Big & Rich In Vietnam for 8th of November

Big & Rich brought the Vietnam experience back into focus with their music video, 8th Of November, inspired by the story of Vietnam veteran Niles Harris. Kris Kristofferson introduces the story and song, referring to Niles Harris as the man who gave Big Kenny his top hat. “Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his brother”, is a quote from Jesus.

Niles Harris with Big Kenny & John Rich


Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

Big & Rich is an American country music duo comprising Big Kenny (Kenny Alphin, former solo artist and lead singer for luvjOi) and John Rich (former vocalist and bassist of Lonestar). They first performed together in 1998. In 2002 Big & Rich were visiting Deadwood, South Dakota, on a looking for inspiration from the stark and historic city. To make ends meet they played at a saloon where Niles Harris tends bar. As they talked with Niles they heard the inspiration for their song, 8th of November.

As a 19 year old Niles was assigned to the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam. On November 5, 1965 he joined his C Company landing in Vietnam’s War Zone D. Three days later, his Second Platoon, with just 30 men, was attacked by 1,200 soldiers of the North Vietnamese Army equipped with machine guns, claymores and sniper rifles. At the end of that fateful day, 48 Americans and over 400 North Vietnamese soldiers had died. Harris received a purple heart for his service.

Lawrence Joel in Big & Rich 8th of November music video

Platoon medic Lawrence Joel courageously treated his fellow soldiers despite being shot twice. He treated his own wound and self-administered morphine to enable him to search for wounded, provide treatment and call out encouragement. He was later awarded a medal of honor for his service.

In 2005 the duo asked Niles if he would be interested in revisiting Vietnam for the first time since his last tour. The group traveled with a documentary crew of Americans and Vietnamese, back to the exact site of the battle where many of Niles’ company lost their lives. They buried the boots he was wearing the day of the battle in a B52 bomb crater at the site. They also were able to locate the spy that connected the Viet Cong forces with the North Vietnamese army and exposed the location of American troops over 40 years ago. The footage, both compelling and emotional, puts a face on the tragedy and realities of war.

In 2006, Big & Rich released their single “The 8th of November” (July), preceded by a music video (June). A subsequent documentary titled “The 8th of November: a true American story of honor” was released also, debuting on Great American Country television network over the July 4 weekend. The documentary tells the story of Niles Harris and shows the making of the music video for the single.

Credits

The music video was directed and produced by Robert Deaton, George Flanigen & Marc Oswald, with Steve Lamar joining the production team, director of photography Maz Makhani, colorist Rodney Williams, offline editor Adam Little, with visual effects done at In Visible Inc, Nashville.

See the music video, documentary and photos from the two at the 8th Of November site hosted by heartburn manufacturers Prilosec OTC.

The 8th of November music video was nominated for the Grammys and the 2006 CMA Video of the Year.

Download the music video online at iTunes: 8th of November – Big & Rich

Lyrics for 8th of November

He said goodbye to his momma
As he left South Dakota
To fight for the Red, White, and Blue
He was 19 in green with a new M-16
Just doin’ what he had to do.

He was dropped in the jungle
Where the choppers would rumble
With the smell of napalm in the air
Then the sargeant said, “Look up ahead”

And like a dark, evil cloud
1,200 came down
on him and 29 more
They fought for their lives
But most of them died
In the 173rd Airborne

(Chorus)
On the 8th of November,
The angels were cryin’
As they carried his brothers away
With the fire rainin’ down
And the Hell all around
There were few men left standin’ that day
Saw the eagle fly,
Through a clear, blue sky
1965, the 8th of November

Now hes 58
And his ponytails grey
But the battle still plays in his head
He limps when he walks,
But hes strong when he talks
About the shrapnel they left in leg

He puts on a grey suit
Over his airborne tattoo
He ties it on one time a year
And remembers the fallen,
As he orders a tall one
And swallows it down with his tears

(Chorus)
On the 8th of November,
The angels were cryin’
As they carried his brothers away
With the fire rainin’ down
And the Hell all around
There were few men left standin’ that day
Saw the eagle fly,
Through a clear, blue sky
1965, the 8th of November

Saw the eagle fly,
Through a clear, blue sky
1965

(Chorus)
On the 8th of November,
The angels were cryin’
As they carried his brothers away
With the fire rainin’ down
And the Hell all around
There were few men left standin’ that day

(Chorus)
On the 8th of November,
The angels were cryin’
As they carried his brothers away
With the fire rainin’ down
And the Hell all around
There were few men left standin’ that day
Saw the eagle fly,
Through a clear, blue sky
1965, the 8th of November

The 8th of November
The 8th of November

He said goodbye to his momma
As he left South Dakota
To fight for the Red, White, and Blue
He was 19 in green with a new M-16
Just doin’ what he had to do.

