How Jimmy Cliff’s Vietnam Song Inspired Paul Simon To Record Mother And Child Reunion

Paul Simon and Jimmy Cliff

Inspired by Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Vietnam,’ Paul Simon recorded ‘Mother and Child Reunion’ with Cliff’s musicians in Jamaica.

The Vietnam War began in 1954. It was one of the longest, bloodiest and saddest wars in conflict history, between the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies, known as the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. 

The war became an issue of concern to Americans and world leaders than any matter at that period because of those that lost their loved ones. Many American soldiers died. Not only world leaders were against the war but also some musicians.

Jimmy Cliff wrote and sang anti-war song called Vietnam. In the song Jimmy Cliff said “Yesterday, I got a letter from my friend fighting in Vietnam, And this is what he had to say “Tell all my friends that I’ll be coming home soon, My time’ll be up some time in June, Don’t forget”, he said, “To tell my sweet Mary, Her golden lips are sweet as cherry” And it came from Vietnam, Vietnam.”

“Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, It was just the next day, his mother got a telegram, It was addressed from Vietnam, Now mistress Brown, she lives in the USA, And this is what she wrote and said “Don’t be alarmed”, she told me the telegram said
“But mistress Brown your son is dead” And it came from Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, hey, Vietnam,Somebody please stop that war now.”

Inspired by Jimmy Cliff’s Vietnam song Paul Simon went to Jamaica and used Jimmy Cliff musicians to record ‘Mother and Child Reunion,’ and the cleverly-written song instantly became a hit expanding the fame of both Paul Simon and Jimmy Cliff.

A good music is not only entertaining, heartfelt and thrilling but the great stories behind them are sometimes exceptional and educative.