World War One in American Song
A Call To Arms, Going to War, Page 2
Good Morning Mr. Zip-Zip-Zip
Music by: Robert Lloyd
Lyrics by: Lloyd
Cover artist: Henry Hutt
One part of going to war was the enlistment and training
of recruits. Of course there were no shortages of volunteers. Once the
country committed to joining the war, young men from every walk of life
queued up to enlist. It was a sign of manhood, a badge of courage (later,
the red badge) to become a soldier and go overseas to fight. At this
point, we still cannot see the ugly reality of war and excitement rules.
This cover is in what was called the "War Edition"
format. As we entered the war, resources became important and even paper
became an important material to preserve. The size of this sheet is
7" (17.8cm) by 10.5" (26.5cm) as compared to the pre-war normal
size of 10.5" (26.5cm) by 13.5" (34.5cm), nominally 11x14
inches. After the war, sheet music never returned to the old large size
but rather, settled in to a smaller 9 by 12 inches. The caption on the
cover reads as follows:
"To cooperate with the Government and to conserve
paper during the War, this song is issued in a smaller size than usual.
Save! Save! Save is the watchword to-day. This is the spirit in which
we are working and your cooperation will be very much appreciated."
The smaller size did save paper but required much better eyesight by
the player as sometimes the music inside got pretty small!
The composer of this song is listed as an "Army Song Leader"
and I cannot find any information about him. The song leader is most
often found in the context of church music, however, song leaders were
also an important part of Scouting (campfire song leaders) and were
carried on into the Army as a method of promoting morale and for entertainment
in camp. The song leader would typically start a song and sing the lyrics
for the group who would then repeat them. If there are any ex-W.W.I
song leaders out there, let us know more about your role! Another great
W.W.I "going away" song, K-K-K-Katy, was also written by a
song leader. You can hear K-K-K-Katy by going to our essay
this month about W.W.I music.
Mr. Zip-Zip-Zip speaks to the diversity of people entering the Army
and their common goal to win the war. It also speaks to how the Army
takes all these diverse people and regiments them so that once done,
they are all the same.
We Meet Again
Music by: Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by: Raymond B. Egan
Cover artist: Frederick S. Manning
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
His Buttons Are Marked
1902 (reissued 1918)
Music by: Carrie Jacobs-Bond
Lyrics by: Mary Norton Bradford
Cover artist: unknown
Let's not forget the effect of Daddy's going off to war on the children.
For them, it becomes more difficult to understand what was happening.
War and going off to war is a hard concept to explain to small children
and this song clearly shows that children will relate things to what
they know. This song by my favorite composer Carrie Jacobs-Bond (see
our June, 2000 feature about her
music and her
The song was originally written in 1902 and Bond reissued it in 1918
as the subject matter was still fresh and relevant. The song is written
from the viewpoint of a small young girl who is trying to figure out
what is happening with her daddy. It is a very enjoyable song and a
typically insightful work by Bond who seems to be able to get to the
heart of any issue. You must see the lyrics so be sure you have your
scorch player installed by now.
Kiss That Made Me Cry
Music by: Archie Gottler
Lyrics by: Joe Burns & Arthur Fields
Cover artist: unknown
As hard as it may be for the children to understand, to a devoted Father
and family man, saying good-bye can be painful, especially when it comes
to the kids. Finally, all bravado and macho is stripped away and we
see that the brave soldiers are just like any of us. They have hopes
and fears and loves that they would really rather not have to leave
behind. Loneliness is soon to come as they face the horrors of war.
This song is a touching story of a returning soldier recounting the
most difficult part of his war experience; saying good-bye to his family.
Archie Gottler is perhaps most famous for his patriotic song America
I Love You, (see our March,
1998 feature) introduced by Eva Tanguay in 1915. He wrote a number
of classic American songs including two in collaboration with Maceo
Pinkard; Don't Be Like That and Lila, which Fred Waring's
Pennsylvanians later recorded on a best selling disc. His songs are
marked by wonderful melodies and patriotic fervor. In one case, he showed
his good humor with the novelty War song, Would You Rather Be A Colonel
With An Eagle On Your Shoulder Or A Private With A Chicken On Your Knee?.
Music by: Billy Baskette
Lyrics by: C. Francis Reisner & Benny Davis
Cover artist: Rose
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.
There seemed 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 colorful periods of American music we have
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
that you have seen our featured songs, be sure to read our Essay
On World War One Music for more information about W.W.I music, how it
affected our lives and the war and how it helped the war effort. See more
covers and hear a few more songs there too.
We hope you have enjoyed this month's feature and we appreciate
your interest in our efforts to bring you the best American popular music
history site on the web. Be sure to tell your friends and family about us.
If you have suggestions for themes or issues you would like to see in the
future, please contact us. We will see you back next month for the second
in this series about American Music from World war One. The second issue will
present you with music written about what was going on "over there"
and the war itself. You won't want to miss the next installment in the series
so stay tuned! Have a great month.
We hope you are enjoying this month's feature. For more great songs about World War I" go back to part A.
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