03 November 2008

Cold Chisel

The treespotter tagged me to do a music post some time ago. I have been a little too lazy to do it. There are rules which I am not going to follow. Although, the rules meant I could have written about AC/DC and "Sink the Pink", a classic song in its own right. However, one of my all time favorite bands is Cold Chisel.

My favorite all time Cold Chisel song is "Khe Sanh". This is closely followed by "When the War is Over". I introduced one of my best friends (even though we have not seen each other in years, there are some people you just bond with and that bond is tight no matter what the tyranny of distance or time is).

Khe Sanh is a favorite of hers as well. I have always had a fascination with Vietnam and the Vietnam war. My friend has a family connection having lost an uncle (if I am not mistaken) in the war. We used to play this song and sing (some would say scream) along having learned the words off by heart. Funnily enough she has now taught her young kids to sing the song. This is probably a good thing for Cold Chisel as this will continue to ensure that the royalty revenue keeps rolling in.

The words of Khe Sanh have always got me thinking and as I get older I can relate many of the ideas of the song to my own existence. These ideas do not always have to do with war. The song is very much about the disconnect, the inability for others to understand the experience, and the need to get away and live life but never really being sure whether you are going to make that last plane or train out of the city.

Here are the words:

I left my heart to the sappers round Khe Sanh
And my soul was sold with my cigarettes to the blackmarket man
I've had the Vietnam cold turkey
From the ocean to the Silver City
And it's only other vets could understand

About the long forgotten dockside guarantees
How there were no V-day heroes in 1973
How we sailed into Sydney Harbour
I saw an old friend but couldn't kiss her
And she was lined, and I was home to a lucky land

She was like so many more from that time on
Their lives were all so empty, until they found their chosen one
And their legs were often open
But their minds were always closed
And their hearts were held in fast suburban chains

And the legal pads were yellow, hours long, paypacket lean
And the telex writers clattered where the gunships once had been
But the car parks made me jumpy
And I never stopped the dreams
Or the growing need for speed and novacaine

So I worked across the country from end to end
Tried to find a place to settle down,
Where my mixed up life could mend
Held a job on an oil-rig
Flying choppers when I could
But the nightlife nearly drove me round the bend

And I've travelled round the world from year to year
And each one found me aimless, one more year the worse for wear
And I've been back to South East Asia
You know the answer sure ain't there
But I'm drifting north, to check things out again

You know the last plane out of Sydney's almost gone
Only seven flying hours, and I'll be landing in Hong Kong
There ain't nothing like the kisses
From a jaded Chinese princess
I'm gonna hit some Hong Kong mattress all night long

Well the last plane out of Sydney's almost gone
Yeah the last plane out of Sydney's almost gone
And it's really got me worried
I'm goin' nowhere and I'm in a hurry
And the last plane out of Sydney's almost gone
(Repeat twice)

Or you can view a version of it here:

and "When the War is Over" here:


CLS said...

Surely one of the greatest songs ever written! Not to mention sung ... after ten pitchers and twelve hours at Troll's :-) The ten year-olds love it, and if luck is with us, will carry on the legacy of Khe Sanh in Chapel Thrill in eight years!

Rob Baiton said...


Yep, one of the greatest.

With a bit of luck they will. I wonder how much mischief they will get up to in their time there.

I really do not want to imagine my kid sinking ten pitchers and doing twelve hours in somewhere like Trolls. Although I am sure it is in the genes :D