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World War One in American Song Part 1: A Call To Arms, Going to War, Page 2



Good Morning Mr. Zip-Zip-Zip
1918
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.

Hear this great wartime enlistment song. (Scorch)

MIDI version


Till We Meet Again
1918
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 style.

Hear this great old tune (scorch)

MIDI version



His Buttons Are Marked
"U.S."

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 biography)

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.

Hear this clever war song (scorch)

MIDI version





The Kiss That Made Me Cry
1918
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?.

Hear this great W.W.I song (scorch)

MIDI version





Good-Bye Broadway,
Hello France

1917
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 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.

Hear this great W.W.I march song (scorch)

MIDI version


Now 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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