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Monday, March 05, 2012

Music of Vietnam Vets

Craig Werner

Saturday March 3, my family attended a talk at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame delivered by Wisconsin Professor Craig Werner: "'Chain of Fools': A Vietnam Veteran's Top 20."
Craig Werner will discuss the story of music and the Vietnam experience. His talk draws from his current project, a book entitled We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Music, Memory and the Vietnam War, co-authored with Doug Bradley. The book tells the story of music and the Vietnam experience through the music-based memories of scores of veterans.
The authors have been working on the project for some time, as demonstrated by this Chicago Tribute story from 2006:
They've even come up with a top 10 list of songs that resonate with Vietnam vets, led by "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," by the Animals; "Chain of Fools," by Aretha Franklin; and "Fortunate Son," by Credence Clearwater Revival.
The list has expanded and the ordering has changed a bit -- plus, "Leavin' on a Jet Plane" is now near the top if I recall correctly.

Werner and Bradley interviewed 200 veterans and are compiling their words into an oral history.

Update: my spouse had a copy of the handout, which included a list of the top 20 and "Honorable Mentions."

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