"I Was Only 19" as written by John Lewis Schumann, Kaho Cheung, Simon Luke Fellows, Dale Anthony Harrison, Shannon Lee Kennedy, Timothy James Levinson, Kenneth Spencer Sabir and Richard Tamplenizza....
Mum and dad and Danny saw the passing out parade at Puckapunyal
It was a long march from cadets
The sixth battalion was the next to tour and it was me who drew the card
We did Canungra and Shoalwater before we left

And Townsville lined the footpaths as we marched down to the quay
This clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean
And there's me in me slouch hat with me SLR and greens
God help me
I was only nineteen

From Vung Tau riding Chinooks to the dust at Nui Dat
I'd been in and out of choppers now for months
And we made our tents a home, V.B. and pinups on the lockers
And an Asian orange sunset through the scrub

And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep?
And night time's just a jungle dark and a barking M.16?
And what's this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me
I was only nineteen

A four week operation, when each step can mean your last one on two legs
It was a war within yourself
But you wouldn't let your mates down 'til they had you dusted off
So you closed your eyes and thought about somethin' else

And then someone yelled out contact, and the bloke behind me swore
We hooked in there for hours, then a God almighty roar
And Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon
God help me
He was goin' home in June

And I can still see Frankie, drinkin' tinnies in the Grand Hotel
On a thirty-six hour rec. leave in Vung Tau
And I can still hear Frankie, lying screaming in the jungle
'Til the morphine came and killed the bloody row

And the Anzac legends didn't mention mud and blood and tears
And the stories that my father told me never seemed quite real
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn't even feel
God help me
I was only nineteen

And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep?
And why the Channel Seven chopper chills me to my feet?
And what's this rash that comes and goes
Can you tell me what it means?
God help me
I was only nineteen


Lyrics submitted by __TEEN__SPIRIT__

"I Was Only 19" as written by John Lewis Schumann Dale Anthony Harrison

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Spirit Music Group, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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I Was Only 19 song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentAs a friend of mine said - 'it contemporises an important issue without making it lose any meaning' This is spot on, and they did an awesome job with it! Love it!
    hannah0032on May 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFucking awesome cover of classic song by redgum
    __TEEN__SPIRIT__on April 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts on Triple J all the time. I don't like it all that much, really.
    Summercloudon April 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits a brilliant cover of redgums brilliant song.
    it gets the message of the devistation of war across to young people in a way that they can hear it and understand it unlike a long monotonus lecture about all the same stuff, that doesnt do anything.
    Billahon March 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is... i cant think of a strong enough word to describe it!! it carries such a powerful message about the devastation of war. in my opinion, war should only ever be used as a last resort, but it never is... my favourite bit is where they describe frank and the anzac legend. it makes me so emotional- i have so much empathy for the boys and men who were conscripted against their will! its just not fair! there's nothing right about war, and yet its still going on today... this song is a BRILLIANT cover of a BRILLIANT original song! to redgums credit, the lyrics are so straightforward and sincere, yet soo powerful!!!! as long as war is still a prominent issue, this song will never grow old!
    danagirl001on July 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTears welled in my eyes at the part of the song that said Frank was going home in June.
    My God... This song perfectly protrays the horrors of war.
    The Herd are awesome, they've perfected this song as a cover and have shown they're a hip-hop band that don't just sing about the kind of stuff your average hip-hop band might sing about (eg. sex, drugs, alcohol, etc).
    I think this song will speak out to a younger audience now that it's been reconstructed as a hip-hop song by a band many young people love.
    This song has a powerful and important message.

    McMuffinon February 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentP.s. Didn't want to stereotype hip-hop bands just there ^^^^^ cos I am a lover of Aussie hip-hop lol.
    But often you hear heaps of hip-hop artists sing about such themes like sex and drugs, etc.
    Not that that's a bad thing, but yeah I'm impressed that The Herd have decided to do a cover of a song about war, not related to the sex/drug/alcohol/street-life theme.
    Yeah powerful song =]
    McMuffinon February 06, 2009   Link

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