The Vietnam War– from the perspective of the 80s and 90s

Some songwriters continued to explore the Vietnam War as a theme into the 1980s and 1990s.

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English artist Paul Hardcastle used sampling and voice tracks to create his song 19 which was released in 1985. I would strongly suggest that you listen to this song as you prepare for both the AP Exam and for your test over the 1960s and 1970s, since it is made up of facts about the soldiers who fought in the war.

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Bruce Springsteen’s iconic “Born in the U.S.A.” was the title song to his album. It was later cited by conservative columnist George Will as a possible song to be used by the Reagan re-election campaign in 1984– who apparently had never actually listened to the lyrics:

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R.E.M.’s song “Orange Crush” was a song released in 1988 about a young man becoming a soldier in Vietnam. “Orange Crush” was slang for Agent Orange, the defoliant used to burn off the vegetation in the jungle.

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Johnny Cash, an American icon, wrote “Drive On” in 1993 about a veteran’s perspective decades after the war was over. In this video he explains his inspiration for the song (16s are M-16s).

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