One of the mythic events of World War I, the 1914 Christmas Truce began on Christmas Eve along the British and German lines around Ypres, Belgium. While it took hold in some areas manned by the French and Belgians, it was not as widespread as these nations viewed the Germans as invaders. Along the 27 miles of front manned by the British Expeditionary Force, Christmas Eve 1914 began as a normal day with firing on both sides. While in some areas firing began to slacken through the afternoon, in others it continued at its regular pace.
This impulse to celebrate the holiday season amid the landscape of war has been traced to several theories. Among these was the fact that the war was only four months old and the level of animosity between the ranks was not as high as it would be later in the war.
This was complimented by sense of shared discomfort as the early trenches lacked amenities and were prone to flooding. Also, the landscape, aside from the newly dug trenches, still appeared relatively normal, with fields and intact villages all of which contributed to introducing a degree of civilization to the proceedings.
Private Mullard of the London Rifle Brigade wrote home, "we heard a band in the German trenches, but our artillery spoilt the effect by dropping a couple of shells right in the centre of them." Despite this, Mullard was surprised at sunset to see, "trees stuck on top of the [German] trenches, lit up with candles, and all of the men sitting on top of the trenches. So of course we got out of ours and passed a few remarks, inviting each other to come over and have a drink and a smoke, but we did not like to trust each other at first.
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For a time during the 1930's, Big Bill Broonzy was one of the most popular and most prolific blues guitar musicians in America. He held copy writes to over 300 tunes during his career, appeared as a sideman on hundreds of other artists recordings and was one of the first African-American artists to make a successful crossover to white audiences. In other words, Big Bill Broonzy was one of the originators of the blues and he was instrumental in making the blues a genuine and viable musical genre.
But even more than that, Broonzy helped provide the vital link between the rough and raw Delta blues tradition to the more urban evolution of the Chicago blues which, has been shown countless times, was pivotal in the creation of 'rock and roll' a few decades further down the road. William Lee Conley Broonzy was born June 26th, 1893 (at least according to Broonzy) in Scott, Mississippi, quite literally on the banks of the Mississippi river. He was one of 17 children born to his sharecropper parents, Frank Broonzy and Mitte Belcher, both whom had been born into slavery.
Although Broonzy claimed the year of his birth as 1893, years after his death, his twin sister produced her birth certificate showing that they were actually born in 1897. Like so many others of the time, Broonzy's family tried to scratch a living out of the hard earth as share croppers, a brutal life of barely securing sustenance for their large families.
And when they did have a good year for crops, the arrangements that they had made with the land owners left them barely able to survive. It was a nomadic existence, forcing the families from one plot of land to another in hopes of making a better life each time. While still a young child, the Broonzy family relocated to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the place Bill always called his hometown.
While he was still a child, Broonzy, with the help of his Uncle Jerry Belcher, fashioned his first instrument, a fiddle, out of an old cigar box. Over time, his uncle taught him a handful of spirituals and folk songs. Broonzy and his friend Louis Carter, who played a home made guitar, began playing local churches and social gatherings. This was back during the time when social functions had '2 stages' where African-Americans would dance on one side and whites would dance on the other while the musicians sat between the two groups to play.
At 17 Bill had married and had begun working his own land as a share-cropper. During this time Broonzy had decided to give up the fiddle and opted to become a preacher. At one point, as the story goes, someone offered Bill $50 and a new fiddle to play a local party.
Bill was all set to decline the offer when he discovered that his wife had already accepted and spent the money forcing Bill to play the gig. After a drought in 1916 wiped out his crops, Bill decided to try his hand at coal mining which he continued to do until he drafted into the Army in 1917. He served two years fighting in the Europe during WW1 and returned to Little Rock, Arkansas upon his discharge.
When he returned home Broonzy found that he had lost his taste for farming and began to play local clubs around the area to support himself and his family. And like so many after him, Broonzy travelled the 'blues highway' from the Delta to Chicago seeking opportunity. When Broonzy had finally settled in Chicago, he hooked up with veteran medicine show entertainer Poppa Charlie Jackson who taught him the rudiments of blues guitar.
