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Big & Rich’s “8th Of November” Is More Than Just Another Song About Vietnam

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Country artists have never held back when it comes to recording songs about the wars the United States has been involved in, supporting our troops through music – “8th of November” is just one of these songs.

In 2006, country music duo Big & Rich released “8th of November” as the third and final single off their album Comin’ to Your City. It quickly became a country hit, peaking at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. It also managed to get in Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 94.

The song received so much recognition, but it was for its back story rather than its recording itself.

A Tribute To Our Vietnam Veterans

Big Kenny and John Rich wrote “8th of November” forty years after meeting Niles Harris, one of the men who survived the infamous battle in 1965 referred to as “8th of November.” Harris inspired the duo to compose a song about the 173rd Airborne Brigade. During Operation Hump in War Zone D, they were ambushed by over a thousand Viet Cong troops. Forty-eight men fighting with Harris lost their lives that day.

This song tells the story of Harris’ life, from the time he joined the Army at the age of nineteen to being shipped to Vietnam, going through a gruesome battle and its effect on his life now that he’s fifty-eight. It begins with a spoken introduction by Kris Kristofferson, where he described Harris as “the guy who gave Big Kenny his top hat.” 

The intro also mentions Lawrence Joll, a medic who saved so many lives during the battle that day. Since the Spanish-American War, he “was the first livin’ black man to receive the United States Medal of Honor.”

“8th of November” comes with a music video directed by the American film company based in Nashville, Deaton-Flanigen Productions. The short clip began with Kristofferson uttering the intro, and then it cut to the duo performing in front of a big screen, showing the images of Harris’ life. It earned a nomination for Video of the Year during the 49th Annual Grammy Awards and CMA Awards, and ACM Awards.

The song was also nominated Song of The Year during CMA Awards.

“On the eighth of November, the angels were crying as they carried his brothers away with the fire raining down and the hell all around. There were few men left standing that day. Saw the eagle fly through a clear blue sky. 1965, the eighth of November,” the song goes.

You can listen to “8th of November” in the video below.

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