“Goodnight Saigon” by Billy Joel (1982)


Preston BarstowBrett MakholmAlly JacquesBailey
  • Imagery:
    • What sensory experiences does the song describe?

Going to Vietnam as a soldier and dying for America

  • Syntax:
    • Where does the song use pauses, repetition, parallelism and/or unique sentence structure?

repetition when he says, night, right, knives

  • Diction:
    • What three words most impact to the overall feel of this song?

lives, corpses, together

  • How are musical devices (instrument choice, pacing, rhythm, vocals, etc.) used to enhance specific words' meaning?

We held the day in the palm of our hand, drums in between words

  • Details:
    • What is the subject of the song? Does it tell a story or declare a message?

It tells a story of how soldiers died in Vietnam together and they weren’t fighting for what was right. They were fighting for the men next to them.

    • ***If there are any allusions you do not know, research their details and decide how they add meaning to the song.
  • Tone:

Calm, proud, appreciative, angry

  • Use this list of tone words to describes the tone of the song’s language as revealed through imagery, syntax, diction, and details.


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