Posted by: suek2001 | January 13, 2015

“Last night I had the strangest dream..”

I was binge-watching MASH last week…and one of my favorites came on..Father Mulcahy was writing a war song for the Korean Conflict(or police action)….

He gave up by the end of the episode because he realized, it just wasn’t worth singing a “gung ho” kind of song…

Korea as many know was the stand in for Vietnam…and the Vietnam war prompted a lot of music..mostly against US action in that war..

..and there were some great anti-war songs all over the radio back in the ’60’s and 70’s…

..like the one that this blog is titled after..a brilliant piece by Ed McCurdy..sung by so many..here sung by John Denver:

 

Great anthem..not just about Vietnam but all wars..and that was running through my head this morning as I heard of more terror threats…

 

..and when Pete Seeger passed away last year, I thought of this anthem..and hoped it would catch on again…done brilliantly and most notably by The Kingston Trio:

 

It should be noted The Kingston Trio performed this in front of LBJ on the lawn of the White House at the height of the Vietnam war….I also find it interesting when I talked to people a bit older than I, they recall this song by the Kingston Trio and not “Tom Dooley”…

As the 60’s wound down, more artists got on the bandwagon and wrote songs about war, peace..freedom..and civil rights….so the airwaves were filled with songs of conscience…and then the ME decade took over..and with the exception of a few great songs from the 70’s…like this one from Edwin Starr:

 

..war dissapeared from the radio…John Denver, Don Henley…Neil Young, Sting would write great anti-war anthems..and yet, most wouldn’t receive airplay…

The 80’s were the “Go Team America” years…and all those who would protest war didn’t take to music to voice their concerns…they were largely absent…

As time marches on, music trends changes..and now, serious songs by Bruce Springsteen and others are not played on Top 40 radio…In a landscape that adores One Direction and Beyonce, serious songs about war, poverty,the enviroment are the vegetables of music…

We listen to them to make ourselves feel better but they aren’t neccesarily enjoyable or worth grooving to…

It also doesn’t help matters that John Denver has been long gone..His voice of no regret is dearly missing..He kept writing classic anti-war songs throughout the time it was almost a crime to do so…One of his best remains a great song called “It’s About Time”:

 

So, as we march in solidarity to those killed in France..or march to protest police brutality, I think it’s sad that people will go home from those marches and not hear one song of great meaning or consequence on the radio….They will hear songs of love, life, friends and heartache yet as we have seen, war can take all that away…so why not write about what we all fear?

The last great anti-war song was written by John Fogerty during the Iraq war…and again, it wasn’t fashionable to be against that war for a time but John saw fit to be a voice of weariness and peace:

 

I just hope there comes a time when that “strangest dream” comes true and we all can celebrate that this long national nightmare is over…

 

 

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