Social History for Every Classroom


Social History for Every Classroom

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In 1959, at the age of seventeen, Joe McDonald joined the Navy. After his discharge three years later, he enrolled in a Los Angeles college where he became involved in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1965, McDonald moved to Berkeley, California just as protests against the Vietnam War were becoming more visible. He formed a band called Country Joe and the Fish which recorded the "Fixin-to-Die-Rag" in October. The song, while never a commercial success, became one of the most powerful anthems of the anti-war movement.

Download IFeelLikeImFixinToDieRag.mp3 (Mp3 Audio) Duration: 3:40

Come on all of you big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Viet Nam
So put down your books and pick up a gun
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Viet Nam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Come on generals, let's move fast
Your big chance has come at last.
Gotta go out and get those reds—
The only good commie is the one that's dead
You know that peace can only be won
When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come.

Come on Wall Street don't move slow,
Why man this war is a go-go
There's plenty good money to be made
Supplying the Army with the tools of the trade
Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong

Come on mothers throughout the land
Pack your boys off to Viet Nam.
Come on fathers, don't hesitate,
Send your sons off before it's too late.
You can be the first one on your block
To have your boy come home in a box.

Source | Joe McDonald, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die-Rag," sound recording and lyrics, I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die (Tradition Music, BMI, 1965).
Creator | Joe McDonald
Composer | Joe McDonald
Lyricist | Joe McDonald
Rights | Used by permission of Joe McDonald.
Item Type | Music/Song
Cite This document | Joe McDonald, “"I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die-Rag",” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed May 28, 2023,

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