Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2021 will occur on Monday, May 31.
Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.
Some great music came out of wartime. And we’ve got a few this week. Let’s get started.
Our first tune has nothing to do with soldiers or the holiday. But it does fit the theme and our weekly tradition of a rip-roaring opening.
The song was a favorite of the American military around the start of the 20th century, particularly during the Spanish-American War, and was also popular during WWI. Wisconsin Badger fans know it well.
Did you enjoy that surprise twin spin?
BTW…”There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.” Not about what it sounds like. Actually the song tells the story about a religious revival meeting.
When you hear the preachin’ has begin,
Bend down low for to drive away your sin;
When you get religion you’ll wanna shout and sing,
There’ll be a hot time in old town tonight!
“After declaring on April 16, 1917 that the American troops were joining in the war, President Wilson faced the task of swaying public opinion in favor of the conscription and mobilization of troops. Anti-war sentiment was still strong among the American citizens, and had been an important part of the foundation on which Wilson was reelected. The day after.
“Wilson’s declaration of war against Germany, George M.Cohan composed Over There, a march containing lyrics that stressed patriotism and a sense of national identity. It was one of the most successful American pro-war propaganda songs, enthusiastically inspiring the American spirit of confidence about the ability of our troops to end the war and return home safely.”
––From an essay by K.A. Wells
The American Film Institute in 1998 commemorated the first 100 years of American movies by selecting the 100 greatest American movies of all time, as determined by more than 1,500 leaders from the American film community.
A 1942 romantic drama of wartime sacrifice set in Nazi-occupied French Morocco came in at #2 and won Best Picture.
In 1973 Harry Nilsson (“Everybody’s Talkin'”) released “A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night,” an album comprising standards from the Great American Songbook. Nilsson appeared on this studio concert produced by the BBC.
Harry Nilsson died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack in 1994. He was 52.
Staying with WWII the 1941 film “Buck Privates” was a military music comedy. Sorry Bette Midler. Sorry Christine Aguilera. No one did it better than the Andrews Sisters.
“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” was nominated for an Oscar for best song but lost to “The Last Time I Saw Paris.”
In 2019 America marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for the largest amphibious military operation in history, the Allied invasion of northern France.
By daybreak, 18,000 British and American parachutists were already on the ground. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion. At 6:30 a.m., American troops came ashore at Utah and Omaha beaches, and fought a hard, victorious battle. Without the heroic sacrifices made on D-Day the Allies may have never defeated the Nazi forces in Europe.
The historic invasion was made into an epic film in 1962.
Hard to believe, but the guy who gave us “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” also wrote “My Way.”
We move now to the “Forgotten War,” the Korean War.
Was it a war, conflict, police action? What?
The biggest recording of this next song came during the war in the summer of 1951 by the Ames Brothers. More than 40 years later…
At the 1994 Grammy Awards Cole’s album won for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.
You may recall “Undecided” in an episode of M*A*S*H. Watch about 90 seconds…
That was from the opener in Season 11, the last in the series. The entire Korean War lasted three years.
“The famous General John J. Pershing once remarked, ‘Music is as necessary to the boys as sleep and food.’ Major General Leonard Wood, who trained soldiers at Camp Funston, shared a similar philosophy and claimed, ‘It is just as essential that a soldier know how to sing as that he should carry rifles and know how to shoot them.’ Music was valued as a military asset, potent ammunition in the battle to uphold morale that was at least as important as the battle to defeat the Central Powers.”
—Dr. Kristin Griffeath, Associate Professor of Music at Southwestern Oklahoma State University
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.