War-themed Music Videos

We were driving in the car with the radio on when they played Stan Ridgway’s Camouflage. Camouflage is not just a song, it’s a real story. A fascinating story of a young Marine who gets lost in the jungle and is helped by another Marine, a big Marine called Camouflage. It’s really worth listening to the lyrics. While I listened to it, I thought of how often war is a theme in songs. Now, this is a blog on war movies, and so I thought it is fitting to see how many times war isn’t only in the lyrics, like in OMD’s Enola Gay, but how often it’s actually used in the video. How many war-themed music videos are there? One could argue these are mini war movies. I found seven so far, if you know any others, feel free to share. Don’t take it too seriously it’s just a little bit of light Sunday afternoon entertainment.

Which one do you prefer and why? Because of the music or the video?

Some of the links below will redirect you to YouTube.

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53 thoughts on “War-themed Music Videos

  1. warmoviebuff says:

    What a fantastic topic. Brilliant. I will let you know what I think of the one’s you picked and then try to find some others. I know a few songs that have lyrics about war, but I do not know if they were made into videos.

  2. warmoviebuff says:

    1- I liked Ridgway from when he was with “Wall of Voodoo”. He always writes interesting songs, but this one is a bit silly. I laughed at the part where Camouflage ripped the palm tree out of the ground to kill some VC.
    2 – This was the best one because of the numerous clips from war movies. I recognized Black Hawk Down, Three Kings, Green Zone, and Transformers and I imagine there were some others. The thing that kept the video from being very good was the repetitiveness of the shots.
    3 – The Irish situation was not really what I would call a war. The video fits the song well. I still don’t know why the song is called Zombie.
    4 – This could be the best, but I cannot understand the language and could not identify the war.
    5 – Is he being rescued from Gitmo? Pretty silly. Video does not seem to fit the lyrics.
    6 – Old geezers playing army. Sincere though. Some props to the troops – commendable.
    7 – Ridiculous 1970s video symbolism. Reminded me of the early days of MTV.
    I will now try to find some others to add to your list.

    • I enjoy Camouflage, didn’t hear the bit with the palm tree though… I just like the idea of a ghost helping and was immediately imagining a story… Imagine Susan Hill (who is famous for her ghost stories) was going to do a Vietnam one.
      I am huge fan of 30 Seconds to Mars and, yes, thought it looks good.
      I believe The Troubles were a war, guess every Irish perosn would do so too. Plus I love The Cranberries as well…
      Litfiba are great. Italian hard rock band, real machos so it is not always in good tatste to say you like them (depending on who you are taklking to). They gave me the idea… It looks like Eritrea… I guess Italy was meddling around there for a long time… I will have to listen to it again and post maybe the lyrics. Cambodia is almost funny and the one before… Yeah well, Status Quo, what can you say…
      Curious to see what you come up with…

  3. Sean says:

    Surely this is the best

  4. Sean says:

    And another good one featuring Churchill`s famous speech and actual footage

  5. Sean says:

    Another of my favourites, written after 9/11, very patriotic if your American

  6. warmoviebuff says:

    “One” by Metallica (using clips from Johnny Get Your Gun) and “Rooster” by Alice in Chains.

  7. Sean says:

    Some good Viet nam footage

  8. Sean says:

    Not a bad song. not really a vid though

  9. Sean says:

    Not quite sure what to make of this one, but as its only just gone Xmas, good tidings

  10. Recsy2 says:

    How about Running with the Shadows of the night by Pat Benetar and Some Nights by Fun?

  11. nem baj says:

    More Military than War, albeit shot on an actual US Navy frigate, the USS Reasoner… Those were the eighties. 🙂

  12. nem baj says:

    The Seven Years’ War: Mylène Farmer’s Pourvu qu’elles soient douces (1988).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pourvu_qu'elles_soient_douces

    • That’s interesting in a bizarre and daring way. Certainly a very long video. I wonder why she chose the Seven Year’s War as a setting. Obvioulsy symbolica ne way or the other.

      • nem baj says:

        My guess would be that the director and singer never tried to hide their admiration for Kubrick, particularly Barry Lyndon (cf. the music video for Libertine) – a film which features the Seven Years’ War.

        Also, the young Donatien de Sade fought in this particular conflict. Considering the subject here, I wonder if this fact was known to the authors.

      • I see where they are coming from but that doesn’t justify the choice yet. Is it purely esthetical, you think?

  13. nem baj says:

    French Hip-Hop, Iraq & Afghanistan (& others): La Fin de leur monde (The End of their world, 2006) by Akhenaton feat. IAM. Said to have been officially banned from French TV and radio, although I can’t find any evidence to support the claim. Tough editing of news images, though.

  14. nem baj says:

    On the lighter side, a Cold War classic: Elton John’s Nikita (1985). The music video was directed by Ken Russel but it doesn’t show, and East German GrenzTruppen uniforms are only roughly accurate.

    However, I remember that in 87/88 a gorgeous-looking female GT officer was regularly popping out of the border post at Checkpoint Charlie to check the IDs of French superior officers going to East-Berlin. She was some kind of a legend – according to which she was a Captain in the KGB disguised under a GDR uniform.

    Sure, the woman was real, a blue-eyed brunette with as far as I could tell a slight slavic accent. But was it a fantasy inspired by the song? Had the song itself been inspired by a soldier’s dream, or by actual events? I’ll probably never know…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikita_%28song%29

  15. Stephano says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOZDKlpybZE early and influential attempt of war-themed MV!

  16. Darren McMillan says:

    Try Fade to Black by Metallica.

  17. Patsy Whyte (@patsy_whyte) says:

    How about We Are Skittles? It’s a song I co-wrote and sing. And please share if you think it’s any good. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdR3-Vy0r34

  18. palaweno22 says:

    here’s is one of my favorite videos from one of my favorite bands… its D-day…

  19. palaweno22 says:

    here’s Fun with an american civil war video
    also… Coldplay WW1 tribute

  20. palaweno22 says:

    also here… its one of her better videos…

    also, how about a story about two revolutionaries reminiscing about the mexican war?

    also Green Day, the song is actually about the lead singer’s dad dying…

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