In 1877, Thomas Edison developed the phonautograph into a machine, the phonograph, that was capable of replaying the recordings made. The recordings were made on tinfoil, and were initially intended to be used as a voice recording medium, typically for office dictation.
This phonograph cylinder dominated the recorded sound market beginning in the 1880s. Lateral-cut disc records were invented by Emile Berliner in 1888 and were used exclusively in toys until 1894, when Berliner began marketing disc records under the Berliner Gramophone label. Berliner's records had poor sound quality, however, but work by Eldridge R. Johnson improved the fidelity to a point where they were as good as cylinders. Johnson's and Berliner's separate companies merged to form the Victor Talking Machine Company, whose products would come to dominate the market for many years later.
In an attempt to head off the disc advantage, Edison introduced the Amberol cylinder in 1909, with a maximum playing time of 4 minutes (at 160 rpm) to be in turn superseded by the Blue Amberol Record whose playing surface was made of Celluloid, an early plastic which was far less fragile than the earlier wax (in fact it would have been more or less indestructible had it not been for the plaster of paris core).
By November 1918 the patents for the manufacture of lateral-cut disc records expired, opening the field for countless companies to produce them, causing disc records to overtake cylinders in popularity. Edison ceased production of cylinders in 1929 (reputedly the day before the Wall Street Crash). Disc records would dominate the market until they were supplanted by the Compact Disc, starting from the early 1980s.
78 rpm disc developments.
Early disc recordings were produced in a variety of speeds ranging from 60 to 120 rpm, and a variety of sizes. At least one manufacturer, Philips, produced records that played at a constant linear velocity. As these were played from the inside to the outside, the rotational speed of the record reduced as reproduction progressed (as is also true of the modern Compact Disc).
As early as 1894, Emile Berliner's United States Gramophone Company was selling single-sided 7" discs with an advertised standard speed of "about 70 rpm".
One standard audio recording handbook describes speed regulators or "governors" as being part of a wave of improvement introduced rapidly after 1897.
A picture of a hand-cranked 1898 Victrola shows a governor. It says that spring drives replaced hand drives. It notes that:
"The speed regulator was furnished with an indicator that showed the speed when the machine was running so that the records, on reproduction, could be revolved at exactly the same speed...The literature does not disclose why 78 rpm was chosen for the phonograph industry, apparently this just happened to be the speed created by one of the early machines and, for no other reason continued to be used."
Record of Emile Berliner's Gramophone Company (later Deutsche Grammophon). Made 1908 in Hannover, Germany.
In America in 1900, the two leading manufacturers of flat records were Columbia, which used 80 rpm as its speed, and Victor, which used 76 rpm. Since one company's records were playable on the other's machines, it is only logical that the eventual standard speed would be in the middle.
By 1925, the speed of the record became standardised at a nominal value of 78 rpm. However, the standard was to differ between America and the rest of the world. The actual 78 speed in America was 78.26 rpm, being the speed of 3600 rpm synchronous motor (run from 60 Hz supply) reduced by 46:1 gearing. Throughout the rest of the world, 77.92 rpm was adopted being the speed of a 3000 rpm synchronous motor powered by a 50 Hz supply and reduced by 38.5:1 gearing.
Sarasota is a city located on the central west coast of Florida. In 1962, the Sarasota Mobile Home Park Auditorium was built as a meeting place for mobile home park residents. The auditorium is now used mostly as a leased facility by the public for dances, band concerts, meetings and private parties. The room has a well maintained three thousand square foot wood floor suitable for dances and meetings, and there is a large well-lit stage for bands or performances.
The Sarasota Mobile Home Band is one of the best established marching bands in the area, and frequently performs at the auditorium. In 1993, they earned national acclaim as they were presented with the Sudler Silver Scroll - an award which recognises and honours those community bands that have demonstrated particularly high standards of excellence in concert activities over a period of several years; and which have played a significant and leading role in the cultural and musical environment in their respective communities, by the John Philip Sousa Foundation.
