Analysis of Vietnam Time Period Songs

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Masterwork analysis
These masterworks represent every different stage that was set in the time period of the Vietnam War. It goes from the war killings to freedom and peace and they are represented through “Gimme Shelter”, “Bring’em Home”, “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “The Unknown Soldier”, “My Generation” and “All along the Watchtower”. The musicians who composed and sang also worked as social activist representing the anti-Vietnam movement.

The song “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones shows the political and social unrest of the Vietnam Time period. Gimme Shelter was recorded on February 23, 1969 and released on December 5, 1969 in the album Let it Bleed. It begins with “a storm is threat'ning my very life today. (2) If I don't get some shelter, I'm gonna fade away” which shows how society was posing a threat by the “storm” that represented the war. “The fire is sweepin' our very street today. Burns like a red coal carpet.” Is describing how the war effects have inflicted pain on society. “The floods is threat'ning my very life today. Gimme, gimme shelter or I'm gonna fade away” The flood which represents as a threat keeps trying to take life away and in the song if they don’t find a “shelter” or a cover they will “fade away” meaning they will disappear. The chorus, “War, children, it's just a shot away” describes how the war and the children are suffering from the effects of war caused by a “shot”. The shot represents weapons, therefore, when they sing “it’s just shot away” means that’s all it takes one shot to take peoples lives away. This song is a masterwork because it speaks of the feelings the youth was going through and how many in the battle field felt. “That song was written during the Vietnam War and so it's very much about the awareness that war is always present; it was very present in life at that point.” – Mick Jagger (1)

1. “Mick Jagger Quotes”, The Brainy Quote: accessed on 03/20/11 2. “Gimme Shelter Song Facts”, Dominica: accessed on 3/20/11

Like the Rolling Stones, Pete Seeger was another vocal protest artist, the song “Bring’em Home” was written in 1965 to protest US involvement in Vietnam. Each verse of this song is protesting and questioning the government’s way of causing damaging effects not only to their own society but to the Vietnamese society. (1) “If you love your Uncle Sam, Support our boys in Vietnam”. Demands that if people support the U.S. then bring the soldiers home from the Vietnam War. “It'll make our generals sad, I know. They want to tangle with the foe.” It references the generals who will be upset if the troops were to be sent home since they wouldn’t have anyone to fight against the enemy. “I may be right, I may be wrong, But I got a right to sing this song” Seeger feels that whether he may be is correct or incorrect he still has the right to put his beliefs into the song. “There's one thing I must confess, I'm not really a pacifist. If an army invaded this land of mine, you’d find me out on the firing line” He does express that if comes to defend his nation from attack put money into school, not war. He will fight but since Vietnam never attacked there is no reason for fighting. That’s when he demonstrates wants “For defense you need common sense. The world needs teachers, books and schools and learning a few universal rules.” This song is a masterwork because it expresses the argument against the Vietnam War that many people in the time period argue against. (2) 1. “Pete Seeger, Anti-Vietnam War Songs”, Pete Seeger: accessed 03/20/11 2.”Bring em’ Home Lyrics”, Pete Seeger: accessed 03/20/11

Compared to Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan was another musical activist and released “Blowin’ in the Wind” on April 16, 1962 and it became an anthem of the...
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