Music and the
Vietnam War

A soldier plays harmonica alone in the jungle

America's longest and most controversial war, Vietnam stands apart. This collection explores the divergent sonic legacies of the war. Uncover new, often-unheard aspects of the war as you explore the music that told its story through data visualizations, recordings, photographs and more.

A servicemember plays acoustic guitar and sings in a crowd of others


Start here to trace the arc of the war and the ways in which the music of Vietnam shaped the course of American history.

Disc-jockeys playing tapes and records in Vietnam

Sonic Narratives

Follow how public consciousness of Vietnam is mirrored in song from early off-hand mentions of the country to veteran's songs reflecting on the war.

Airmen on guitar, bass, and drums and Red Cross workers on piano playing music together


Discover the legacies of the war cemented on vinyl, tape, and CD. Search through a comprehensive database or explore releases by subject with graphical analysis of our holdings.

Clipping from Billboard Magazine showing 'War' in the number-one spot

The Charts

Follow the arc of the war through the Billboard Hot 100 with data vizualizations.

Unless otherwise noted, photographs are taken from the Keesing Collection on Popular Music and Culture. "Recordings" photo: Diebold, William F. 1969. "Phan Rang Airbase, Vietnam.... Red Cross aids, Dolly Hasselwander, left, and Cathy Knutson, right, accompany U.S. Air Force Airmen during a jam session." Department of Defense Still Media Records Center.