The John Philip Sousa Foundation is a non-profit making organisation dedicated to the promotion of marching band music across the globe. The foundation administers a number of projects and awards supporting high quality band performance, conducting, and composition.
The foundation takes its name from John Philip Sousa, a prominent composer of American band music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. John Philip Sousa was born in Washington, D. C. on November 6, 1854. At age 13, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Band as a "boy" (apprentice) musician, but he also continued his private music studies, where he learned violin, harmony, and composition. After being discharged from the marines, he performed as a violinist and conductor in various theatre orchestras in Washington and Philadelphia.
By 1880, his fame as a conductor, composer, and arranger had been established and he was appointed leader of the U.S. Marine Band and held this position for 12 years, eventually moulding the band into the finest military band in the world. He resigned from the Marine Corps in 1892 to form his own civilian band, who in a matter of months had assumed a position of equality with the finest symphony orchestras of the day.
The Sousa band travelled the world in 1910 and 1911, made four additional tours of Europe, and annual tours of America. Although Sousa is stereotyped as a march composer, he composed music of many forms, including fifteen operettas. He was an indefatigable worker, proclaiming "when you hear of Sousa retiring, you will hear of Sousa dead". This prediction came true when he died suddenly following a band rehearsal in Reading, Pennsylvania on March 6, 1932.
"The Stars And Stripes Forever" is widely regarded to be Sousa's magnum opus, and following an act of Congress, it became the national march of the United States.
Southern Gospel music is one of the earliest forms of contemporary music in America. It has a rich history deeply rooted in the very fabric of the South and used as a venue to praise or thank God. Many artists spanning decades of American music history have covered southern gospel music in some way shape or form whether it be its style, its lyrics, or remakes of some of the most popular songs. Its influence is widespread and today is one of the largest music genres in our culture.
Southern Gospel music is a spin-off of original Gospel music that is a combination of Christian lyrics and forms of American music such as jazz and bluegrass. It originated in the 18th and 19th centuries by slaves that composed and sang these songs amongst themselves as a form of code to communicate with one another.
Once the revivalist churches got a hold of it, it began to spread throughout the south from travelling preachers and groups of men singing groups. Then in 1910 in began to take a new form called Southern Gospel. It was primarily in all white Southern churches sung by all male trios in quartets. In the 1920's southern gospel really began to take off.
At this time, there were many of the all male quartets travelling with the Southern preachers at tent revivals and church meetings. It was sort of like today's modern concert tour without all the luxuries. They gave people all over the South a chance to hear Southern Gospel music for the first time. Instruments were then introduced in the 1920's and 1930's with the inclusion of pianos and banjos that gave it an entire new flair. In the late 1930's and into 1940's southern radio stations began recording Gospel artists and then in the 1950's they began producing and distributing records.
This had a major influence on young Southern artists such as Elvis Pressley, Johnny Cash and the Blackwood Brothers just to name a few. Little did we know at that time it would create such a seismic shift in American music history.
It's progression through the 1950's and into the 1960's was monumental as southern country and rock 'n roll artists began to infuse their version of Southern Gospel music in to their own style. This had a tremendous impact on how the music genre would take shape over the next 50 years and become what it is today. Today it is a diverse genre of American music.
The 70's 80's and 90's all produced many artists in many different music genres that all became Southern Gospel artists from the Oak Ridge boys to rock 'n roll bands such as striper they all used the origins of Southern Gospel music as their modern-day platform to create their own sound and make their mark.
It is an ever-changing and significant piece of American music history that evolves with each passing decade and new generation of artists. There are too be many great years to come as we see it make another shift with the next generation of artists.
