Nineteen

Album: Best Of Paul Hardcastle (1985)
Charted: 1 15
  • In 1965 Vietnam seemed like just another foreign war,
    But it wasn't.
    It was different in many ways, as so were those that did the fighting.
    In World War II the average age of the combat soldier was 26...
    In Vietnam he was 19.
    In Vietnam he was 19.

    (TV announcer's voice)
    The shooting and fighting of the past two weeks continued today
    25 miles west of Saigon
    I really wasn't sure what was going on (Vet's Voice)

    Nineteen, 19, Nineteen 19
    19,19,19,19

    In Vietnam the combat soldier typically served a twelve month tour of duty But
    Was exposed to hostile fire almost everyday
    19 19

    Hundreds of thousands of men who saw heavy combat in Vietnam were arrested since discharge
    Their arrest rate is almost twice that of non-veterans of the same age.

    There are no accurate figures of how many of these men have been incarcerated.

    But, a Veterans Administration study concludes that the greater a vet's
    exposure to combat could more likely affect his chances of being arrested or convicted.

    This is one legacy of the Vietnam War

    (Singing Girls)

    All those who remember the war
    They won't forget what they've seen..
    Destruction of men in their prime
    Whose average was 19
    Destruction
    Destruction
    War, war
    Destruction, war, war, war
    Destruction
    War, war

    After World War II the men came home together on troop ships, but the Vietnam
    Vet often arrived home within 48 hours of jungle combat
    Perhaps the most dramatic difference between World War II and Vietnam was
    Coming home.. .none of them received a hero's welcome
    None of them received a heroes welcome, none of them, none of them
    None of them, none of them, none of them (etc...)
    None of them received a hero's welcome
    None of them received a hero's welcome

    According to a Veteran's Administration study
    Half of the Vietnam combat veterans suffered from what psychiatrists call
    Post-traumatic-stress-disorder
    Many vets complain of alienation, rage, or guilt
    Some succumb to suicidal thoughts
    Eight to ten years after coming home almost eight-hundred-thousand men are
    Still fighting the Vietnam War

    (Singing Girls)

    Destruction

    Nineteen, 19, nineteen 19
    19,19,19,19
    Nineteen, 19, nineteen 19
    19,19,19,19

    (Soldier's Voice)
    When we came back it was different..
    Everybody wants to know "How'd it
    Happen to those guys over there
    There's gotta be something wrong somewhere
    We did what we had to do
    There's gotta be something wrong somewhere
    People wanted us to be ashamed of what it made us
    Dad had no idea what he went to fight and he is now
    All we want to do is come home
    All we want to do is come home
    What did we do it for
    All we want to do is come home
    Was it worth it?

Comments: 13

  • Chris from Germany i heard this song on german radio a few years ago and i love it since then.

    Actually this song was the first ever number one TECHNO song reaching the german charts. Back in 1985.
    I cannot believe that it was number one because it was so different from other stuff of that time.

