The ‘Forgotten War’ finally gets a soundtrack: ‘Battleground Korea’
Overshadowed by World War II and Vietnam, the 1950-53 Korean War is often called the “Forgotten War.” The same could be said for much of the music it inspired.
Music historian Hugo Keesing and co-producer Bill Geerhart seek to change that with “Battleground Korea: Songs and Sounds of America’s Forgotten War.” More than three years in the making, the anthology’s release in May was timely as nuclear talks with North Korea have renewed interest in the Cold War conflict.
Keesing, a retired professor who taught popular music classes at the University of Maryland, tapped into a network of DJs and record collectors and dug deep in the Library of Congress, Billboard magazine and other archives to find at least 900 songs written about the war, though not all were recorded.
The box set, which comes with a glossy 160-page book and four CDs -- priced at just over $100 -- includes 121 tracks from artists such as B.B. King, Fats Domino, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Gene Autry as well as newsreel clips from wartime presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and others.
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