The initial force behind the Christmas Truce came from the Germans. In most cases, this began with the singing of carols and the appearance of Christmas trees along the trenches. Curious, Allied troops, who had been inundated with propaganda depicting the Germans as barbarians, began to join in the singing which led to both sides reaching out to communicate. From these first hesitant contacts informal ceasefires were arranged between units. As the lines in many places were only 30-70 yards apart, some fraternization between individuals had taken place prior to Christmas, but never on a large scale.
For the most part, both sides returned to their trenches later on Christmas Eve. The following morning, Christmas was celebrated in full, with men visiting across the lines and gifts of food and tobacco being exchanged. In several places, games of soccer were organized, though these tended to be mass "kick abouts" rather than formal matches. Private Ernie Williams of the 6th Cheshires reported, "I should think there were about a couple of hundred taking part...There was no sort of ill-will between us (Weintraub, 81)." Amid the music and sports, both sides frequently joined together for large Christmas dinners.
While the lower ranks were celebrating in the trenches, the high commands were both livid and concerned. General Sir John French, commanding the BEF, issued stern orders against fraternizing with the enemy. For the Germans, whose army possessed a long history of intense discipline, the outbreak of popular will among their soldiery was cause for worry and most stories of the truce were suppressed back in Germany. Though a hard line was taken officially, many generals took a relaxed approach seeing the truce as an opportunity to improve and re-supply their trenches, as well as scout out the enemy's position.
'Oh it's a lovely war!
Up to your waist in water, up to your eyes in slush,
Using the kind of language that makes the sergeant blush,
Who wouldn't join the army? That's what we all enquire.
Don't we pity the poor civilian sitting by the fire.
Oh, oh, oh it's a lovely war.
Who wouldn't be a soldier, eh? Oh it's a shame to take the pay.
As soon as reveille has gone we feel just as heavy as lead,
But we never get up till the sergeant brings our breakfast up to bed.
Oh, oh, oh, it's a lovely war
What do we want with eggs and ham when we've got plum and apple jam?
Form fours. Right turn. How shall we spend the money we earn?
Oh, oh, oh it's a lovely war.
When does a soldier grumble? When does he make a fuss?
No one is more contented in all the world than us.
Oh it's a cushy life, boys, really we love it so:
Once a fellow was sent on leave and simply refused to go.
Oh What A Lovely War was written in 1917 by J.P.Long and Maurice Scott as a music hall tune and adapted by the soldiers.
World War I, music was a prominent feature on the home
fronts and the battlefields. Most homes had a piano, and at
least one member of each family knew how to play it, providing
a common form of entertainment and socialization. Popular
music, therefore, saturated the citizenry and reached into all
of its corners, forming a great medium for conveying
Recognizing this capability, governments often used it
as an effective means for inspiring fervor, pride,
patriotism, and action in the citizens in order to gain manpower,
support, and funds. Composers and publishers readily
cooperated and adopted these new musical motifs with which to earn
money from a large population rallied by war and eager to
respond to the sentiments by purchasing the pro-war music.
Besides these incentives, composers and publishers often wrote music to promote their personal wartime sentiments. Dramatic graphics and additional messages printed on sheet music provided extra inspiration to the messages expressed by the lyrics and melodies, markedly increasing their capabilities as propaganda vehicles.
Music during World War I was often used to inspire passion and voluntary compliance in the listeners and, occasionally, shame in those who didn't support the war. Much of the music distributed during World War I greatly influenced social and political attitudes, thereby serving as an effective propaganda tool for private citizens and governments.
is a highly effective propaganda vehicle. The widespread
use and familiarity of popular songs enables them to function
effectively as mediums for messages, and the context and
conditions, such as the emotional climate during wartime,
can be used for further enhancement.
Music is adaptable, so
the melodies, beats, and dynamics can be adjusted to reflect
its message and enhance its impact on the listener. For example,
politicians use musical fanfare at public rallies to build
the momentum of the crowd and generate an emotional response
in support of their causes, as is seen in political campaign
songs and the protest songs of the 1960s and 1970s.
