about hash | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/17/11
I heard in an interview that Billy had a conversation with a group of vets and that the song is just about verbatim from that conversation. It may very will have been draftees that he interviewed, but he said that he was very careful to give them fair representation. I don't think he added it because it sounded good; I think that's what he was told. For those of us who were not there, thank you for the distinction and for serving. You are true heros.
...more | Reviewer: Jesse | 10/31/10
Further to my last ...
It greatly irks me that many people have the impression that the war was fought by a bunch of half baked stone heads, getting high every chance that they could.
I can't speak much for the Army, but that behavior was not the norm for any USMC unit I served with ,,, And with 3 tours of Vietnam, I had a fair share of variety, and served with a whole lot of great soldiers in many different circumstances & locations - Including Oliver North in 1969.
I was 22 in 1967, and had already been in the military for 3 years at that point. I had never smoked pot up to then, never did in Vietnam, and never did after.
A few bottles of Jack Daniels yeah, gotta relieve that stress when you can, but with hardly any exception, all the guys I served with, even new recruits, were strictly professional, and had high disdain for anything associated with hippies, including pot.
I wouldn't have smoked pot any more that I would have considered chewing on a dandelion.
So that 1 line out of the whole song I resent, and I wish he had thought twice about it. A man of his creativeness and imagination surely could have thought of something better ,,, But yeah, I guess it sounded good, and fits in with the image that most have of Vietnam vets.
Not a fair representation at all, and promotes the myth that American troops in Vietnam were stoned out of their minds for most of their tour.
Now I have been to quite a few rear army bases, fire support base and what not, and some of the riff raff manning those outfits was questionable at the very least.
These guys rarely left the security of their bases, didn't want to be there in the first place because they were drafted, were into all that hippy shit anyhow, got bored out of their minds so yeah, they got toasted alot.
You could smell those bases miles away, literally.
That was getting towards the end and moral, at least among the draftees, couldn't have gotten much lower.
The professional fighting men, of which I was one, maintained their discipline, moral and combat effectiveness largely unscathed.
We wanted to be there, or anywhere else that there was a fight. Thats what we did, and to excel at that, you must maintain top physical & metal condition. Simple as that, really.
The conscripts couldn't hack it, and actually shouldn't have been expected to ,, And they showed their lack of discipline in many ways, smoking pot among them.
Ok I'm done ranting, I meant BJ by the way, instead of BG above.
Talented guy, above average song.
Not bad | Reviewer: Jesse | 10/29/10
As a USMC Vietnam vet [67-70] who is very familiar with Parris Island, I'll give Joel credit for putting into a few words quite alot of emotion.
For someone who was not there, the man obviously has a very good imagination ,,, I can assure you, not many hash pipes passed around with my crew though.
That was mostly rear echelon Army draftees, out in the field the last thing you'd want to do is dull your senses in any way, shape or form.
Once again, credit to BG for a nice tune, I like it.
How difficult is war, how difficult is peace. | Reviewer: Tom Clark
I hate war but have always loved this song. You could make a case for no wars but would tis allow peace. I don't have the answer but it hurts your soul everytime you see another body of our young and not so young coming back.
Emotionally Beautiful Song | Reviewer: Erin | 9/27/10
Every time I hear this song my heartbreaks for every single man and woman who fight for our freedom. My father, my hero, fought in the Vietnam War and actually flew the Huey helicopters and the stories he has told me have just literally brought me to tears, just as this song does every time it plays and I hear it. My father gave a lot for this country, the biggest of all was his health. He is still alive but his health is failing fast and it is due to the Agent Orange that he contracted while in Vietnam amongst other health issues.
I love Billy Joel because he sings with his heart and soul and I do not know many that do the same.
God Bless all of the troops and their families as I know it is a very difficult time and I will continue to pray that every troop is brought home safe. :-)
Just a fan, with tears in her eyes. | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/16/10
As a huge Billy Joel fan, and loving everything he has done, this song reduces me to tears I feel it is a tribute to the songwriter he clearly is, to produce such an epic song, that reminds lots of us after the V war exactly the feelings that were involved by those who took part. It states that so well as to be unforgettable. What a stain on America's history, perhaps like the Iraq/ Afghan war will be for Britain.
