10 Musicians You Never Knew Served In the Military
  • MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2013

  • Posted by: Cassedy Banks

In honor of Veteran's Day and those who have served, we have decided to compile a list of musicians who have contributed to our country by serving with the U.S. Military:

1. Tony Bennett

Singer Tony Bennett was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944 during WWII and became an rifleman for the 255th Infantry Regiment of the 63rd Infantry Division. Bennett served the front line in 1945, describing it as a "front-row seat in hell," and later sang with an Army band using stage name Joe Bari.



2. John Coltrane

One of the most influential saxophonist and jazz composers, John Coltrane joined the Navy in 1945 where he served a year in Hawaii and played in the Navy jazz band. Coltrane made his first recording while in the Navy with a band called the Melody Masters.



3. Johnny Cash

At age 18, Cash enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1950 where he was assigned to be a Morse Code Intercept Operator for Soviet Army transmissions in Landsberg, Germany. Cash served for four years and started his first band there, calling themselves The Landsberg Barbarians.



4. Elvis Presley

Presley served in the Army between 1958 and 1960 in Germany, at a time in which his popularity was high and many people knew his name. During his time abroad, Presley's mother died and he cooped by using drugs, which eventually led to his downward spiral. Although offered many times to join the Special Services, Presley always stated his wish to be a regular soldier and joined the A Company of the Second Armored Division's Tank Battalion.



5. Kris Kristofferson

Growing up in a military family, country songwriter Kris Kristofferson was pressured to join the military after he graduated Oxford University in the 1960s. After completing Ranger School, he became a helicopter pilot, served in the 8th Infantry Division in West Germany, and eventually rose to the rank of a captain.



6. Jimi Hendrix

When 18, Hendrix had been caught twice by police for driving in stolen cars and was given the ultimatum of either going to prison or joining the Army. Hendix enlisted in 1961 and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Hendrix spent much of his time playing guitar and was often taunted by other Army members, but he eventually got together with other Army musicians and organized a band called The Casuals.



7. John Fogerty

John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival served in an Army Reserve unit from 1966-1967. Fogery wrote "Fortunate Son" during the Vietnam War and claims it's about "rich men making war and poor men having to fight them."



8. Jim Croce

"Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" singer Jim Croce enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1966 to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War. Croce did not do well with authority and had to go through training twice. His song "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)" was inspired by the lines of soldiers waiting to speak to their love ones through the few phones on base.



9. Ice-T

After graduating high school, Tracy Lauren Marrow, now known as rapper/actor Ice-T, served in the 25th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army during the mid-70s. While stationed in Hawaii, Marrow became interested in hip-hop music and started to develop his own style. He was discharged four months early because he was a single father, and soon began his musical career as Ice-T.



10. MC Hammer

In the early 80s Stanley Kirk Burrell, aka MC Hammer, was enlisted in the Navy for three years as an Aviation Store Keeper Third Class where he served in both California and Japan.

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