In this way, music provides a weapon of social change which can be used to achieve specific goals because the lyrics, together with the melody and rhythms, take on different and more significant meanings than those that appear on the surface. By promoting ideas and, often, inviting the listener to sing along in groups as a shared experience, music helps achieve the goals of the propagandist.
Besides the instantaneous
generation of emotions, the most effective propaganda songs have
qualities that make them memorable while relaying their
messages in a fashion that is not too emotionally extreme to
be accepted. Music permeates the spirit in ways that written
words alone cannot do. It is readily retained in memory;
therefore people who seldom engage in reading can be reached
This is especially evident in advertising and political
campaigns when listeners go through their daily routines
humming and singing catchy melodies that incorporate the praises
of products and candidates. Songs published with the direct
intent of improving morale, gaining support, collecting money,
or encouraging recruiting are, therefore, propaganda.
Propaganda is not always lies or distortion - even truths and
facts can be considered propaganda if they are used for the
purpose of promoting a cause.
"America's war songs and sea songs have played their part as incentives to patriotism, to enlistment in the ranks, to valour in the field and on the sea, and have served to inspire and cheer the fighting forces of the Republic. People of every nationality are moved to speech or to song by that which permeates the thoughts or appeals to the emotions in times of political excitement.
Love of country, together with a pride in its institutions,
be the latter of a primitive or more cultured form, smoulders in
the breast of all mankind. This latent spark when fanned into
a blaze of fervour finds vent in speech and in song, which in
turn inspires to action. Such is the birth of patriotic music.
No country, as history proves, can afford to ignore the
patriotic force capable of being brought into play through the power
of music, either in song or in instrumental form, both of which
performed their part in inciting to action.
It is said that some songs written by Charles Dibdin had so potent an influence in war, that, in 1803, the British government engaged him to write a series of them 'to keep alive the national feelings against the French,' and his biographer relates the pertinent fact that "his engagement ceased with the war he thus assisted in bringing to a glorious close."
Patriotic music encourages feelings of national unity. They can come in the form of national songs, hymns and even military themes. Below are two examples of popular patriotic songs in the US. "Yankee Doodle" Who among us have not heard of this song? It s not only a popular children's song, it is also one of America's patriotic songs.
As a matter of fact, it is the state song of Connecticut. The problem with the song is that despite its popularity, there are those who scrutinize it for the way it made fun of American troops. Thus, this song still became a part of American patriotism. We can trace the origin of this song to old English folk music. It emerged prior to the American Revolution.
It is how the British mocked American soldiers. This is how the term "yankee" came about as a negative term for the Americans. For "doodle", the term implies "simpleton" or "fool". With regards to its inclusion in the American Revolution, when the Americans or "Yankees" began taking the British into the Revolution, they were also able to take command over this song.
They started singing it proudly as a way to taunt English soldiers. "America the Beautiful" This is an American folk song that is often referred to as the national hymn of the US. This piece was adapted from Katharine Lee Bates, a Wellsely College English professor. She wrote in the year 1893 during her trip to Colorado.
It mentions the beauty of the country she is traveling to. According to her, she got her inspiration from her visit to Pike's Peak. The original version of this piece, only had four verses. After a while, they expanded it to eight verses and revised the lyrics. It was used by The Congregationalist to commemorate Independence Day in the year 1895.
It was Samuel Ward, a New Jersey composer who gave music to the poem. A combination of both the poem and the music was first heard in 1910. Though there was talk that "America the Beautiful" may replace "The Star Spangled Banner", there's no indication that this would even happen - nor if it is even considered. Still, the song projects the physical beauty and breadth of the United States.
In the 1930s and 1940s, the arts
held a prominent place in the
ideology and propaganda of National Socialism. In 1933,
shortly after Hitler became chancellor, Schott published the
Badonviller Marsch, Hitler's "official entrance music" (similar in meaning to the American President's
Hail to the Chief ) and put together a group of "hearth and home" songs with the title German
Homeland. In 1934, Hermann Blume's Adolf Hitler Fanfare
was published in a collection of marches.
