Wednesday, November 26, 2014
The Shirelles - Soldier Boy [original, 1962]
The Shirelles "Soldier Boy" was released in 1962, before the United States was fully involved in Vietnam, but there was enough U.S. involvement at this point that some of the more prominent newspapers and magazines began to question support for the Diem regime in South Vietnam. The public was becoming more aware of the conflict. Although U.S. combat troops were not officially deployed until February 1965, the U.S. had over 3,000 military personnel stationed in Vietnam by the end of 1961 and over 11,000 by the end of 1962. The song "Soldier Boy" is an appropriate reminder that young men will be transformed into soldiers, especially because the military draft was in effect, and all young men had to register when they turned 16. Deployment or not, military service was real for the boys of the early to mid-1960s, even before the U.S. officially sent combat troops into Southeast Asia, making "Soldier Boy" an appropriate offering for its time.