Is the 2015 Anzac Day song as significant as “I was only 19”? 320



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Many years ago John Schumann wrote the anthem, “I was only 19” in honour of the Vietnam War soldiers. It is the biggest war anthem in Australia’s history and not because it promotes it or fights against it, but because it exposes it in some of the most brutally honest and real language.

This year, the Australian Army commissioned John to write a song for the Anzac Day centenary.

The song called, On Every Anzac Day, pays tribute to the indigenous men and women who volunteered to fight for their country — even when they were not recognised as citizens.

Schumann and bandmates Rob Hirst and Shane Howard formed the Vagabond Crew band to perform the song for the first time at the Australian War Memorial yesterday.

According to NewsCorp, Chief Of Army David Morrision approached John and said, “Can you write a song about indigenous service men and women from the perspective of a white fella and don’t just make it about Gallipoli but include 114 years of service and it can’t be any longer than five minutes and it needs to be as big a hit as (I Was Only) 19.”

When speaking with the media yesterday he said, “I think he has got there.”

So today we want to know, what is your opinion? Listen below and tell us, is it is good, strong and significant as “I was only 19”? Do you feel like this song will stay with us for generations? Share your thoughts in the comments below… 


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I have no idea if John comes in here, but if you do John that an amazing song for a 19 year old to write and yes it will stand the test of time..well done mate

    1 REPLY
    • A bit of a misunderstanding here. “I was only 19” is the name of the song, not his age when he wrote it.
      regardless it is a beautiful song and in my view, while I like the lyrics of his latest composition, it does not have the emotion of “I was only 19”.

  2. I think this is nice and I enjoyed watching and listening to it. The didgeridoo gives the music so much depth but actually I am totally “Anzac’d Out ” Enough is enough. I doubt we will watch anything more than snippets in the evening news. Normally we watch the capital city parades on ABC but I doubt we will even do that this time.

  3. Like the spirit of Anzac; this song will live forever.

    1 REPLY
    • The song is beautiful, but I had trouble hearing the lyrics as I felt the background music, though great, was too loud. Also, I didn’t know that these soldiers were not allowed into the RSL. That was shameful.

  4. When I saw this I thought no it will never be of the same standard as “I was only Nineteen”. I was wrong. This song made me cry from start to finish. It is every bit as significant. It will certainly become an Anzac Day anthem in years to come. It is past time that our Original Australian soldiers are recognised and thanked for their service. Given the status of Aboriginals at the time of WW1 and WW2 it is truly amazing how many fought and died for a nation that did not recognise them.

  5. Excellant song! I hope you’re wrong leone osullivan about the parades being shown on t,v, why would they suddenly stop showing them after all these years! I hope it’s not that it could offend somebody, because I’ll be offended if they don’t show it!

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