During the summer of 1942, Hitler suggested that propaganda broadcasts aimed at Britain and America should contain musical styles that appealed to those audiences, resulting in the use of popular music to deliver messages to other cultures. (Morton,.3) For instance, after the first regularly-worded verse of a song, a voice came on saying: "Here is Mr. Churchill's latest song." The melody was the familiar tune of The Sheik of Araby, a song enjoyed during the wartime by both British and American listeners, but the words that followed were different:
Using these altered lyrics, German government employees attempted to broadcast propaganda messages to their enemies using the language and musical style of those enemies. In 1944, a collection of fourteen songs published in Germany displayed a prominent dedication to Adolph Hitler and contained songs entitled Praise to the Fuhrer and One Fuhrer, People, and Reich.
"I'm afraid of Germany, her planes are beating me.
At night, when I should sleep, into the Anderson I must creep.
Although I'm England's leading man, I'm led to the cellar by ten.
A leader in the cellar each night, that's the only damned way I can fight."
During World War II, popular music served as American government propaganda by helping to support pre-existing cultural assumptions about the Japanese. Government officials understood the power of music and used it to mobilize the American people in support of the war against Japan. Images in the lyrics presented the contrast of an inferior Japan with a civilized and progressive United States.
Music composers and publishers, challenged
to produce an enemy, used lyrics to dehumanize the Japanese
during WWII. They sang of the struggle of the good (meaning Christian)
Americans against an evil enemy, the "heathen" Japanese,
referring to the attack at Pearl Harbor as a "sin"
against both the United States and God.
The lyrics in When We Set that Rising Sun (1945) proclaimed that Japan was "a land of heathen people" with "no respect for God or man." Using spiritual overtones in this way gave the Americans a reason to believe that the United States had a moral imperative to participate in the war.
The issue of race predominated
in anti-Japanese songs just as it had in those used against
Germany. With Japan, however, the focus was on an entire people
rather than a segment, such as the Nazis, or particular
leaders, such as Hitler.
Sheet music covers furthered the propaganda images by suggesting a hierarchical relationship that likened Japan to a country full of naughty children who needed to be punished by the United States. Sheet music illustrations depicted tiny Japanese soldiers being spanked by a large, faceless hand or over the knee of Uncle Sam.
Wake Up, America!
Music by Jack Glogau
Words by George Graff, Jr.
Published 1916 by Leo Feist, Inc.
Have we forgotten, America,
The battles our fathers fought?
Are we ashamed of our history
In the peace that fighting brought?
Must we be laughed at, America,
while our swords turn weak with rust?
Is the blood of our fathers wasted?
And how have we treated their trust?
Is Columbia the gem of the ocean?
Is Old Glory the pride of the Free?
Let's forget ev'ry selfish emotion,
United for ever let's be!
Wake up, America, If we are called to war,
Are we prepared to give our lives
For our sweethearts and our wives?
Are our mothers and our homes worth fighting for?
Let us pray, God, for peace, but peace with honor,
But let's get ready to answer duty's call,
So when Old Glory stands unfurled,
Let it mean to all the word,
America is ready, that's all!
Do you remember George Washington,
That winter at Valley Forge?
Jackson and Custer and faragut,
And of Perry at Fort George?
Mc Kinley and Lincoln were fighting men,
and the heroes our country knew,
Simply crowd thru our hist'ry pages,
Just think what they've done all for you!
Made Columbia the gem of the ocean,
Made Old Glory the pride of the Free,
Shall we fail in our test of devotion?
Oh! what is our hist'ry to be?
