"Goodnight Saigon" By: Billy Joel
We met as soul mates on Parris Island
We left as inmates from an asylum
And we were sharp, as sharp as knives
And we were so gung ho to lay down our lives
We came in spastic like tameless horses
We left in plastic as numbered corpses
And we learned fast to travel light
Our arms were heavy but our bellies were tight
We had no home front, we had no soft soap
They sent us Playboy, they gave us Bob Hope
We dug in deep and shot on sight
And prayed to Jesus Christ with all our might
We had no cameras to shoot the landscape
We passed the hash pipe and played our Doors’ tapes
And it dark, so dark at night
And we held on to each other
Like brother to brother
We promised our mothers we’d write
And we would all go down together
We said we’d all go down together
Yes we would all go down together
Remember Charlie, remember Baker
They left their childhood on every acre
And who was wrong? And who was right?
It didn’t matter in the thick of the fight
We held the day in the palm of our hand
They ruled the night, and the night
Seemed to last as long as six weeks…
…on Parris Island.
We held the coastline, they held the highlands
And they were sharp, as sharp as knives
They heard the hum of our motors
They counted the rotors
And waited for us to arrive
Imagery, Diction, Syntax, and Details Analysis
The song starts out with very good imagery like these lines "We came in spastic like tameless horses, We left in plastic as numbered corpses." It gives a good example of how the soldiers entered Vietnam ready to fight, but ended up dying in combat not being able to return to their families.
After this part of the song the chorus, so to speak, comes up in the song. "We said we’d all go down together. Yes we would all go down together." These words explain the connection the soldiers had with each other. They were more than friends and would die for the person next to them.
As the song goes there isn't much detail that explains any actual event in history besides the war itself. Besides the lines of "They sent us Playboy, they gave us Bob Hope", and "We passed the hash pipe and played our Doors’ tapes," explaining what the soldiers did while they weren't on the front lines fighting communism.
Billy Joel uses many interesting words in this song but i chose out a few that stood out. Spastic and Gung Ho are the two words that stood out. Spastic was used in the form that the soldiers were nervous. Gung Ho means "enthusiastic" or "overzealous"in english terms. In the song it meant the soldiers were hyped or looking forward to fighting.
The music itself has a Sentimental feel to it. While Joel is playing this song the piano and the guitar are almost the same, in like a monotone. While the song progressed further it got louder but still had the sentimental feel to it.
The lyrics are sentimental but from reading the lyrics the words change and is pessimistic. This meaning that the soldiers are happy but fear for the worse as they see how bad this war can be.