Author Tim O’Brien (b. 1946) served in the Vietnam War in 1969. In this film outtake, he recalls the hard rock and roll he listened to that was a “partly embittered and partly idealistic soundtrack.”
“One of my most powerful memories of Vietnam has nothing to do with bullets and firefights,” O’Brien says before describing a moment when two platoons started singing together. One person began singing the Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” and everyone else joined in, “like a boys choir.”
“We made it [the song] ours,” says O’Brien who quotes the lyrics, “Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.”
American Masters: The Boomer List, premiering nationwide Tuesday, September 23, 9-10:30 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), tells the story of this influential generation through the lives of 19 iconic boomers—one born each year of the baby boom (1946 to 1964).
PBSAmericanMasters Playlist: Music of the Boomer Generation
Our PBSAmericanMasters Spotify Playlist: Music of the Boomer Generation includes icons of American pop, folk and soul, including American Masters like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Carole King, Paul Simon and more. Sign up for a free Spotify Account to listen to the playlist.