Music History (In a Roundabout Way)

by Brian H.

Whether we realized it or not we’ve all been offered a course in music history through the documentaries created by Ken Burns. The films he creates tell stories from history through images and film footage with narration. They also feature a good deal of music that significantly helps with telling these stories.

The most recent of these films is The Vietnam War. 18 hours of documentary providing opportunity to feature music from the 1940s to the mid 1970s. A daunting task for the music editors. However, there is no other era where music tells the story as well as the music of the 60s does. The music editors for this series have done a bang up job putting together selections to highlight and follow along with the history and significant impact felt during the Vietnam era.

“This is what America – and the world – heard during the Vietnam war and pop music’s most revolutionary age. It still sounds like yesterday.” David Fricke Rolling Stone -Vietnam War Soundtrack

See all the music selections used in The Vietnam war documentary series on the PBS website.

Continue exploring history and music through these wonderful documentary resources.

Whew! That’s a lot of options to explore history and music. If you just want to hear few tracks used in the film The Vietnam War here is a playlist with one track from each of the 10 episodes for you to listen to.

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