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Punk Bands, The UK’s ‘Troubles’ and The Vietnam War.

Punk Bands, The UK’s ‘Troubles’ and The Vietnam War.

Above Photo: The IRA bombs the Old Bailey in London.

I recently wrote about Iggy Pop and Vietnam War-referencing songs released after 1980 (see link at the end of this article).

For British Punk bands (as opposed to American ones) the Vietnam War was largely an irrelevance. This was because we had a bloody war of our own being fought on the streets of Britain, as the IRA’s bombing campaign in London and elsewhere intensified through the 1970s.


Aftermath of an IRA bombing on March 8, 1973, in a London street.

Aftermath of an IRA bombing in a London street on March 8, 1973.

These bombings, euphemistically referred to as “the Troubles”, are also mentioned in Bombed Out! as they formed an important news backdrop in 1970s Britain leading up to and during the Punk period.

Events in Vietnam still had an impact on Punk in the UK however,  and below I have set out five Punk/New Wave songs from 1980 or earlier, which reference the Vietnam War or aspects of it.

Eater's The Album.

Eater’s The Album.

I was a big fan of Eater when I was first getting into Punk, and I still like hearing their stuff, especially the track below (which qualifies for  the list of Vietnam War tracks with its reference to CIA chicanery) although some of their first album ‘The Album’, released in 1977, was a bit ropey.

Only one of the bands below is an American band – the Ramones, although of course Sid Vicious is covering an Iggy and the Stooges track, ‘Search and Destroy.’

The other bands are Eater, the Teardrop Explodes (surprisingly), and The Clash.

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The Ramones: Commando.


The Clash: Charlie Don’t Surf (1980 Sandanista).


Sid Vicious does Iggy’s Search and Destroy.


Teardrop Explodes: Went Crazy.


Eater: Thinking of the USA.

See also: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/history/iggy-pop-punk-and-the-vietnam-war/

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