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.