  • shawntoya

    hey my name is shawntoya and i had to look u guys up 4 a project that we get extra credit on and we needed to know why u guys made this song and who are u talkin about well once u get this can u please email me on my email address TOYADATMIORMAMI91@YAHOO.COM asap if u can thank u very much i appreciate it

    shawntoya,

  • Brooke

    hey i’m Brooke

    i’m researching yall for my project about the vietnam war and my group had to choose a song and research the song and the artist. this explanation really helped me and i cannot wait to tell my group! :D

  • Sue Bessel Hume

    I am interested in contacting Niles Harris to see if he is my cousin from Ohio. I would like for someone to pass on my e-mail address to him if possible. Thank you.

  • Kylie Koc

    I am so thankful for finding your website!

  • Savannah Moniz

    Very useful information was found here, thank you for your work.

  • jerremy hadley

    hey i am interested in contacting mr. harris i would like to ask him some questions and what not could u please either give him y email or give me his please

  • http://yahoo.com Savannah Jones

    My Bother and Me love the song. Keep up the good work.

  • Bill Henry

    I was the lead Machine Gunner in the platoon that got ambushed 11-08-65, Larry Joel was my medic – he has since passed away. I provided covering fire for him as well as others. He received the CMH – I a Silver Star – I was C Company, 1st Platoon, Weapons Squad. my son sent me the video 8 november 1965 and it brought back memories of Hill 65 – D Zone. I would like to try to contact Niles Harris – any help would be appreciated !
    Tnks, Bill Henry

  • Robin Jeffords

    I would like to get in contact with Mr. Harris.
    I have some information about his sargeant, Mr. Maxie Shamblin. Please, have him e-mail me. Thank you very much.

    • MyRefluxGone

      Hey Nile you have done great work for your brother. It is a good learning for all of us and your song is an inspiration for all of us.

  • GALE BLEVINS

    THIS IS TO JOHN & KENNY, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO MEET THE VETERANS FROM THE IA DRANG VALLEY, FROM THE MOVIE MEL GIBSON PLAYED GENERAL HAL MOORE? THE LZ XRAY 1st 7th. CAV. “BROKEN ARROW” NOVEMBER 15th, 1965. I KNOW THE GUYS AND WE WOULD LOVE TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT ANOTHER SONG FOLLOWING THE 8th OF NOVEMBER !!!!!
    CONTACT ME AT MY EMAIL AND I’LL GIVE YOU A PHONE NUMBER TO TALK.
    THANKS, GALE BLEVINS

  • Nadia

    hey Big & Rich I just want to thank you for taking such an interest in the 173rd airborne it really means a lot to me to see two country stars such as yourselves who could easily write a song about the civil war or something decide to write a song about something that barely anyone has heard about but is just as tragic you have really brought a lot of awareness to the tragedy that happened on November 8th.My heart goes out to all the men and women who lost their lives and their families. Thank You
    keep up the good work and remember that your not just singing great songs your spreading a great message too. love you guys

  • Mike AKA Michelle

    This is for SFC Harris – Hi! This is Mike AKA Michelle from the Big Red One in Goeppingen. Every November I have thought of you, said a prayer, and cried for the guys.. Anyway, When I heard this song I thought of you, then this week I connected to some of the guys from almost 30 years ago and they said to check this out. I am so proud of you for doing this, letting people know what the guys did.. Just wanted to say hello, thank you, you made us more than we thought we could be, and I think of you often. Take care of yourself. Mike (Michelle)

  • Kerry Quinn

    Just had a drink for the 173rd. I always do on November 8th. Thanks

  • Dani

    Big and Rich sing a song during the documentary that they threw together after they had some snakeshine. What are the lyrics to that song??!

  • Tiffani

    yeah i really wanna find the lyrics for that song too! it started like ‘i blew my dong, in vietnam’

  • Thomas

    yea only in us can one be soblind to insult those who died for you can do it hats off for the 173rd maybe some of those punks need to joinup those who died in the 173 and all are others gave us the freedom for we can speak even tho some shouldnt!