“The Annotated Army Song Book” (2024)

The Annotated Army Song Book Part 1

Songs for the Soldiers

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (1)

The National Committee was charged to publish an official songbook to be distributed to song leaders, officers, and soldiers. The purpose was to familiarize the soldiers with army songs and encourage their singing. Thus, the first song book was published in the fall of 1917. In this page, you will find all the songs in the songbook with descriptions on how they relate to the American war effort.

Initially entitled Songs of the Soldiers and Sailors U.S., the first edition was a collection based on those that “were then popular in the camps, together with others of sure appeal and true value.”15 The song leaders wanted more songs published with music notation since the first edition only included text.16 They asked Lee Hamner, leader of the military entertainment committee of CTCA, for a revised edition. In 1918, the second edition was published and was renamed Army Song Book. Songs were chosen in accordance with the song leader’s reports about a song's popularity. Songs chosen “endeavored to include a fair proportion of songs according to the following classification: national and patriotic songs, folk songs, popular songs of the day, and hymns.”17Lyrics expressed six recurring themes: “patriotism, God and religion, love and women, rustic home and nostalgia, the soldier routine, and death.”18

Loosely bound in khaki colored paperback, this 3 ½” x 5” 100-page song book is small enough to fit in a soldier’s uniform pocket. There are eighty-two songs, seventy-nine of which are simple melodic lines with lyrics. “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Under the Stripes and Stars” contain simple harmonizations while meter and key signatures are indicated for each selection. Style symbols are predominantly reserved for phrase markings. The songs are categorized into four types: 18 national and patriotic songs, 14 folk songs, 36 popular songs, and 14 hymns. Most songs were taught to the soldiers, but the following eight were selected that all men were to learn: “America,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Old Black Joe,” “Swanee River,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Roll, Jordan, Roll” and “La Marseillaise,” the French national anthem.19 Including a foreign anthem represented the War Department’s goal of unifying soldiers from diverse backgrounds - fellow Americans with foreign heritage and the Allied forces. “La Marseillaise” was so popular that Music in the Camps published a phonetic spelling of the French text to help song leaders with the pronunciation.20

The subject of the songs clearly represented the objectives of the CTCA: to encourage men to fight efficiently.21 The CTCA wanted to create a singing crusade of soldiers and that America was sending soldiers to “a war against militarism, a war to redeem a barbarous Europe, a crusade.”22 America’s focus was to win the war. For the first time, the government recognized the importance of music as a medium for propaganda and as a tool for training. According to the Commission’s report, the soldiers were “grabbing” or “eating up” the songs in the book.23 Clearly, soldiers loved singing, but these reports were published by the National Committee that had an incentive to be biased since they wanted their programs to be successful and favored positive stories for publishing. What then did the soldiers sing?

To find out, ask a veteran. Check out John J. Niles'The Songs My Mother Never Taught Me.

Where applicable, click on the link below each score to access a recording of the song.


15. Camp Music Division, p.12
16. Chang, p.35
17. Camp Music Division, p.42
18. Reed, p.118
19. Chang, p.38
20. Music in the Camps, Nos. 41 and 42
21. The initial reason for including singing and other CTCA activities into military training was to provide troops alternatives with constructive recreational activities and discourage them from enlisting the services of prostitutes. The effectiveness of this program is still under debate, but the significance of the singing program should not be underestimated. After all, veterans claimed in interviews after WWI that the singing experience was appreciated by many soldiers and there was no harm in encouraging them to sing.

For more information on camp music singing, this article by Morgan-Ellis discusses Warren Kimsey's career as the first song leader assigned to Camp Gordon, an army training camp.Morgan-Ellis, Esther M. "Warren Kimsey and Community Singing at Camp Gordon, 1917-1918." InJournal of Historical Research in Music Education Vol. 39, no. 2 (2018): 171-94.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (2)


O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner, O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

When the United States joined the war in 1917, the country did not have a national anthem. Congress only recognized the “Star Spangled Banner” as the national anthem in 1931. Written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 while he was aboard the HMS Tonnant negotiating the release of three American prisoners, the "Star-Spangled Banner" was the product of Key's inspiration as he watched the British bombardment of Fort McHenry on the night of September 13 – 14, 1814. At dawn, when the bombardment stopped, Key saw the American flag still waving atop Fort McHenry and realized that the fort was still in American hands. He was inspired to write a poem describing his experience entitled, “Defense of Fort McHenry” that was published in Baltimore on September 17, 1814. Set to a popular tune of the day, “To Anacreon in Heaven,” Key used this same tune as the setting for his 1805 song “When the Warrior Returns” to celebrate the return of American soldiers from the First Barbary War.

