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The Executioner’s Song Part II: Return of the "On Violence" Song Battle!

So it happened again. Eric C was listening to a song and declared, with his usual amount of narcissism, that it was “the greatest war song of all time” (of course, war does not make songs great). When we told Matty P what Eric had said, we all knew what was coming: The Return of the On Violence Song Battle! Executioner's Song Part II (Check out the first installment here.)

Here’s how this works: Each fighter gets 400 words to make their case for their song. On Tuesday, Michael C will come out swinging with The Pogues’ version of “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. On Wednesday, Eric C will celebrate Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier”. And on Thursday, Matty P will try for the knock out with Garth Brooks’ “Belleau Wood”.

On Friday we will have the Royal Rumble as each fighter brings out 400 words in rebuttal.

The only rule? That there are no rules--except for the word count restrictions.

I want a good clean fight. No punching below the belt and no cheap shots. With that said, “Let’s get it on!”

(What's your favorite war song? Toss it out the comments below.)

ten comments

Awesome – so glad I discovered your blog in time for this battle royal. I incline towards the Pogues, but Marley is a worthy contender. Will have to check out the Garth Brooks. And will try to keep an open mind as I read each fighter’s 400.

Well guys, I’d like to suggest that once you’ve gotten the preliminaries out of the way and you’re sitting there wondering why on earth you ever felt there was even a competition for Matilda, you consider deepening the discussion.

The Pogues or the Dubliners – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2wK-5RxG.. – rendition of this bitter poetry?

Shane’s unhinged, deranged and drink-addled self-pity or the jagged edged chrystal-clarity of damned nationalism by the Dubs?

And perhaps later, Owen or Sassoon for surely, Matilda is worthy of that.

It’s one two three four what are we fighting for? Country Joe and the Fish on Vietnam.

BTW, another suggestion would be “The Gunners Dream” by Pink Floyd, though even better if the whole Final Cut album is taken into consideration.

Bruce Springstein’s War Song. Born in the USA is a classic.

Born down in a dead man’s town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much
‘Til you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

I got in a little hometown jam
And so they put a rifle in my hands
Sent me off to Vietnam
To go and kill the yellow man


Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says “Son if it was up to me”
I go down to see the V.A. man
He said “Son don’t you understand”


I had a buddy at Khe Sahn
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They’re still there, he’s all gone
He had a little girl in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I’m ten years down the road
Nowhere to run, ain’t got nowhere to go

I’m a long gone Daddy in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I’m a cool rocking Daddy in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

Pantera’s “Cowboys from Hell” is as epic as it gets for the war soundtrack type song. But for the “war memoir” type song, I’ve gotta throw Big and Rich’s “8th of November” into the mix.

8th of November is good.

So is Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This.”

Or “The Green Fields of France” by any number of singers.

Five to One by the Doors. A social war song really as Morrison apparently read before he wrote it that there were roughly 5 young for every 1 old.

Specifically, these lyrics:

The old get old
And the young get stronger
May take a week
And it may take longer
They got the guns
But we got the numbers
Gonna win, yeah
We’re takin’ over
Come on!


Your ballroom days are over, baby
Night is drawing near
Shadows of the evening crawl across the years
Ya walk across the floor with a flower in your hand
Trying to tell me no one understands
Trade in your hours for a handful dimes
Gonna’ make it, baby, in our prime

Can’t find written lyrics but here’s the website for video


EAS song… marines.

U2 War Songs
Lyrics to the U2 album War:

Sunday Bloody Sunday

I can’t believe the news today
I can’t close my eyes and make it go away
How long? how long must we sing this song?
How long? how long?
‘Cause tonight we can be as one – tonight

Broken bottles under children’s feet
Bodies strewn across the dead end street
But I won’t heed the battle call
It puts my back up, puts my back up against the wall

Sunday, bloody Sunday
Sunday, bloody Sunday —

And the battle’s just begun
There’s many lost, but tell me who has won?
The trenches dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart

Sunday, bloody Sunday
Sunday, bloody Sunday

How long? how long must we sing this song?
How long? how long?
‘Cause tonight we can be as one – tonight
[Sunday, bloody Sunday]
Tonight, tonight
[Sunday, bloody Sunday]

Wipe the tears from your eyes
Wipe your tears away
I’ll wipe your tears away
I’ll wipe your tears away
[Sunday, bloody Sunday]
I’ll wipe your bloodshot eyes
[Sunday, bloody Sunday]
Sunday, bloody Sunday

And it’s true we are immune
When fact is fiction and TV reality
And today the millions cry
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die

The real battle yet begun
[Sunday, bloody Sunday]
To claim the victory Jesus won
[Sunday, bloody Sunday]
On Sunday, bloody Sunday
Sunday, bloody Sunday

[Editor’s Note: Song lyrics are copyrighted, so we cannot include lyrics to an entire album.]