The best songs about soldiers explore the harsh reality of war and its consequences, both on the soldiers who fight and the loved ones they leave behind.
It’s a topic that is commonly featured in country music but also in other popular music genres ranging from rock to modern pop.
This playlist compiles many of the iconic songs that serve as a tribute to soldiers who have fought in wars over the last few decades.
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The 23 Best Songs About Soldiers of All Time
While country music often dominates songs about the life and experiences of soldiers, there are great songs from other styles worth considering.
We’ve included a broad selection of music on the theme of soldiers to ensure this playlist caters to all kinds of tastes.
With our criteria clarified, it’s time to begin this playlist of the 23 best songs about soldiers:
23. “8th Of November” – Big & Rich
Big & Rich wrote the popular country music song “8th of November” to commemorate the experiences of a soldier called Niles Harris.
The Deadwood resident bade his mother goodbye in 1965 and departed to fight in the Vietnam War, where he witnessed death and suffering.
It’s one of many country songs about soldiers that pay respect to the sacrifices they have made in warfare over the centuries.
22. “Warrior” – Kid Rock
The Kid Rock track “Warrior” is another powerful song about American soldiers and their dedication and sacrifice to protect the country.
In 2008, the National Guard used “Warrior” as part of their recruitment campaign, with a music video that celebrates the role of a citizen soldier.
The official music video shows footage of military personnel performing their duties along with the impressive hardware the military is known for.
21. “Brothers” – Dean Brody
Dean Brody’s song “Brothers” is an ode to his family members who have signed up to fight in the war as seen through the singer’s reflections on childhood.
This country song is among the most popular songs about soldiers, reflecting the concerns of a younger brother as his older sibling sets off to fight.
Released in 2009, “Brothers” marked a high point in the career of Dean Brody, and it’s a song anyone with a relative in the Army can relate to.
20. “Born In The USA” – Bruce Springsteen
Another well-known country song that is dedicated to the sacrifices soldiers make is “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen.
The song describes the patriotism and commitment of veteran soldiers and Springsteen’s pride in being born in America.
One of the biggest hits of his career, “Born in the U.S.A.,” was released on the Grammy Award-winning album of the same name.
19. “Still A Soldier” – Trace Adkins
“Still a Soldier” by Trace Adkins serves as a moving tribute to the commitment a person makes when they sign up for the military.
As the name implies, this song tells the listener about the enduring nature of military service and how soldiers never truly become civilians once they’ve served.
Trace Adkins commemorated the American Civil War and World War II with the powerful song “Til the Last Shot’s Fired,” released in 2008.
18. “Ragged Old Flag” – Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash set the world alight with his classic song about fire, “Ring of Fire,” but it’s his lesser-known song, “Ragged Old Flag,” we’re covering here.
This song features Cash’s trademark laconic vocal style as he explores the image of a tattered flag that symbolizes everything the country has been through.
Johnny Cash was a dedicated patriot throughout his life, and this powerful soldier song is a fitting tribute to America’s fallen warriors.
17. “Just A Dream” – Carrie Underwood
Some of the most moving military songs are those that explore what happens when a soldier dies and leaves behind a grieving family.
Carrie Underwood covered this beautifully in her song “Just a Dream,” which urges the families of lost soldiers to work through their suffering.
It’s a sentimental country song that makes the listener respect soldiers even more and honor their accomplishments.
16. “Unknown Soldier” – The Doors
“Unknown Soldier” by the Doors represented the band’s powerful indictment of the Vietnam War and all the soldiers who needlessly died.
Featuring impressive organ melodies along with Jim Morrison’s laconic vocals, “Unknown Soldier” is one of their lesser-known pieces of music.
The Doors enjoyed some success on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, with their song “The End” among their most popular releases.
15. “Heaven Was Needing A Hero” – Jo Dee Messina
Jo Dee Messina wrote the moving song “Heaven Was Needing a Hero” in response to the death of the first female soldier in the Iraq War.
In this song, the lyrics talk about her feelings of sadness at the death of an American soldier in another senseless war for resources.
Jo Dee Messina released “Heaven Was Needing a Hero” in 2010 on her album Unmistakable Inspiration, which blends folk and country music.
14. “Some Gave All” – Billy Ray Cyrus
Billy Ray Cyrus wrote the song “Some Gave All” to pay his respects to a soldier named Sandy Cane and his experiences in the Army.
It’s another powerful song that urges people to respect the sacrifices made by soldiers and the horrific experiences they endure in warfare.
Cyrus showed his dedication to more mundane but necessary sacrifices in his classic song about work, “Busy Man.”
13. “Wind Of Change” – Scorpions
The lyrics of “Wind of Change” by the Scorpions feature a fellow soldier passing by on a busy street on an autumn night.
While this metal song isn’t dedicated to their experiences, it’s a great track with the band’s dynamic guitars and vocals driving it forward.
