"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

Chorus:

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

chorus...

Imagery, Diction, Syntax, and Details Analysis

Imagery:

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.

Syntax:

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.

Details Analysis:

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.

Diction:

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.

Tone

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.

Comment Stream