The multi-star "Give Peace a Chance" was only out one day before war broke out in the Persian Gulf, but the video channels have been playing it frequently and radio stations around the country have embraced it; an initial pressing of 300,000 has already sold out. The John Lennon song, or more specifically its chorus, is being heard at peace rallies around the world. In England, the BBC banned it on political grounds, though it's been very popular in Israel.

As for rally-round-the-flag songs, a few new ones have surfaced and a few old ones have been revived. Randy Newman weighs in with "Lines in the Sand," written Jan. 11, recorded Jan. 13 and released last week to radio stations by Warner Bros., which as of now has no plans to issue it commercially. The song, a solemn, hymnlike number nudged by piano and synthesizer, reflects on the unresolved attitudes many people have about the gulf war: "Deep in the desert evening draws nigh/ Brave sons and daughters look to the sky/Blood of these children, a stain on the land/ If they die to defend some lines in the sand," sings Newman. "The old men will guide you though we won't be there beside you/ We wish you well," he continues. "The whole world will watch as you make your brave stand/ as you try to defend the lines in the sand."

"We Are With You" is a local effort, written by Mike Stein, music director of the U.S. Navy's country-bluegrass group Country Current. Stein, nephew of Broadway composer and recent Kennedy Center honoree Jule Styne, wrote the song in October "on my own time and of my own volition." Country Current recorded it in early December and it was first played over country station WMZQ; now more than 400 stations have requested copies.

"Be yourself out in the desert night/ You know back home that it's dawn's early light," sing Stein, Wayne Taylor and Leslie Simpson, with a final chorus sung by 120 members of the Navy Band. "It makes you lonely but one thing you should know/ we are with you wherever you may go." Not surprisingly, the song has been heard over the Armed Forces Radio Network. In recent weeks, Country Current has also performed it on "Good Morning America," TNN's "Nashville Now" and "Entertainment Tonight."

Styx's "Show Me the Way" was simply the first single from that group's comeback album until Knoxville deejay Ray Edwards did a customized remix ("Desert Shield Mix") incorporating television and call-in comments from officials, soldiers and callers, at which point the song became the station's No. 1 request. WAVA Music Director Chris Taylor heard the song, but then did his own mix using sound bites from C-SPAN's coverage of the House and Senate debates before Congress gave its support for the war to President Bush. Taylor says the WAVA-customized song, which also includes listener calls, reflects people's indecision about the war. "It's not about the war, but finding in yourself the answers that you need," said Taylor, adding that the Styx song was also a top listeners' request at WAVA -- right behind Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice, Baby."

Before the outbreak of war, many country stations had played Hank Williams Jr.'s bellicose "Don't Give Us a Reason," but "it's more belligerent than we want to be on the air," says WMZQ Music Director Gary McCartie. "We're looking to be supportive rather than coming off as being anti-anything." That's why McCartie and many other stations are opting for Waylon Jennings's metaphoric "The Eagle":

"Lord knows I am peaceful/ when I am left alone/ I've always been an eagle/ It's been a while since I've flown/ My claws are sharp as ever,/ So's my eagle eye,/ Something's gonna go to ground/ When the eagle flies... ."

Some songs have come out of the woodwork: Byron McGregor's 1974 spoken hit "The Americans" (it's out of print and McGregor, now a deejay at Detroit's WLLZ, may record an updated version), and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" (given custom remixes by a number of urban stations, including WPGC). A quick survey of major record labels suggests events have unfolded so quickly, despite the sanctions and deadlines, that many artists have not really thought about comment on the gulf war, pro or con. However, U2 has been in the studio recording a cover version of Bruce Cockburn's "If I Had a Rocket Launcher," an anti-military song originally focused on the conflicts in Central America.

RCA has rush-released "War Song," a single written a year ago by Virginia Beach resident Vinnie James, whose debut album is to be released in March. The acoustic number features singer-songrocker James wondering whether any song can end a war, even as images of Vietnam dominate the landscape: "Now they're standing at the great black wall and a million tears in anger fall," James sings. "But if I could write a song that could end all wars/ I bet they wouldn't listen/ If I could write a song that would bring about peace/ I bet they wouldn't listen." James questions the nature of aggression and suggests that instead of putting money into armaments, we should "take our dying and failing school systems around the country and raise the level of understanding and wisdom."

Kilby Taylor's "Bang the Drum Softly," also written before the outbreak of war, suggests that "America, America, negotiations fail/ it's time to decorate the Persian Gulf with battleships unveiled/ it's time to intimidate destruction with our fists up in the air/ and hope the eyes of heaven see us all." The chorus goes "And here lies the fist of America banging the drum softly/ yeah, here lies the fist of America/ God bless the peaceful hand that bangs the drum softly."

The war has already had an effect on the business of music, as well. Billboard reports that many entertainment industry executives have canceled plans to attend the 25th international MIDEM conference this week in Cannes, France. It was expected to draw more than 9,000 people, including many from U.S. record companies, music publishers and performance rights organizations. This results from State Department warnings of possible terrorist attacks "in most regions of the world," particularly around airports; with many cancellations already made, other MIDEM-goers found convenient excuses to be absent, or as one exec told Billboard, "are you going to risk your life if no one you need to meet is going to be there?"

The Washington-based Recording Industry Association of America has suspended all international trips "for the time being," and increasing numbers of entertainers are canceling overseas tours. Cinderella and Slaughter canceled their joint European tour after appearances in England, electing not to go to Germany, Italy, France and Sweden until August. Judas Priest and Gloria Estefan are postponing sold-out European tours and it's likely the list will grow longer every day.

The war also intruded on Rio de Janeiro's Rock in Rio II festival, which got underway last weekend. Billy Idol, already on hand and doing double duty after Robert Plant canceled because of a throat infection, said, "We can't ignore what's going on... . It's crazy that people are being killed over there while we're having a good time, but someone has got to stand up to {Saddam} Hussein." On the other hand, reggae star Jimmy Cliff, who opened the 10-day festival last Friday, got sustained applause from a crowd of 150,000 when he called on Saddam and President Bush to avoid another Vietnam, then launched into his song "(No More) Vietnam."