Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Top Ten Anti-War Songs

   “Orange Crush” is about a young football star who leaves the comforts of home to fight in Vietnam.  The song's title is a reference to Agent orange, a defoliant used by the Department of Defense which caused a large number of military personnel to develop cancer.
     While the song is a comment on the turmoil of the '60's in general, it is noted for the lyric “You're old enough to kill, but not for voting,' a reference to the draft age being eighteen, but the age to vote being twenty-one.
     It was originally intended to be about the witches' sabbath, a sort of Christmas for Satanists, but "War Pigs” evolved into an angry anti-war anthem that established Black Sabbath as one of the first and biggest heavy metal bands.
     “Zombie” is generally considered out of place in the Cranberries list of songs, but the aggressive tribute to Jonathan Ball and Tim Barry, two young boys killed in an IRA bombing, is still one of their best.
     “War” was originally performed by The Temptations, but Edwin Starr made it famous with his full blown, James Brown-like performance expressing all the anger the antiwar movement felt towards Vietnam. Do not even mention Jackie Chan.
     A song about the senselessness of war. Former soldiers often cite it as one of the most accurate depictions of how one feels in a war zone.
     “Born in the USA” is often mistaken as a patriotic song. In reality, the lyrics tell the plight of broken veterans who return home from war unable to adjust to society.
     “One” is based on the Dalton Trumbo novel Johnny Got His Gun about an American soldier severely wounded by a land mine during World War I. He is still alive, but cannot communicate with the hospital staff who believe he is brain dead. The ethereal song is made even more haunting with clips from the movie version of the novel interspersed throughout the music video.
     Released in December 2002 when the country was gearing up for the spring invasion of Iraq, the song tells the story a of young, lonely draftee who strikes up a continuing correspondence with a high school girl as he progresses through his Vietnam experience. The letters stop coming, and the girl learns he has been killed. The song is the sixth and final number one hit for the Dixie Chicks. In March 2003, lead singer Natalie Maines announced to a concert crowd in London she was ashamed President George W. Bush was from her home state of Texas.The backlash caused radio stations to stop playing their songs. The Dixie chicks' career has never recovered.
     Is there a film set during the Vietnam War that does not feature “Fortunate Son?” I think it is prerequisite. Inspired by the children of the elites earning draft deferments or choice positions in the military while regular young men were sent to war, the song is about how others suffer for the war conducted by the powerful.  

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