What do Viet Nam vets think of Billy Joel's "Good Night Saigon"?

I was listening to my Billy Joel “Greatest hits” CD for the first time in awhile and was thinking about his song “Good Night Saigon.” It’s a first-person account of what things were like as a U.S. soldier stationed in 'Nam. Now, to the best of my knowledge, Billy Joel never actually served in Viet Nam, although I suppose it’s possible that the song is based on experiences told to him by other people.

Anyway, not having served in 'Nam myself (or any other war, for that matter), I’ve always wondered what actual Viet nam vets think about the song. Does it resonate with them? Does it accurately express their feelings? Does it give a semi-realistic portrayal of what it was like serving in 'Nam? Or do most vets think that Billy Joel is just a pansy dweeb looking for a little undeserved street cred?

Any Viet Nam vets out there?


Back in high school, I had a teacher for World History who was a Vietnam Vet. He liked the song.

In fact, when he chose to cover the Vietnam war, he brought the song in to play in class. He would play one line, stop the tape, and explain it. He would then restart the tape for the next line.

Along the way, he worked his own experiences in, and how they related to the song. He gave every impression that he approved of the song. So that’s one data point.

Billy Joel did not serve but he had friends who did and he wrote the song based on what they told him/ what he noticed about them.