By: Kathryn Summers
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the service members who have fallen in combat. To honor our military heroes today, listen to music by these five rockers who also served in the military!
1. Elvis Presley
One of the most popular music icons of the 20th century, The King was drafted by the military and was inducted on March 24, 1958 in Memphis, Tennessee. Just two years prior, he was considered a superstar of both music and film. In September 1958, Presley left to serve a year and a half of active duty in Germany, eventually earning his sergeant’s stripes. Soon after his release, Elvis released Elvis Is Back!, which featured songs like “Fever” and “Soldier Boy.”
2. Jimi Hendrix
One of the greatest guitarists in the history of Rock n’ Roll, Jimi Hendrix chose to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1961. After a run-in with the law over stolen cars, Hendrix was given the option of either spending two years in jail or joining the army. He was stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, only serving one year before he was honorably discharged after an alleged ankle injury. Seemingly unable to put down his guitar, the army wasn’t a good fit for the man who went on to be Rolling Stone’s Greatest Guitarist of All Time.
3. Jerry Garcia
Before The Grateful Dead, the psychedelic rock band’s frontman, Jerry Garcia, served in the U.S. Army for a brief nine-month stint. Garcia enlisted after dropping out of high school at the age of 17, but even then, he was consumed by his music. He told Rolling Stone (via Paste Magazine), “Yeah, 17. I joined the Army, smuggling my guitar in.” Needless to say, Garcia didn’t last long and was discharged for poor conduct.
4. Bon Scott – AC/DC
Just like Garcia and Hendrix, Bon Scott couldn’t stay out of trouble as a teen and dropped out of school at the age of 15 and spending a small time in prison. Born in Scotland, the lead singer of Australian hard rock band AC/DC served in the Australian Army for a short time before being discharged for bad behavior. But if it wasn’t for Bon Scott’s attitude, it’s safe to say we wouldn’t have “Highway to Hell” and “Back in Black” to listen to.
5. Bruce Dickinson – Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson followed in his father’s footsteps when he joined the military. After attending a boarding school where he worked with live ammunition, Dickinson enrolled in the U.K.’s Territorial Army. In the end, Dickinson only served in the TA for only six months before leaving to pursue music fulltime.