It is noteworthy that many of the
songs reviewed above use "we"
in the lyrics, an effective strategy that allows direct
participation by those singing the song, plus the word "we"
creates a group effort, a solidarity of thought and action, all
goals of effective propaganda. Besides this approach, many
WWI songs had a rousing martial ring accompanied by a strong
patriotic message, such as: We're Going Over, Just Like Washington
Crossed the Delaware, General Pershing Will Cross the Rhine, We
Don't Want the Bacon - What We Want Is a Piece of the
Rhine, Keep Your Head Down Fritzi Boy, Lafayette, We Hear You
Calling, Your Country Needs You and Liberty Bell, It's Time
to Ring Again. (Scorch format)
These messages were purposefully
effective in instilling the spirit of war in the consciousness
of civilians. In 1918 the United States government banned
"peace songs" as " comforting to the enemy,"
and governmental officials set up restrictions concerning which
songs could be sent to overseas combatants. (Marks, 193)
Restricting exposure to any specific types of music indicates that there's an expected effect from it on those who hear it, indicating that the music was clearly delivering a message which the government did not want people to hear, therefore making the deletion of the message into a propaganda move.
The importance of music in sending messages that boosted morale and support during the war was reflected by a writer for the New York Evening Post in August 1918 who addressed the subject of the proliferation of pro-war music as follows:
"New Songs of War: Vulgar and Cheap? No doubt, they are often so…We can afford to have the people singing many shabby, faulty songs, along with better ones, but we could never afford to have them singing none at all.'
These "vulgar and cheap" songs were performed by many concert artists, both at bond rallies and in their more formal concert programs. Leonard Liebling wrote in the Musical Courier of August, 1918 as follows: "Our nation is being stirred fundamentally at this moment, and the primitive and elemental, rather than the subtle and cultured emotions and impulses, (are) ready to react to the sentiment, written, spoken, or sung - especially sung." Music was, therefore, seen as creating pro-war support and encouragement while maintaining emotional balance in the citizens, clearly goals contained in effective propaganda.
Perhaps the first point at which reality began to set in was at that point when it was time to say good-bye. At this point all the bravado is of no service. Soldiers, families and sweethearts must now look themselves square in the eye and face the prospect of never seeing each other again. Song after song was written about this aspect of the war but perhaps none so poignant and touching as Till We Meet Again.
This song has survived as one of the greatest classics of all time. It became the generic "good-bye" song for any situation; war, graduation, off to school, you name it. If it was good-bye to someone special, this was THE song to sing. The words are touching and the melody is completely unforgettable. I have this song in both the full size and war-edition versions, the covers for both are identical.
Richard Whiting (b. 1891, Peoria, IL, d. 1938 Beverly Hills, CA) is one of America's greatest songwriters. He taught himself the piano and music theory and talked his father into publishing his first songs. He worked for Jerome Remick for a time and in 1912 became manager of Remick's Detroit office. He wrote many, many of the classic American songs we still know today.
Till We Meet Again is one of his earlier works. In 1919 he moved to New York where he wrote songs for musicals. Among his best known songs from he 20's is the great Breezin' Along With The Breeze and Sleepy Time Gal. Later hits included Beyond The Blue Horizon and The Good Ship Lollipop. He was the father of the great popular singers Margaret and Barbara Whiting. His melodies have been described as having a graceful and effortless style.
At last, it is time to fish or cut bait. The training is done, good-byes to the family and friends are over and the boys are ready to go "over there". Now, after saying good-bye to everyone else, it is time to say good-bye to America and cross the sea to France. Many of the songs of the period (as we will see in the next issue of this series) focused on France and the comradeship that America and France shared.
to be a bond that was further felt in W.W.II and has since
faded somewhat. Nonetheless, there were plenty of heart felt good
feelings towards France in appreciation for help France always
gave us in our wars so we were happy to go help out at last.
This song was one of the more successful "good-bye songs" and
was performed as a part of
The Passing Show of 1917
The covers of
many of the W.W.I songs are also wonderful as the war gave artists
new and exciting subjects to illustrate. The war not only
stirred the creativity of composers and lyricists but also illustrators
giving us one of the most colourful periods of American music we
have ever seen.
