‘Vietnam War’ Series Spawns 2 Soundtracks

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The Vietnam War, a new 10-part series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that will begin airing on PBS on Sept. 17, will be accompanied by two companion soundtracks to be released on September 15, Universal Music Enterprises has announced.

The Vietnam War—Original Score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will feature over 90 minutes of new, original music on 2-CD and 3-LP, written and recorded by Academy Award-winning composers Reznor and Ross. In addition, The Vietnam War—The Soundtrack includes many of the iconic songs representing the era, including 38 tracks on 2-CD chosen from the 120 tunes featured in the film. The soundtrack will include the Beatles; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Rolling Stones; Bob Dylan; Jimi Hendrix; Buffalo Springfield; Simon & Garfunkel; Janis Joplin; Phil Ochs; The Temptations; Barry McGuire; The Byrds; Otis Redding; The Animals; Santana; Marvin Gaye; Nina Simone; The Temptations; Booker T. and the M.G.s; Pete Seeger and more. The soundtrack can be pre-ordered here.

“The Vietnam War era produced some of the greatest, most impactful music ever recorded. We are grateful that so many artists from the period wanted to be part of the film and now the soundtrack. We were equally fortunate to have had the tremendous honor to work with Trent and Atticus. Their original score beautifully complements the music from the time. And we are absolutely thrilled that our audience will now have the chance to own the original score along with some of the best music from the film,” said Ken Burns and Lynn Novick in a joint statement.

Watch Reznor and Ross discuss the writing of the score

According to the press release, “In an immersive narrative, Burns and Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. The Vietnam War features testimony from nearly 80 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.

Ten years in the making, the series was written by Geoffrey C. Ward, and produced by Sarah Botstein, Novick and Burns. It includes rarely seen, digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, revelatory audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations.

Related: The story behind “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” a huge Vietnam-era hit

Over the course of several years, says the release, Burns, Novick and producer Sarah Botstein “shared with Reznor and Ross raw interview footage and scenes from rough cuts of the film, and suggested a range of feelings they hoped the music would evoke—rage, courage, sadness, fear, chaos, loss, love, sacrifice, aggression, loneliness, anxiety. They also provided a collection of sound effects from the era for the composers to work with.”

“The sheer scale of the project combined with the magnitude of the subject matter was initially daunting for us, but the commitment, care and reverence they displayed made the experience deeply satisfying on many levels,” said Reznor and Ross in a joint statement.

Accompanying the series will be a companion book, written by Ward, with an introduction by Burns and Novick, that will be published by Alfred A. Knopf, Burns’ longtime publisher.

The Vietnam War will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on Sept. 19 from PBS Distribution at shopPBS.org. The DVD and Blu-ray extras include a 45-minute preview program, two special segments on the contemporary lives of two of the program’s participants, and deleted scenes. The series will also be available for digital download.

Watch the official trailer for The Vietnam War

Track Listings

The Vietnam War – Original Score By Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

CD 1

  1. Less Likely
  2. Four Enclosed Walls
  3. The Forever Rain
  4. Remnants
  5. Other Ways To Get To The Same Place
  6. Torn Polaroid
  7. Before Dawn
  8. What Comes Back
  9. Justified Response
  10. Counting Ticks

CD 2

  1. A World Away
  2. The Right Things
  3. Passing The Point
  4. Strangers In Lockstep
  5. Before And After Faith
  6. The Same Dream
  7. Haunted

The Vietnam War – The Soundtrack

CD 1

  1. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan
  2. Hello Vietnam – Johnnie Wright
  3. It’s My Life – The Animals
  4. Eve Of Destruction – Barry Mcguire
  5. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) – The Byrds
  6. Masters Of War – The Staple Singers
  7. Mustang Sally – Wilson Pickett
  8. Smokestack Lightnin’ – Howlin’ Wolf
  9. Backlash Blues – Nina Simone
  10. The Sound Of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
  11. One Too Many Mornings – Bob Dylan
  12. Ain’t Too Proud To Beg – The Temptations
  13. Are You Experienced? – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  14. I’m A Man – The Spencer Davis Group
  15. Green Onions – Booker T And The Mg’s
  16. Strange Brew – Cream
  17. Waist Deep In The Big Muddy (Live) – Pete Seeger
  18. A Whiter Shade Of Pale – Procol Harum
  19. The Lord Is In This Place – Fairport Convention
  20. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield

CD 2

  1. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right – Bob Dylan
  2. Piece Of My Heart – Big Brother & The Holding Company
  3. Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf
  4. The Letter – The Box Tops
  5. Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  6. Soul Sacrifice – Santana
  7. Tell The Truth – Otis Redding
  8. Okie From Muskogee – Merle Haggard
  9. The Thrill Is Gone – B.B. King
  10. Psychedelic Shack – The Temptations
  11. Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  12. Get Together – The Youngbloods
  13. Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
  14. Tail Dragger – Link Wray
  15. America The Beautiful – Ray Charles
  16. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
  17. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel
  18. Let It Be – The Beatles


Watch a preview of the series and a conversation with Ken Burns

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