Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Goodnight Saigon

I am not what you would say a big fan of Billy Joel—I mean I liked some of his stuff back in the 70s like “Piano Man” and his early 80s stuff like “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “Pressure,” and “Allentown” as well as “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

However, there’s one song that I just can’t get out of my mind, and probably because it gets a lot of playing time on my iPod—his haunting “Goodnight Saigon.” That one puts a lump in my throat and gives me goose bumps.

Thanks Billy for this moving song and God Bless all our Vietnam Veterans.

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 of our might

We had no cameras to shoot the landscape
We passed the hash pipe and played our Doors tapes
And it was 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

And we would all go down together
We said we’d all go down together
Yes we would all go down together


  1. Love that song too! I belong to the Vietnam Veterans of America and we’ve put together a slide show (member pictures volunteered from 40 yrs ago) and we use this song as the background music. The slide show is used when we visit the local high schools to talk about the Vietnam war, which usually is during the springtime months.

    • John,

      Thanks so much for your kind comments, but more importantly, thank you and God Bless you for your service during the Vietnam War. I look forward to following your blog and reading your book.

  2. Jeff,

    Thank you for leaving the comment on my blog – you are too kind. I have also enjoyed reading the various topics on your blog – looks like you’re having fun!

    I also see that you have left my blog address in your history tab, I thank you for this too!

    With any luck, my e-book will be published tomorrow. I’ll be sure to send out notices to all my friends. Good luck on your book too! / John

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