Play 0:23 to 0:56
Background: "The Fish Cheer & I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die" was released on November of 1967 by Country Joe McDonald and his band Country Joe and The Fish. The band was know for their songs of protest and music that appealed to the youth.
Lyrics: Well, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.
And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.
Analysis: In the first three lines, Country Joe McDonald says "Uncle Sam needs your help again, He's got himself in a terrible jam" meaning once again, the United States is asking for men to join the army.
He then goes on to say " So put down your books and pick up a gun, We're gonna have a whole lotta fun. And its one, two, three, what are we fighting for" which mocks the idea that men are being forced to stop their education and go fight in a war that most Americans were unsure and confused about. At the time, it was unclear why the United States was fighting in Vietnam.
Finally, he says "Open up the pearly gates, Well there ain't no time to wonder why. Whoopee! we're all gonna die" which is his way of expressing that men are dying in Vietnam for no good reason but more and more people are being sent there to fight anyway.