Top 10 Memorial Day Songs

Top 10 Memorial Day Songs

Songs about war and attendant suffering cut across musical genres.

Facebook
Twitter
Email
Flipboard
Pocket

Memorial Day, first known as Decoration Day, originated in the North after the Civil War to commemorate fallen Union soldiers. By the 20th century the holiday had been extended to honor Americans who had perished in any US conflict. I think the best way to honor the fallen is to make every effort to prevent needless deaths in the future. That means combat only as a true last resort.

In this vein, here are my Top 10 Memorial Day Songs. The list is highly debatable; songs about war and attendant suffering cut across musical genres. Though I proudly claim hippie roots, I’ve omitted clichéd classics like “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Imagine,” and “Give Peace A Chance.” I’ve also given short shrift to an important subgenre of heavy metal anti-war anthems like Motorhead’s “1916” and Metallica’s 1989 classic, “One,” and I’ve ignored the rich history of punk-rock excoriations of the insanity of war. Hopefully, this will spur people to make their own lists.

1. Loretta Lynn, Dear Uncle Sam

2. Bill Withers, I Can’t Write Left-Handed

3. Bob Dylan, Masters of War

4. Curtis Mayfield, We Gotta Have Peace

5. Joni Mitchell, The Fiddle and the Drum

6. The Jam, Little Boy Soldiers

7. Freda Payne, Bring the Boys Home

8. Bob Marley, War/No More Trouble

9. Eric Bogle, The Green Fields of France

10. Paper Lace, Billy Don’t Be a Hero

Bonus Track #1: Nick Lowe, What’s So Funny ’Bout Peace, Love and Understanding

Bonus Track #2: The Pogues, And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Dear reader,

I hope you enjoyed the article you just read. It’s just one of the many deeply-reported and boundary-pushing stories we publish everyday at The Nation. In a time of continued erosion of our fundamental rights and urgent global struggles for peace, independent journalism is now more vital than ever.

As a Nation reader, you are likely an engaged progressive who is passionate about bold ideas. I know I can count on you to help sustain our mission-driven journalism.

This month, we’re kicking off an ambitious Summer Fundraising Campaign with the goal of raising $15,000. With your support, we can continue to produce the hard-hitting journalism you rely on to cut through the noise of conservative, corporate media. Please, donate today.

A better world is out there—and we need your support to reach it.

Onwards,

Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

Ad Policy
x