    In the US and UK the song was banned on radio most the time. In the US the song reached #15 on the hot 100 although it was the best selling single for a couple of weeks. but due to zero airplay it was only #15
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 6th 1985, "Rain Forest" by Paul Hardcastle entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #95; and ten weeks later on March 17th, 1985 it peaked at #57 {for 1 week} and spent 18 weeks on the Top 100...
    It was released twice in the United Kingdom; reached #41 in 1984 and then peaked at #53 in 1985...
    "19" was his only other Top 100 record in the U.S.; he did make the United Kingdom's Singles chart with thirteen hits, with two Top 10 records, his other Top 10 hit was "Don't Waste My Time", it peaked at #8 in 1986.
  • Cc from Covington, LaHe also had a big hit with the song Rainforest.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesDave in Cardiff: My thanks to you.
  • Eric from Beaverton, OrAnonymous from Bardstown, KY: The Steely Dan song you're thinking of is called Hey Nineteen.
  • Charlie from London, United KingdomBefore he went solo, Paul had been in the bands Direct Drive and First Light. Contrary to the info given here, he did not commission the commentary, not did commentator Pete Thomas send anything to Paul. The narrative was taken directly from a documentary film about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in US vets after the Vietnam War. Although the highest US chart position is correctly given as 15, the single was actually the best-selling record of the week in the US, but Billboard's chart position was Na still is) an average between sales and radio play. The US was the only country in the world where many radio stations refused to play the song because of its controversial nature. I'm glad to see here that at least one person took note of the song's message and hoped to avoid being drafted. [I should declare an interest - my company Oval Music is publisher of the song]
  • Anonymous from Bardstown, KyI thought Steely Dan did the song Nineteen. Is there another song with this name? Also, a Paul hardcastle is a DJ on a local radio station here and he sounds in his 20s. So I don't think he is who you are talking about. What's the deal with all this?
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesEkristheh, the commentary on this song is provided by the American television narrator Peter Thomas, best known for his documentary and advertisement voice-over work. Paul Hardcastle asked him to perform on the record after watching Thomas' television documentary "Vietnam Requiem" (screened on ABC in the States in 1984 and then the BBC2 station in the UK later that year); it was his viewing of this documentary that inspired Paul Hardcastle to compose "19" in the first place. Thomas was unavailable to actually perform on the single at the time, so he sent Hardcastle some taped vocal samples of his dialogue from the documentary, which Hardcastle then wrote into the song
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesYoop - in 1991 Paul Hardcastle admitted that the backing tune of "19" was inspired by parts of "Tubular Bells Part II", but maintained that essentially "19" was supposed to be a 'sound collage' rather than an actual song, with the backing track playing and a number of different sound samples being added in electronically thereafter, and that he had not intentionally copied from "Tubular Bells"; he eventually settled this with Mike Oldfield out of court
  • Scott from Philadelphia, PaI remember the first time I hear this song. I was in my late teens and I thought how it would have sucked to have been drafted to a war I didn't want to go to at that age. Excellent song with a good point that I am sure was missed by many people. How sad. "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." ~ Edmund Burke
  • Yoop from Amsterdam, NetherlandsDid Mike Oldfield got his money? He shoud, because you really can hear Tubular Bells in 19.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesI want to know who the commentator is on this, the one who gives all the facts.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesRory Bremner parodied this song later on in 1985, based on the England Cricket team's poor performance in the 1984 Test series against the West Indies, with Bremner mimicking the classic Cricket commentary team Richie Benaud, John Arlotte and 'Johnners'. Released under the name "The Commentators", Bremner's version, entitled "N-N-Nineteen Not Out!" made No.13 in the UK in July 1985, three months after Harcastle's version went to No. 1 for 5 weeks. The parody was based on the fact that the English batsmens' average runs per head in each innings was a paltry 19, compared to the 35 they averaged in 1968. Against the record company's wishes, Paul Hardcastle actually contributed to this remake
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Christmas Songs

Christmas SongsFact or Fiction

Rudolf, Bob Dylan and the Singing Dogs all show up in this Fact or Fiction for seasonal favorites.

Ed Roland of Collective Soul

Ed Roland of Collective SoulSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Shine," "December," "The World I Know" and other Collective Soul hits.

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."

American Hits With Foreign Titles

American Hits With Foreign TitlesSong Writing

What are the biggest US hits with French, Spanish (not "Rico Suave"), Italian, Scottish, Greek, and Japanese titles?

Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes

Chris Robinson of The Black CrowesSongwriter Interviews

"Great songwriters don't necessarily have hit songs," says Chris. He's written a bunch, but his fans are more interested in the intricate jams.

Gary Lewis

Gary LewisSongwriter Interviews

Gary Lewis and the Playboys had seven Top 10 hits despite competition from The Beatles. Gary talks about the hits, his famous father, and getting drafted.