10 Songs that Represent My Military Service

[July 9, 2024]  A couple of days ago and out of the blue, I received a phone call from radio personality Reverend Jim Drucker out of Philadelphia, also known as the “Rock n’Roll Priest.” He got me thinking about the music representing my military service in the U.S. Army.  Certainly, given my four decades of service, I had a long list.  “If you could give me ten songs, that would be great,” he asked.

My challenge was to pair the list to ten from hundreds, most of which are now on my iPhone music app.  My top ten is here, and somehow, they are inadequate because ten cannot truly represent my service since my taste in music has changed, and newer songs have come out that were just as good.  I did my best.  Here is what I decided on as the 10 songs that represent my military service.

  1. The Green Leaves of Summer (1960) by The Brothers Four. The song was written for the 1960 film “The Alamo.”  I watched this film as a little boy.  The song is played as the backdrop as the sole survivors of the battle of the Alamo depart the fortress after the Mexican army kills its defenders to the last man.  This song will be played at my funeral.
  2. On the Road Again (1980), sung by Willie Nelson. It was one of the few songs I had on cassette tape, and I played it every time I traveled, which was often.  I would sing it aloud in my car to put myself in a good mood.
  3. Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (2002) by Toby Keith. In this song, Toby Keith tells the story of America coming under attack (September 11, 2001) and how we will light up their world, brought to them courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.  The good old US of A.  Justice will be served.  Uncle Sam will put a boot up their ass.  And we did.
  4. Highway to the Danger Zone(1986) by Kenny Loggins. I was an Infantry Lieutenant in a Mechanized Infantry unit in command of a Platoon of 33 Soldiers when this song came out.  We had only recently returned from the invasion of Grenada a couple of years earlier.  The song also played that year in the movie Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins, and Kelly McGillis.
  5. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1965) by The Rolling Stones. This song never gets old.  It’s the greatest rock and roll song ever.  This is the most Mick Jagger song that Mick Jagger ever sang.  I first heard this song when I was a freshman in high school, and I always loved it.
  6. Hold the Line (1978) by rock band Toto … “Love isn’t always on time,” we are told. This song has a simple but pleasant piano play and heavy guitars.  I always appreciated the drumbeat and pace, and maybe that is why I recorded it on a 3M cassette tape, as played by KOSU Radio 91.7 FM radio, Stillwater, OK.
  7. School’s Out (1972) by Alice Cooper. I hated school.  Hated it.  I wanted to be free and run and run and be me.  This song always made me smile.  It would be much later in life, after multiple college degrees, military schools, and the discipline of the Army, that I learned freedom truly comes from being highly disciplined.  Alice Cooper sings several versions; this one is my favorite.
  8. Born on the Bayou (1969) by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I was born on the bayou in southern Arkansas and lived to fish, swim, hunt, camp out, and lay about the bayou’s banks, where I lived for many years.  This song takes me back to my southern roots.
  9. Summer of ‘69 (1985) by Bryan Adams. Not to be confused with Pink Floyd’s Summer of ’68, Adams delivers a pumped-up, simple song about looking back on the summertime, rolling the car windows down on a warm evening while watching the sun go down.  The song transports us to the “Summer of ’69.”
  10. Onward Christian Soldiers (1865/1871), sung by millions, I like this version by The Sanctuary Choir led by Dr. Terry Morris: First Methodist Houston, downtown Houston, Texas.

Here I sit: a 72-year-old, professional soldier, Christian, and family man.  I’m straight out of the 1950s Deep South America and living proof that good music transcends culture, ideology, and politics, and music is art in its most brilliant yet basic form – a few of my honorable mentions that didn’t make the top ten.

  • Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in D minor- Ode to Joy (1824).  Beethoven was a composer who wrestled with fate, who believed in freedom, who was a voice for the world and still is.  The movie A Clockwork Orange nearly ruined the music for me.  This one linked here is an exert played at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and New York Choral Artists, led by conductor Franz Welser-Möst on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, ten years ago, just before my retirement.
  • All Shook Up (1957) by Elvis Presley is one of my all-time favorite songs from my youth and one of two of my father’s favorites, along with Elvis’ Hound Dog (1953).
  • Born This Way by Lady Gaga (2010) this one is an off-the-wall pick. I just liked it.
  • I Get Around (1964) by The Beach Boys — a soft rock beach song for the ages. I love ocean beaches, not those found in the Middle East but on America’s coasts and the Gulf.  You can’t get more American than this song.
  • Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter (1965), written by Trevor Peacock. Herman’s Hermits sang the most popular version.  I first heard it on the Ed Sullivan Show that same year.  Yeah, I’m that old.
  • I’m a Believer (1966) by The Monkees. I’m lucky to have been born when I could enjoy this song.  I remember rushing home from school to watch The Monkees.

