured its importance lyrically and musically. Didn’t hurt that it spoke of “getting a ticket for an airplane” and “going home” because “my baby just wrote me a letter.” Nothing kept guys going more than love letters from home —

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