Once called the Bob Dylan of Vietnam by renowned folk singer Joan Baez, Trinh Cong Son penned more than 600 songs during his long and illustrious career, becoming one of Vietnam's most beloved singer/songwriters in the process. Born in the Central Highland province of Daklak, Son grew up in the ancient imperial capital of Hue and by the late '50s, decided to put his planned profession (teaching) behind him in favor of music. During the '60s, Son rose to prominence with anti-war songs during the height of the Vietnam War; as a result, he was persecuted by the South Vietnamese government in the late '60s and early '70s. When the war ended, most of Son's family fled the country, but Son bravely decided to stay and spent more than a year in forced labor "re-education camps." One of his biggest hits, "Lullaby (Ngu Di Con)," about a mother grieving her son who has gone off to war, became a hit in Japan in 1972, and although his pro-peace songs about war's pointlessness were banned in his country at the time, bootlegs regularly circulated throughout South Vietnam and overseas. Son's popularity was restored by the late '80s, as his songs were performed by some of Vietnam's biggest pop artists, including vocalist Hong Nhung. On April 1, 2001, Trinh Cong Son died at the age of 62 in a Vietnam hospital, from complications brought on by diabetes.
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