The music on the radio in the late 1960s is the silent soundtrack of Seeking Quan Am. All of it can be found on YouTube but with a free account on Spotify you can hear the songs and artists they mention all in one place.
To keep this playlist from becoming a version of the Greatest Hits of the 60s, the list includes only songs and/or artists who appear in the book.
- “Climb Every Mountain” from The Sound of Music.
This was sung at Mark and Susan’s high school graduation, Susan at the piano.
- “Four Strong Winds,” Ian and Sylvia.
The folk music scene of the early 60s provided a soundtrack for both Mark and Susan.
- “Green, Green,” The New Christy Minstrels.
Susan couldn’t get enough of happy, bouncy songs like this. Found in “What’s War Got To Do With It?”
- “Roddy McCorley,” The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.
Susan could sing along to most of the repertoire of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. Resistance songs such as this influenced her political thinking.
- “Bonny Streets of Fyve-Io,” The Chad Mitchell Trio.
The Chad Mitchell Trio influenced Susan musically and politically. The soaring harmonies of “Fyve-Io” are the Trio at its best.
- “I’m A Loser,” The Beatles.
Mark remembers harmonizing on this song in a scene which constitutes the emotional heart of his account, found in “The Grim Landscape.”
- “Universal Soldier,” Buffy Sainte Marie.
Both the song and the artist played a role in Susan’s anti-war education.
- “What Did You Learn in School Today?”
The Chad Mitchell Trio. Songs such as this taught Susan that truth could be conveyed through irony.
- “Desolation Row,” Bob Dylan.
Mark put up a sign over his bunker at Bong Son naming it “Desolation Row.” Found in “Why I Went Back.”
- “Norwegian Wood,” The Beatles.
Susan loved most of the Beatles’ work for its energy but “Norwegian Wood” for its sitar. Found in “What’s War Got To Do With It?”
- “Eve of Destruction,” Barry McGuire.
The world had already changed dramatically from “Green Green” and “Eve of Destruction” was an early warning.
- “Turn, turn, turn,” The Byrds.
Susan held onto this one as her world turned upside down.
- “With God On Our Side,” Joan Baez.
Love of the musical partnership of Dylan and Baez linked Mark and Susan’s experience, although Mark was more heavily influenced by Dylan and Susan by Baez.
- “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” The Animals.
This is one of many songs that Mark – and other veterans – heard differently than Susan did.
- “We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet,” The Blues Magoos.
This was playing on the radio when Mark saw the gunship explode. Found in “Duster Hill above LZ Uplift.”
- “Visions of Johanna,” Bob Dylan.
Mark said, “But nobody ever got those black, fathomless nights down more accurately than Dylan in ‘Visions of Johanna.'” Found in “Death’s Golden Eyes.”
- “The End,” The Doors.
Although now inextricably tied to “Apocalypse Now,” “The End” was a revelation to Susan when the album came out.
- “Spooky,” Classics IV.
Susan said, “There was a song on the radio with a refrain that went, “Love is kind of crazy with a spooky little girl like you,” and that worked for me, the world I was trying to learn to love seeming very crazy just then.” Found in “The Monster in the Labyrinth.
- “For What It’s Worth,” Buffalo Springfield.
A theme song for Susan.
- “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” (Jerusalem of Gold), Liba Erlish.
This was playing on the radio in the United States and then was everywhere in Israel after the Six Day War. Found in “What’s War Got to Do With it?”
- “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” Peter, Paul, and Mary.
Peter, Paul, and Mary did not mean a lot to either Mark or Susan but this one spoke to Susan’s focus on travel. Also it was melancholy.
- “Sympathy for the Devil,” The Rolling Stones.
This is one of the songs that helped Mark in “Death’s Golden Eyes.”
- “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag,” Country Joe and the Fish.
Mark had already decided to go back when Country Joe sang this but Country Joe had been some of the music he listened to while he was home between tours.
- “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” The Beatles.
This one did not speak to Susan but it did to Mark.
- “Star Spangled Banner,” Jimi Hendrix.
Mark was in Vietnam during Woodstock. Susan was too busy with activities at the Y to think of going. But it was a shame to miss this in the moment.
- “Fortunate Son,” Creedence Clearwater Revival.
This hit close to home for Susan.
- “Bad Moon Rising,” Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Another song that Mark heard differently than Susan did.
- “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” The Beatles.
Susan said, “Meanwhile I sat at a table in a Florentine kitchen reading the news and listening to The Beatles singing “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” I was close to fluent in Italian but I couldn’t wait to get back home.” Found in “The Monster in the Labyrinth.”
- “My Sweet Lord,” George Harrison.
An example of Susan’s changing soundtrack.
- “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
The edgy take on the familiar story appealed to Susan’s changing outlook.
- “A Song for David,” Joan Baez.
The song and story Susan clung to as she was waiting to know what would happen to her new husband.
- “Get Back,” The Beatles.
Another that Mark heard as specifically evoking Vietnam. Found in “Death’s Golden Eyes.”
- “Morning Has Broken,” Cat Stevens.
Jesus? Superstar? Hare Krishna? Cat Stevens offered a gentle landing place amidst the confusion.
The contrast between #32 and #33 speaks to the gulf between Susan and Mark, a gulf that would not be bridged for decades and without a contemporary soundtrack. The work took place amid a return to the songs of the 60s. It is true that some, like the Dylan and Baez collaboration in “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” took on new meaning.