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Top 30 Soldier Songs: #1 – “Some Gave All” by Billy Ray Cyrus

December 18, 2008

Some Gave All coverWhen Memorial Day or the 4th of July arrives there is one song that dominates country airwaves everywhere throughout the day. That song is the #1 soldier song in country music, a song by Billy Ray Cyrus that, despite its poor radio success due to unsolicited airplay, became one of the few big hits of his career. The single was released from his debut album of the same name and even today stands as one of the most popular patriotic songs in the genre.

No song tackles the soldier concept as universally and effectively as Billy’s tribute to those who have and will die for the sake of American freedom. The message is plain and simple, these soldiers gave everything they had for their country and to keep us free. In the end many of them paid the biggest price there is for people they didn’t even know. The American people often forget what it took to get us this far and whether it be losing their lives or losing their sanity or luxuries our armed forces are the ones to thanks. Led by some of the most haunting piano playing of the time, Billy’s powerful ballad took into consideration every emotion both the soldiers and their loved ones have felt over the years and put it into one four minutes powerhouse of a hit that even today stands as a sign of appreciation for the armed forced even in the most controversial of times. The point of this song was never to target war by supporting or denying it, but rather to remind us that no matter how disagreeable or costly, it’s always these men and women that have helped us to the end.

Cyrus’ ballad speaks through a narrator who recalls a former soldier named Sandy Kane. It is not revealed which war Kane served in or even how old he is, that is irrelevant. What is important is the message that Sandy Kane told the narrator which was done through the persona of a soldier, not a supporter, but an actual soldier in the song. The narrator keeps the story simple by explaining how Sandy left to war as a “boy” and “came back a man” although no-one ever really knew his name or what he had done for his country. To that he recalls Sandy’s response which becomes the chorus. The second verse is in the present, after Sandy’s death, where the narrator is still haunted by Sandy’s words and the ability for America to so easily forget those who were like Sandy. The whole song sums up to the one point that Sandy Kane makes in his speech, which is the tagline for the chorus and the entire song, “all gave some, and some gave all“. Sandy’s statement was meant to spark pride in America and remind everyone, one person at a time, that freedom didn’t come easy and it’s because of soldiers like him that we have it.

It’s cut and dry, Billy Ray Cyrus may not be the biggest star in country music history, but his soldier song will go down as one of the best the music indiustry has ever had to offer. It speaks for every soldier who has gone and who will die for the sake of American freedom no matter how controversial or costly the battle and gives extreme credit to those who have lived and came home only to be forgotten after everything they did. For 15 years this song has been an anthem to the American people and has served as a constant reminder to the nation of what it costs to be free. This truely is the best soldier song in country music.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2008 10:36 pm

    You know, I really like this one. Billy Ray is known for doing a lot of dribble, but that first album was pretty dang good.

    • PFC Ward permalink
      March 11, 2012 8:23 am

      haha just thought id say you have the same name as my baby neice 😛

  2. December 19, 2008 10:26 pm

    Great finish. Kudos.

  3. March 13, 2009 11:52 am

    I love you

  4. Hannah Montana your daughter permalink
    March 13, 2009 11:55 am

    sorry dad but you suck ooooooooooooooooooooooo i hate you

  5. Hannah Montana your daughter permalink
    March 13, 2009 11:56 am

    sorry dad you are great

  6. Matthew Birkinbine permalink
    April 19, 2009 12:11 am

    This song is indeed a great song, and definitely deserves to be in the top 5, but I don’t know about number one.

  7. gene permalink
    November 6, 2009 6:06 pm

    Mpre people should listen to the words of this song and maybe they would get a wakeup call! I have two shirts with this theme on them. Picture a dead Marine being carried by his buddies and get the pic!!

  8. May 9, 2010 11:15 pm

    Great song – one of the best ever to tell the story of our brave military men and women!

    We should never forget that freedom is not free and that the cost was and always will be the blood of those willing to put their lives on the line for the rest of us.

  9. Chuck Starnes permalink
    June 5, 2010 2:19 pm

    “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
    -JS Mill, 1863

    CTTCS R. D. “Chuck” Starnes, USN (Ret)
    Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical), United States Navy, Retired
    U.S. Army Security Agency: 23Jun69-28Jul72
    Chester City Policeman: 1Jan73-31Aug74
    South Carolina State Trooper: 1Sep74-11Dec78
    U.S. Naval Security Group: 12Dec78-31Jan96
    Surface: USS Luce (DDG-38), USS Josephus Daniels (CG-27) [twice], USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20), USS Saipan (LHA-2), USS Saratoga (CV-60), USS America, (CV-66), USS Eisenhower (CVN-69)
    Subsurface: USS Sargo (SSN-583), USS Haddo (SSN-604) [twice], USS Pintado (SSN-672), and USS New York City (SSN-696)

    It is the very things that we THINK we know, that keep us FROM LEARNING what we SHOULD KNOW.

    “For those that will fight for it…FREEDOM …has a flavor the protected shall never know.” Semper Fi! — L/Cpl Edwin L. “Tim” Craft, B Co 3rd AT’s, Khe Sanh Combat Base, February, 1968

    A veteran is an individual that at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with an amount of: UP TO AND INCLUDING MY LIFE. Folks that is Loyalty, Duty, and Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand that.

    “We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us.” (Possibly George Orwell)

    “The pessimist complains about the wind; The optimist expects it to change; The realist adjusts the sails.” –William Arthur Ward–

  10. maguire permalink
    February 15, 2012 3:14 pm

    i love u

  11. May 28, 2017 5:58 pm

    I remember meeting a man named Sandy Cain a former Vietnam soldier who was promoting a song very close to this one with the same title he recorded on a small label. We played it in 1973 on WWOC 1400 Portsmouth Va. I often wonder if that was the same Sandy Kane Billy recalled meeting in West Virginia years later. However it came to be I am glad this song has been so successful because it captures that “Soldiers spirit” and pays tribute to those who gave all….One of Billy Ray Cyrus’ best moments for sure

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