We Gotta Get Into This Place

THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME: Gisborne duo Wally Te Ua and Lynette Stankovich will perform songs from the Vietnam War era at the White House on Sunday. Pictured here is Tom Jones, who made Green Green Grass of Home an anthem of homesickness among Vietnam War servicemen, in a duet with counter-culture rocker Janis Joplin in 1969 TV show, This is Tom Jones.

The White House seems an appropriate venue to acknowledge Vietnam Veterans Day — even if the leader of the free world has compared his work and social life as a real estate developer to sacrifices made by soldiers in the distant country.

On Sunday, the real White House in Peel Street will ring with a range of music from the Vietnam war era performed by Gisborne duo Queen Bee.

Some of the 20th century’s most defining pop music emerged from the period during which the Vietnam War was fought, writes Time magazine reporter Lily Rothman. Counter culture, acid rock and protest songs were among genres produced during the Vietnam War but “music also played an important role for those who were actually in Vietnam, fighting.”

Authors of We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War, Doug Bradley and Craig Werner, say a key reason was the role technology played in getting the music to the battlefield.

“Between radio, portable record players, early cassette players and live bands coming to Vietnam, soldiers in that war had far more access to music than their forebears,” says Rothman.

Bradley: “There was silence in the field, but in the rear there was music everywhere. It was the same music that your non-soldier peers were listening to in America, so it was a shared soundtrack.”

Porter Wagoner’s Green Green Grass of Home, made popular by Tom Jones, tapped into servicemen’s loneliness, heartache and homesickness and holds a special place in Vietnam vets’ hearts.

Vietnam Veterans Day falls on Saturday.

On Sunday, Vietnam War veteran Wally Te Ua and Lynette Stankovich, as duo Queen Bee, will perform tunes from their extensive repertoire based on Te Ua’s recollection as a former Vietnam War serviceman. Soldiers in-country listened to the armed forces radio station AFVN in Saigon, says Te Ua.

“From this, the Kiwis would produce their own acoustic guitar interpretations when they were not engaged in the field on operations. Unlike modern day conflicts, limited alcohol was available — two cans per man per day. Hard liquor at heavily discounted prices to be sent home could be purchased at the American PX stores.

“Hard drug use among our soldiers and the Aussies was not popular. Cigarettes and alcohol were.”

American and Australian entertainers occasionally visited the troops.

“On one occasion the Maori Volcanics performed for our boys.”

Queen Bee, featuring Wally Te Ua and Lynette Stankovich, perform at the White House, Peel Street, on Sunday, 1pm. Free entry.

The White House seems an appropriate venue to acknowledge Vietnam Veterans Day — even if the leader of the free world has compared his work and social life as a real estate developer to sacrifices made by soldiers in the distant country.

On Sunday, the real White House in Peel Street will ring with a range of music from the Vietnam war era performed by Gisborne duo Queen Bee.

Some of the 20th century’s most defining pop music emerged from the period during which the Vietnam War was fought, writes Time magazine reporter Lily Rothman. Counter culture, acid rock and protest songs were among genres produced during the Vietnam War but “music also played an important role for those who were actually in Vietnam, fighting.”

Authors of We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War, Doug Bradley and Craig Werner, say a key reason was the role technology played in getting the music to the battlefield.

“Between radio, portable record players, early cassette players and live bands coming to Vietnam, soldiers in that war had far more access to music than their forebears,” says Rothman.

Bradley: “There was silence in the field, but in the rear there was music everywhere. It was the same music that your non-soldier peers were listening to in America, so it was a shared soundtrack.”

Porter Wagoner’s Green Green Grass of Home, made popular by Tom Jones, tapped into servicemen’s loneliness, heartache and homesickness and holds a special place in Vietnam vets’ hearts.

Vietnam Veterans Day falls on Saturday.

On Sunday, Vietnam War veteran Wally Te Ua and Lynette Stankovich, as duo Queen Bee, will perform tunes from their extensive repertoire based on Te Ua’s recollection as a former Vietnam War serviceman. Soldiers in-country listened to the armed forces radio station AFVN in Saigon, says Te Ua.

“From this, the Kiwis would produce their own acoustic guitar interpretations when they were not engaged in the field on operations. Unlike modern day conflicts, limited alcohol was available — two cans per man per day. Hard liquor at heavily discounted prices to be sent home could be purchased at the American PX stores.

“Hard drug use among our soldiers and the Aussies was not popular. Cigarettes and alcohol were.”

American and Australian entertainers occasionally visited the troops.

“On one occasion the Maori Volcanics performed for our boys.”

Queen Bee, featuring Wally Te Ua and Lynette Stankovich, perform at the White House, Peel Street, on Sunday, 1pm. Free entry.

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