Playlist for an Old Soldier | Protest Songs
This hub may come as a surprise to those folks that aren’t close to soldiers in general, and this one in particular. While you serve you submit to the authority of the chain of command, all the regulations, etc and if you’re a volunteer you so willingly. If you’re drafted you so, so you can get your 2 years done and get out without going to jail or creating any ‘Bad Time’ that you’d have to make up before discharge.
But when your First Sergeant or Platoon Sergeant gives the command at the end of the day “Fall Out!” it is your time to lament and sometimes defy authority. Some of the protests songs of the 60’s and early 70’s would get your ‘Lifer’ NCO charged up since it was so identified with “Pot Smoking, Long Haired, Dirty Rotten Protesting Hippies”, a PFC with no power could identify with the antithesis of everything around him by going to his bunker or C hut and cranking it up. Plus the music was pretty good, and sometimes linked up with the animal inside, like War, Soul Sacrifice, or Iron Man, or made a comment on the dumb side of politics or governments like Feeling Like I’m Fixing to Die, or Alice Restaurant.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little trip down memory lane here, by the way there haven’t really been any good protest songs since, The Gulf War had “From a Distance” but no power or real emotion in that one, to mamby pamby. No good ones I’ve heard since 2001 though the politics of the wars are contentious, no real good protest stuff has come from the music makers. I wonder why, no draft maybe?
This is the Granddaddy of them all, and the Chorus ws in use as marching cadence by the time I joined the Army in 72. We would sing it marching out to the ranges on Ft Polk, La Our Drill Sergeant figured we might as well get used to the idea that we had no time to wonder why whoopee were all gonna die.
was the biggest hit of Edwin Starr’s career selling over 3,000,000 copies.
First published in 1969 this is one that was understood and embraced by us all over there. Nothing good ever comes from it seemed like a simple truth.
The great solos in this song were like the screams of your soul that only you could hear in the quiet of the night.
Sums up the psyche pretty good for the times.