They released “Wind of Change” in 1990 on the album Crazy World, which also featured the single “Send Me an Angel.”
12. “For Whom The Bell Tolls” – Metallica
Another great modern rock song that speaks to the experiences of soldiers is “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica.
This thrash metal masterpiece, which explores warfare during the Spanish Civil War, was based on the experiences of Ernest Hemingway during this conflict.
As you might expect from Metallica, it’s a song full of powerful instrumentation and aggressive lyrics that war pigs everywhere will enjoy.
11. “Letters From Home” – John Michael Montgomery
The 2004 song from John Michael Montgomery, “Letters From Home,” is a more reflective piece of music celebrating the life of soldiers.
The title track from his ninth studio album, it’s a reflection of the long-distance romances soldiers have to endure when posted away from home.
Among the better-known works from the iconic American country music singer, it’s a welcome addition to anyone’s playlist of soldier songs.
10. “God Bless The USA” – Lee Greenwood
“God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood is another touching country song written in memory of Army veterans around the country.
Greenwood’s lyrics reflect this respect, with the line, “I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me,” summing up his sentiments.
Whether you’re celebrating Veterans’ Day or have a family member in the military, this song is a timely reminder of the important role they play.
9. “Philadelphia Freedom” – Elton John
“Philadelphia Freedom” by Elton John is a celebration of the reason why people fight in the first place to secure their freedom from tyranny.
It features lyrics that are intimately linked with the American flag and all it represents for the brave soldiers who fight to defend it.
Elton John’s music is eminently singable, with the artist responsible for some of the best karaoke songs of all time, including “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart.”
8. “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue” – Toby Keith
“Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” by Toby Keith is yet another great country song dedicated to American soldiers.
Released in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the song was a clarion cry for troops to rally in defense of their homeland and deliver justice.
“Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” became something of an anthem for serving soldiers during the Iraq War.
7. “Fortunate Son” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
American rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival released “Fortunate Son” at the height of the Vietnam War.
It’s another powerful anti-war song that encourages listeners to conscientiously object to the conflict and bring their soldiers back home.
“Fortunate Son” has since been recognized by the Library of Congress as a significant piece of music of historical and cultural significance.
6. “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” – Justice Moore
American country music singer Justice Moore turned his attention to the soldiers who lost their lives in countless military conflicts.
“The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” marks their death and the ongoing suffering and grief experienced by the relatives who are left behind.
While the song wasn’t a huge hit on the country music charts, its somber melody cuts to the heart of the pain felt following the death of a soldier.
5. “Travelin’ Soldier” – The Chicks
“Travelin’ Soldier” by the Chicks is another incredibly sad and moving song that tugs at the listeners’ heartstrings with its powerful lyrics.
The song tells of a soldier who has no one to write to, begging a waitress he meets to receive his letters from the front lines.
The Chicks released this great song in 2002, although it was initially recorded in 1996 by Bruce Robinson.
4. “Freedom” – Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against the Machine has released some of the best songs of all time, with “Killing in the Name of,” another song dedicated to opposing war.
“Freedom” explores the flipside of their chart-topping hit and the justification many have for sending young men into war and conflict.
The track was released on their debut album, as well as becoming a single that featured the leader of the American Indian Movement in the official music video.
3. “If You’re Reading This” – Tim McGraw
While some songs about soldiers reflect the futility of battle, others are designed to offer comfort and hope amidst suffering.
“If You’re Reading This” by Tim McGraw is one such song, written to reflect the comforting messages that soldiers send to reassure their loved ones they’re okay.
It’s still a song capable of bringing tears to the eye but with an undercurrent of hope that a soldier’s death isn’t always in vain.
2. “For You” – Keith Urban
“For You” by Keith Urban found a wider audience when it was first released, thanks to its inclusion on the soundtrack to the movie Act of Valor.
In this song, Urban sings about the idea of laying down his life, not only for his fellow soldiers but also for his country, offering the ultimate sacrifice.
Keith Urban released “For You” in 2012, delivering a fitting tribute to the heroic acts depicted in the movie it was featured in.
1. “Hey Brother” – Avicii
Avicii offers a refreshingly unique take on the concept of soldiering and brotherhood with his beautiful song “Hey Brother.”
It features a music video in which two brothers depart dear old America to head off to war, with one brother reflecting on the death of the other.
With its anti-war undercurrents, “Hey Brother” is a fitting companion piece to Avicii’s great song about unity, “Lonely Together.”
We hope you’ve found plenty of musical inspiration from this playlist covering these great tributes to soldiers and their sacrifices.
It’s a subject that cuts close to the heart for many Americans who have either served in the military themselves or know someone who has.
As long as war continues to be a threat, more songs exploring the experiences of the nation’s heroes will continue to be released in the future.
What’s the best song about soldiers, in your opinion? Leave a comment below.
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