In 1965, the United States entered the infamous Vietnam War, which broke out ten years earlier. To note, it was one of the deadliest and costliest wars in history. The involvement of the U.S. in the war was a bit of a different story. It may vary from different points of view, and I am not here to make comments about what truly has happened because I am neither a historian nor a war veteran.
In the sight of artists and musicians, this event has sprung an opportunity and avenue to produce and release some music. Music has been a very effective tool in expressing one’s sentiments and opinions whether it be emotional, political or whatever comes along. Moreover, many songs about the war caught on and penetrated radio stations. While most ones are protest songs, there are a few that diverted the theme and made it more supportive. One of these songs is the 1965 Johnnie Wright classic “Hello Vietnam“.
About the Song
Released in 1965 by the Decca Label, “Hello Vietnam” was originally performed and recorded by American country music artist Johnnie Wright. American singer-songwriter Tom T. Hall penned the song while record producer Owen Bradley produced it. The song features the backing vocals of Kitty Wells, Wright’s wife. In addition, it was Wright’s most successful single on the U.S. country music chart as a solo artist.
“Hello Vietnam” was a chart topper. Spending almost twenty weeks on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, it stayed at no. 1 for three consecutive weeks in 1965.
Unusual as it is (as public support for the war somewhat collapsed), “Hello Vietnam” was recorded as support to our soldiers’ efforts during the Vietnam War. While protest songs dominated the music charts during that time, this song caught the attention of many as it focused on the soldiers’ heroic act for the country.
This message is very evident in the following stanza of the song as what was also reiterated by Wright:
I hope and pray someday the world will learn
That fires we don’t put out will bigger burn
We must save freedom now at any cost
Or someday our own freedom will be lost
Kiss me goodbye and write me while I’m gone
Goodbye my sweetheart, Hello Vietnam
Listen to Johnny Wright’s 1965 classic “Hello Vietnam” below:
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Hello Vietnam, Johnnie Wright