“We Gotta Get Out of This Place”: The Music of the Vietnam War

Music and War. Inextricably linked. Glenn Miller and World War II. Hendrix and Vietnam. The Spartans probably had their songs, sung by campfire. And hearing those songs again brings back everything for veterans.

Writers Doug Bradley and Craig Werner just collaborated on a new book “We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War.” After interviewing hundreds of vets, they assembled the “playlist” of the war, which ranges from Country Joe’s “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag” to Barry Sadler’s “Ballad of the Green Berets.”

In a recent interview, Bradley told the University of Massachusetts student paper, “We’re just honored and privileged that we had the opportunity to share these moments.

“We were struck by the power of the memory and the music and its importance in the way of survival and connection and healing.

“We hadn’t expected it to be as poignant and powerful as it could be… it was great story.”

You can hear 20 of the top songs (and their collected YouTube videos) on the “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” website.

Which led us to thinking — what are the playlists of our recent conflicts? A quick search of Spotify brought up two lists. One, from an album called “Body of War.” The other, titled simply Baghdad, appears to be one person’s list of songs that capture and evoke the war. We’re not sure if it was assembled by a vet or someone at home sending a mixtape out into the world… But there’s some great music on it!


What music captures your war? Send us your suggestions below and we’ll see if we can assemble our own playlist.


©2018 Writers Guild Initiative 

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account