Paul Hardcastle – 19 (Nineteen)

An anti-Vietnam song in 1985 seems rather tardy, though perhaps indicates how the conflict remained deeply on the minds of many Americans, long after. Well, Paul Hardcastle is English. But, it was only a little earlier that an ABC television special, “Vietnam Requiem,” explored the post tramautic stress disorder experienced by veterans. Samples from this special about this severe anxiety disorder that can involve reliving the battle experiences, were inserted in the song without permission. “PTSD” remains contentious, as studies have found many Vietnam veterans may experience the symptoms, but not actually have the disorder. This is tied in with a slow march toward recognition (and compensation) given difficulties in diagnosis.

The “19” refers to the average age of the soldiers, though English football club Manchester United used the song to celebrate its 19th Premier league title. The song also notes that the time in combat was longer than previous wars.

Hardcastle’s hit has early uses of sampled speech giving it a breakdance music feel, and it has been remixed into longer version.  He also has an album, “Winners,” which in 1988 reviewed the effects of the Cold War arms race.


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