Honoring our veterans of military service and music

Nov 10, 2011

This week we salute our veterans and the music they made before, during and after their military service.

The first one that comes to mind is this Vietnam War-era classic from Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler, a real-life wounded Vietnam Vet. Even as protest was building against the war, it was the biggest single of 1966, spending 5 weeks at Number 1 on the charts.

Sadler donated a large portion of his royalties to families of Vietnam casualties, and later became a successful mystery writer. This may be the most boring music video ever made:

Elvis Presley was drafted in 1958 – in the middle of his successful career – and could have become a military musician but chose instead to be a “regular” soldier. He managed to keep his career afloat — while he was in the Army, he released 10 Top 40 hits. He donated his pay to charity and bought televisions for the Army base.

Can something from 1990 already be vintage? MC Hammer was a batboy for the Oakland A’s before joining the Navy for 3 years. What is it with the baggy pants?

Tony Bennett fought as an infantryman in the late days of WWII. The experience made him a patriot but also a pacifist. He wrote, "Anybody who thinks that war is romantic obviously hasn't gone through one.” He gave Lady Gaga a chance to be classy in this 2011 duet: