From the Archives: Music During Wartime

War affected the music industry throughout the last century in a number of ways, from vinyl supplies to manufacturing facilities to the music itself. On this Memorial Day, here's a look at how music was involved via the prism of Billboard's historical archives.


Bonds and bombs typified the coverage at Billboard and the wider American media during World War II. The below cover of a winter "The Billboard" sums up the color and tone at the time. 

Go here to read the 1943 feature "Music Goes to War."

Below, some clippings covering the music industry's involvement in the war effort.



The Korean conflict lasted from 1950 to 1953. And according to this Billboard report the war meant the reinstating World-War-II-era riders into contracts. 

Read more here.


The unprecedented reaction of Americans to the Vietnam War gave us one of the most polarizing and musically affective periods in American history. Here's a few clippings from Billboard during that protracted period of political turmoil and tumult.

You can find more here and here.



It seems, judging by the coverage in Billboard, the Gulf War's main effect on the entertainment industry was a dip in rentals at chains like Suncoast...



Electronic artist Matthew Herbert chimes in, in an interview from 2003:

Toby Keith: "Now I know I get painted with a real broad brush as this Captain America, right-wing lunatic. But the truth is, I knew there were a bunch of poor bastards that were gonna have to go into Afghanistan and give their all up for some people who killed 3,000 Americans on 9-11."