Ultimate 80s Veterans Day Playlist


Friday November 11, 2011 is Veterans Day in the US and I decided to dedicate an Ultimate 80s Playlist to those who have sacrificed so much for my country and freedom. I never had the calling to serve in the military, but over the last 10 years, I've grown to deeply appreciate my friends, family members, and acquaintances who have served our country. It is a sacrifice...one that can only be made known truly to those who have experienced it. We who have not experienced it first hand, are fortunate to have films, stories, and music to communicate the life of a soldier. This playlist is not your typical patriotic playlist. There are songs that talk about the great country we live in, but also songs that talk about what it takes to defend it and the aftermath. 

The more we do to learn and appreciate our country's history, the more this holiday (and Memorial Day) mean to us. Which in turn, will also mean more to our veterans when we simply say..."Thank You." 

(Click the song titles to view the lyrics.)


Billy Joel "Good Night Saigon" (1982)
Joel wrote this song to depict the attitude of United States Marines while training and then experiences in combat during the Vietnam War.

R.E.M. "Orange Crush" (1988)
This song's title refers to the chemical weapon Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War. Wikipedia cites that Michael Stipe once explained that the song was about a young American football player leaving the comforts of home for the war in Vietnam.


Kenny Loggins "Danger Zone" (1986)
Forever linked to the Top Gun film, this song puts you in the cockpit of an F-16 taking off from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier and flying into a dogfight battle.

Huey Lewis & the News "Walking On a Thin Line" (1984)
In concert, Lewis has often dedicated this song to those who lost their lives and veterans of the Vietnam War. It talks about the thoughts and memories of a soldier during war. 


Metallica "One" (1989)
Band members and writers James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich used the 1939 novel Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo for theme and lyrics to this song. The book is a story of a World War I soldier who has been severely wounded by a mortar shell and awakes a prisoner of his own body.

Bruce Springsteen "Born In The USA" (1984)
One of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. This song is widely known for being misinterpreted, famously by President Ronald Reagan. Springsteen wrote this song as a tribute to his friends that were lost in the Vietnam War and also the hardships of veterans who returned.


John Cougar Mellancamp "Pink Houses" (1983)
Mellancamp got the inspiration for this song while driving to his home in Indiana from the Indianapolis airport. This song is also ranked as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone. 

James Brown "Living In America" (1985)
From the film Rocky IV, it was used to communicate the patriotism of the character Apollo Creed.

Lee Greenwood "God Bless the USA" (1984)
Greenwood is quoted as saying he "wanted to write it my whole life....I called my producer, and I said I have a need to do this. I've always wanted to write a song about America."
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