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NOTE: See my Reading Lit (Updated): https://www.theleadermaker.com/reading-list/

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Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

23 thoughts on “10 Songs that Represent My Military Service

  1. New Girl

    Sir, a great list and one that deserves praise. I would like to add ““Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWijx_AgPiA
    Every time I hear this song, it reminds me of the Vietnam War and those who were there to help fight off the “communist horde.” Of course, like Gen. Satterfield says, the war was a strategic success, even tho we may have lost South Vietnam. The communists were burnt out and it showed how horrible they were daily to the American citizen. Despite the fall of so many Americans who still love communism, the world has largely rejected that ideology for freedom.

    Reply
  2. JT Patterson

    Gen. Satterfield, wow wow wow, such a exceptional list of songs. I know you could have added many more, like so many of us who have live a few decades. As you know, I’m one of your longest running commentators and a daily reader. I find trends here on your blog and this is one article that is out of pattern and I must say that I ‘love’ it. The more I learn about your likes and dislikes, the better.

    Reply
    1. Linda K. Rosenkrantz

      Hi JT, I’m new to this website, well fairly new. First post. I too like the idea of Satterfield’s music list, those songs that are closely connected to his service in the army. Many of us could do the same, even though I’m not a veteran (wish I were) or a very strong person (but I aspire to be). I hope there are more songs added to this list and soon. Here are a couple to consider:
      1. House of the Rising Sun, The Animals
      2. All Along the Watchtower, Bob Dylan / Jimi Hendrix

      Reply
  3. Kerry

    I see there are no Beatles songs. Is this an oversight. They were the greatest band in the 1960s and 70s? Just wondering. Asking for a friend. Secretly, I don’t like them either.

    Reply
    1. Jerome Smith

      aiken, yeah, thinking the same thing. This is an ‘amazing’ list of songs from those times. I see a slight bias toward music from the 1960s, which was a great time for rock and roll, jazz, and the blues music. Knowing what little I know about Gen. Doug Satterfield, these are no surprised except Lady Gaga in the honorable mention category. He says he just liked it. I listened to the song too and found it enticing, but a bit warped. Maybe that is what it takes to be creative.

      Reply
  4. Bobby Joe

    Gen. Satterfield has done it again. Great list and reference for the future too. I’ll be listening to these all day.

    Reply
  5. Sadako Red

    Now, Gen. Doug Satterfield has given us something of art that does, indeed, transcend all cultures. Music is a part of the human experience and those experiences are connected to our lives. Like Gen. S. notes All Shook Up and Hound Dog by Elvis Presley. If you are looking for a list to play while your friends are around, this list will go a long way to entertaining them, connecting them to the American culture, helping them “see” what needs to be seen about the greatest country on earth and how being a soldier or any service member links all this in one big group of wonders. Well done, Gen. S.

    Reply
    1. bottom feeder

      Hi Red, love your articles and what you do for us and for America. ❤

      Reply
      1. Kenny Foster

        Sadako Red is one of the more intelligent guest writers for Gen. Satterfield’s blog. We’ve not had the honor of reading any of them lately – given his job in the bureaucracy, and having his hands full – but let us not forget to read some of his past articles, they are just as relevant today as when they were written, maybe even more so.

        Reply
  6. Danny Burkholder

    Here I am jamming to these songs! GREAT LIST …. thanks. I would add “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie. 😌🎵😌

    Reply
  7. Yiddy of Macedonia

    I would put “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood into your list. Just me. I also noted that these are not just patriotic songs about America’s greatness and its citizens but songs of that era that you connect with while in the military service. I went thru them all and listened to them. Excellent choices and very popular with most. I got a kick out of Alice Cooper’s “Schools Out” because that is a perfect fit from what you’ve told us about you not liking school. What we all found interesting is that you are highly educated nonetheless.

    Reply
    1. Library Girl

      Yiddy, this article was not typical of Gen. Satterfield but once you get into llstening to the music, they start to make sense and the Alice Cooper song you mentioned is a perfect example.

      Reply
  8. Army Captain

    Well done Gen. Satterfield and I will also note for those who do not know, these are all very popular songs, most of which hit the top of the charts the year they came out. Some of the classics like Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in D minor- Ode to Joy (1824) is in a category all its own. As well as religious songs. One of my favs are patriotic songs in general. Here is an article that gives a great list. “50 Best Patriotic Songs to Add to Your ‘Proud to Be American’ Playlist” These are found all over the internet. But what I see here are not necessarily patriotic songs but those that you listened to and enjoyed while in the service. Good luck with these and I recommend that you put these in a tab on your website for future easy access. Thank you sir.

    Reply
  9. ashley

    Reminds me of my life long ago as I was into music and played in a band. thanks Gen. Satterfield for taking me back in time.
    🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵

    Reply
    1. Xerces II

      ♬♫♪◖(●◡●)◗♪♫♬
      ♬♫♪◖(●◡●)◗♪♫♬
      ♬♫♪◖(●◡●)◗♪♫♬

      Reply

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