When music, the military and Youtube collide…

posted by Brendan Hodgson

The fervour with which the armed forces of various countries (and their supporters) have embraced video – and Youtube, in particular – as an outlet to reach out to potential recruits, showcase the conditions under which the troops serve, communicate to loved ones, and deliver personal tributes to the men and women who serve in the military (of which there are nearly 100 for the Canadian Forces alone) is fascinating. 

Without question, Youtube has helped to more broadly expose the harsh realities under which our troops operate, and to amplify the efforts of recruiters to reach younger audiences. 

But they can also portray a lighter side of a dangerous job, one that highlights the pride and camaraderie of the soldiers, sailors and airmen on the front lines. Perhaps the most entertaining are the growing numbers of music videos created (out of sheer boredom, one wonders) by the servicemen and women themselves. A sample playlist:

  • The “Sun Kings” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116 rendition of the Black Eye Peas’ hit song, “Pump It” and Outkast’s’ “Hey Ya,” (You can read here about the potential impact of these videos on recruitment. Hat tip to Ian Ketcheson.)
  • Not to be outdone is the Royal Navy’s version of Queen’s Bohemian Rapsody.
  • And you can judge for yourselves which version of “Is this the way to Amarillo” is better: this video by British soldiers stationed in Iraq, or this clip video’d by the Dutch military in Afghanistan. (what is it about this song?)
  • One clip I wish I could find, and an example from a Canadian context, is Rick Mercer’s 2005 (or was it earlier?) visit during his This Hour Has 22 Minutes days to Canadian soldiers stationed in the Former Yugoslavia, to lead a rousing karaoke sing-along to ”We’re here for a good time, not a long time” by Canadian rock dinosaur, Trooper.

    Sadly, since I can’t show that, I figured I’d show another Mercer/Trooper moment just prior to the 2006 one of the recent Federal elections, and to the tune of “Raise a Little Hell“. Fun, but not quite the same impact though.

1 Comment


Ian Ketcheson

Nice roundup, Brendan.

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