The composer, Billy Baskette (1884 - 1949) was very successful with a number of prominent songs to his credit besides this one. He wrote Hawaiian Butterfly(1917), Dream Train (1929) and Hoosier Sweetheart (1927) to name only a few. One of his songs, Baby's Prayer Will Soon Be Answered was written in 1919 in response to his earlier song Just A Baby's Prayer at Twilight (For Her Daddy Over There) a pair of late war songs hoping for a soldier's safe return.
1914, music hall was by far the most popular form of popular
song. It was listened to and sung along to in theatres which
were getting ever larger (three thousand seaters were not uncommon)
and in which the musical acts were gradually overshadowing all
other acts (animal imitators, acrobats, human freaks, conjurors,
etc.) The industry was more and more dominated by chains of
theatres like Moss, and by music publishers, since selling sheet
music was very profitable indeed—a real hit could sell over a
The seats at the music hall could be very cheap and attracted a largely working class audience, for whom a gramophone would generally be too expensive. Although many ordinary people had heard gramophones in seaside resorts or in park concerts organized by local councils, many more would discover the gramophone while in the army, since gramophone manufacturers produced large numbers of portable gramophones "for our soldiers in France".
The repertoire of songs was dominated by the jauntily comic. The domineering wife or mother-in-law, the bourgeois, the foreigner, the Black man and the Jew were cheerfully mocked in an atmosphere where objections to sexism or racism in songs were practically unknown. Many more songs were made up of tongue-twisters or other comic elements.
Sentimental love songs and dreams of an ideal land (Ireland or Dixie in particular) made up another major category. Practically all the songs of the era are unknown today; several thousand music hall songs were published in the UK alone during the war years. The singers moved from town to town, many just scraping together a living, but a few making a lot of money. The key stars at the time included Marie Lloyd, Vesta Tilley, George Formby, Sr., Harry Lauder, Gertie Gitana and Harry Champion.
It was the raucous stage and vaudeville music in the US and in English music hall from the first decade of the 19th century through the days when vaudeville died. It was the music of the English dancehall up to the 30s and 40s.
It was the morale-building war songs of the Allies through war's end in 1918. It was the so-called "war mongering" music in the US that lead up to moment when the British luxury liner Lusitania was torpedoed and the United States joined the fight alongside the British Empire and the other allied nations.
It was the music of England's close-knit Russian ally, Czar Nicholas, until his debacle on the Eastern Front and after his country made a shameful peace with Germany. It was the music of the bleak days of the Bolshevik Revolution, the violent and repressive Communist regime, of the Komintern and the Third International, the International, the Russian industrial revolution, and the building of a mighty Soviet empire.
It was the music that once and for all put an end to the fin de siècle. It was the music on the home front that bemoaned many a gruesome and gray day in the trenches. It was the music of postwar relief, of grief, of the sudden realization that it was over at last. It was the music of those who had had the good luck to survive, of surprise at simply being free and alive. It was the music of joie de vivre and popping champagne corks and accordions playing in Parisian streets, in the cafes and on the boulevards and along the Champs Elysees during the gay days and the wild, heady nights of celebration that followed.
It was the music of the Hun and the other Axis nations throughout the war and later, in the drab cynicism, suffering, hunger, and dreary boredom that followed.
music of the Flapper, the taxi dancer, Prohibition, the
Crash and Black Monday, of boom and bust, of Paris in
the Spring and the American presence there in the 20s,
30s, and 40s, of the rise to power of the Nazis, their
Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag
And smile, smile, smile.
While you've a lucifer* to light your fag,
Smile boys, that's the style.
What's the use of worrying?
It never was worthwhile so,
Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag
And smile, smile, smile.
* lucifer - a brand of matches
One of the most famous First World War songs - also sung in the Second World War.
It's a long way to Tipperary
It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tipperary,
To the sweetest girl I know.
Farewell Leicester Square,
It's a long, long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.
That's the wrong way to tickle Mary,
That's the wrong way to kiss!
Don't you know that over here, lad,
They like it best like this!
Hooray pour le Francais!
We didn't know the way to tickle Mary,
But we learned how, over there!
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