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Ask Billboard: Observing Remembrance Day

Just one topic in today's reader Q&A. Considering its importance, it deserves its own focus.

Ask Billboard is updated every week. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

Every year, people around the world set aside Nov. 11 as a day to remember the brave men and women who have served their countries, fought for us and died so we could live in freedom.

Since today is Remembrance Day (or, Veterans Day or Armistice Day), I think it’s fitting to pay tribute to musicians who have served their countries.

This honoured list includes:

the Big Bopper

James Blunt (Great Britain)

Johnny Cash

John Coltrane

the Everly Brothers

Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead

Marvin Gaye

Jimi Hendrix


Kris Kristofferson

M.C. Hammer

Glenn Miller


Michael Nesmith of the Monkees

Elvis Presley

Lloyd Price

Lou Rawls

SSgt Barry Sadler


Del Shannon

Gene Vincent

Grover Washington, Jr.

Bill Withers

Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones (Great Britain)

So, today, and every day, remember to thank veterans for serving their country.

Blair Buchta
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Hi Blair,

Thanks so much for the e-mail.

A fitting tribute to artists for whom music was not their most important contribution.

As for the King of Rock & Roll, the U.S. Army Center of Military History website chronicles his service:

Elvis Aaron Presley entered the United States Army at Memphis, Tennessee, on March 24, 1958, and then spent three days at the Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, Reception Station. He left active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on March 5, 1960, and received his discharge from the Army Reserve on March 23, 1964.

During his active military career Mr. Presley served as a member of two different armor battalions. Between March 28 and September 17, 1958, he belonged to Company A, 2d Medium Tank Battalion, 37th Armor, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. During this assignment he completed basic and advanced military training.

Mr. Presley’s overseas service took place in Germany from October 1, 1958, until March 2, 1960, as a member of the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armor. For the first five days of that period he belonged to Company D of the battalion, and thereafter to the battalion’s Headquarters Company at Friedberg.

While in Germany Mr. Presley wore the shoulder sleeve insignia of the 3d Armored Division.