Dr Harris put it best...this song captures the everyday reality and tragedy of war. Often its the element of banality in these sort of crazy circumstances that make them all the more tragic. Like the best songwriters Billy Joel evokes the pathos of the tune perfectly by saying so much whilst saying very little. '...Remember Charlie, remember Baker, they left their childhood on every acre'. Teenagers killed in battle-could there be a more poignant image?
So difficult to be moving and make a statement without being manipulative. This song depicts the horror and sadness of the V-war for me in a way that makes it hard to listen to it despite its elegiac beauty. This is the power of music...it gives a voice sometimes to those unable to express it themselves for whatever reason.
Billy's greatest song | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/1/09
This is pure poetry, touching on a very deep level. I have seen it performed live, and it is very powerful. I think by pointing out so many monstrous aspects of war, this is one of best peace songs I have ever heard.
Touching | Reviewer: Sharon
I got to see him play this live and if you think the song tears at your heart on the radio, when it is live and you can feel the helicopter and the room vibrates from the instruments
It can make even the coldest heart break
My nephew is currently in Afghanistan and although we think of him all the time, today is just a bit different being Veterans Day
To All Who Have Served and Put On A Uniform For Us THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO FOR US
Regardless of your views, you put your life in harms way for those you have never met.
For your principles are strong and you deserve respect from all. Even those who did not join to serve at first, you begin to feel the pride of serving your country and you become a soldier
Happy Veterans Day to All Who Have Served
God Bless To All Those Still In. Be Safe
I was only recently introduced to this song by a friend. I Youtubed a number of performances of it by Billy Joel and they are all moving. Whatever your political views on the Vietnam war, and I opposed it at the time, Joel's song captures the everyday reality (and tragedy)of being
My enemy's enemy is my friend? Could this be one behaviour of humanity that has not evolved in 20000 years of human civilisation? Billy Joel had written a poignant yet harrowing song (Goodnight Saigon); however, if poetic license allows for open interpretation and exploration of ideas at the very edge of thought, then why narrow its intended meaning by making it a message about American patriotism? That is, our enemies have mothers, fathers and children as we do; they too have aspirations as we do; they too breathe the same air as we do; they too share this small planet; they too cherish their children's future and dreams as we do. After all, we are ALL in this thing together and if we're not then we all go down together. This short life and time that we share together should be bigger than the bondage that is provided by boundaries, lines of demarcation, ideology, colour, creed, race, sex, greed, religion, conflict and commerce. Only 8% of time on the human calendar has experienced peace, which means the balance of time, 92%, was spent at war. What or who's image are we made of? And, if you see that image as being a noble one that must stay the course, then there should be no misunderstooding why we will all go down together in an united front of blindness.
Anarkin | Reviewer: Anonymous | 5/19/09
This song is great!, conveys a lot of emotion and although it makes me feel sad for all solders in all countries, it also reminds me of the good feelings of honor and friendship. I try not to hear it too often so it doesn't loses it's appeal.
ps: everything else about war that is not this song, is just the same old story (hot air).
My favorite song | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/29/09
One day I was just innocently looking up tributes on YouTube for my favorite tv shows. I decided to search for ones about "The A-Team" and I found a really neat video. But while watching it, I listened to the song lyrics and found that my eyes were getting all misty and I had no clue what the lyrics were! Turns out it was goodnight Saigon and when I found out what the lyrics were I strted bawling my eyes out because even tho it fit the video so perfectly that it made it 1000000 times sadder, the song itself really got to me. Recently, we were working on projects in class and my friend (who is just as affected by the song and video btw) started playing that song am literally I felt my mood drop and my heart sink and my eyes start to tear up. It's a beautiful sad song about war and it's not just a bunch of patriotic crap! Anyone who claims it's just a rock ballad has me and my buddy and bunches of others to reckon with!!!
enough of the political bullsh*t | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/29/09
This song very meaningfully communicates the relationships and feeling amongst Marines...of any era. A Marine as well, I just returned from Al Anbar, Iraq, and find this song very meaningful and appropriate; No political stance taken whatsoever.
for one who hasn't served, please periodically remind yourself of the sacrifice (not life) necessary to allow our way of life to persist. someone has to do it, and it is very likely not you.
Who's we? | Reviewer: LittleBrother | 4/25/09
I 've always felt he meant both US and THEM in the chorus, together.
It gives me a stronger feeling of sacrifice that there were soldiers on both sides, waiting for each other and holding opposite positions in a locked embrace to the end...
Yes we would all go down together