Prior to America’s entry into World War I, H.C. Colles published an article in 1915, “National Anthems: Their Birth and Parentage” which discussed a compilation of national anthems from the Allied perspective. No part of the article, however, mentioned the “Star Spangled Banner” even in passing. America had yet to proclaim its official national anthem. With the rise of nationalism across the globe, the business of creating national tunes was becoming crucial for citizens to identify with. Indeed, Oscar Sonneck, the head librarian of the music division of the Library of Congress, issued an “Exhaustive Official Inquiry” regarding America’s national songs in 1909. This report was revised and issued again in 1914 entitled "The Star-Spangled Banner" and a review of the report was published in the Musical Times in March 1915 by Frank Kidson.

The song gained popularity throughout the 19th century and bands performed it during public patriotic events. A plaque at Fort Meade, South Dakota, claims that soldiers stationed at the fort began using the “The Star-Spangled Banner” as a national anthem during parade drill as early as 1892. In 1899, the U.S. Navy officially adopted the song as its fight song. In 1916, during a time of upsurge in patriotic song production, President Wilson signed an executive order designating “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national song for all official military use.

Although many people called for the designation of a national anthem, there were people who objected the “Star Spangled Banner.” They argued that the tune was not suitable as a national anthem. One of the most vocal critics was Kitty Cheatham who privately published a pamphlet in 1918 entitled, Words and Music of “The Star-spangled Banner” Oppose the Spirit of Democracy Which the Declaration of Independence Embodies. She arguesthat the words were inappropriate in the present conflict because it was written at a time “when disruption threatened to separate nations and in which sentiments are opposed to the oneness we must finally attain, viz., the inseparable unity of Great Britain and America.” She further notes that the words were set to music originally used as a drinking-song. Published during a time when prohibiting the sale of alcohol was being debated (Wartime Prohibition Act and the 18th Amendment), this pamphlet would have resounded well to moralists who favored banning the sale of liquor. Her entire argument was concluded in one sentence, “This country will not be free until she expresses herself in her own anthem, which will be born of American high ideals."

Despite calls for deposing the “Star Spangled Banner” as a national anthem, the song enjoyed continued popularity throughout the war. This issue was heavily debated during the Harding and Hoover administrations and was officially recognized by Congress as the national anthem in 1931. As requested by the Commission on Training Camp Activities, Frederick Converse collaborated with John Alden Carpenter in completing an orchestral arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner. Carpenter also weighed in on the argument over authenticity when he explained to Carl Engel that the Committee on Army and Navy Camp Music ruled out “historic authenticity, for the simple reason that the American People have no interest whatever in ‘authenticity’ and will proceed to sing the song the way they are used to singing it regardless of every document that can be produced to the contrary.” Premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on August 26, 1918, the arrangement by Converse and Carpenter was used also by other orchestras during the war and was still being used by the Boston Symphony as late as 1942.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (3)


My country, ' tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died!
Land of the pilgrims' pride!
From ev'ry mountainside Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free, Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills, like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.

Our fathers' God, to thee,
Author of liberty, to thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by thy might, great God, our King.

The lyrics for “America” or “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” was written by Reverend Samuel Francis Smith and set to a pre-existing tune in 1831. First published in 1832, the song was frequently played in the absence of a national anthem. The origin of the song’s melody is disputed, but it is commonly accepted that the tune originated from Europe. Before the melody made its way to the United States, it was already being played in England as early as 1744 as “God Save the King.” By the 1790s, the melody was being used as the Danish national anthem “A Song to be Sung by the Danish Subjects at the Fete of their King, to the Melody of the English Hymn.” The melody was also used as the national anthem in other countries including Prussia and Liechtenstein.

The first documentation of this song in the American British colonies dates from 1761 with the lyrics of “God Save the King” with slightly modified lyrics. It became known as “Whitefield’s Tune,” published in Urania, a collection of sacred songs compiled by James Lyon.

After independence from Britain, the melody was kept intact and the words were adapted for American patriotic use. As he arrived in New York City for his first inauguration in April 1789, George Washington was greeted by crowds singing this tune with different lyrics.

Hail, thou auspicious day!
For let America
Thy praise resound.
Joy to our native land!
Let every heart expand,
For Washington's at hand,
With glory crowned.

Thrice beloved Columbia, hail!
Behold before the gale
Your chief advance.
The matchless Hero's neigh;
Applaud him to the sky,
Who gave you liberty,
With gen'rous France.

In 1831, Samuel Francis Smith wrote the words, that eventually became a tradition to be recited in U.S. schools. His friend, Lowell Mason, had some German school music books that had this tune (Heil dir im Siegerkranz) and asked Smith to either translate the German or write a new text for it. Smith wrote the new lyrics and Mason debuted it at a children’s service at the Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts on July 4, 1831.

The tune for this song would have been familiar to both Allied and Central Powers during the war. The soldiers would have sung this song since childhood. It is interesting to note that there were no protests in singing this song or including it in the song book even though the Germans utilized it as well.


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (4)


Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on

Glory, Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps
His day is marching on.

Glory, Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal"
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel
Since God is marching on

Glory, Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on

Glory, Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free
While God is marching on

Glory, Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on

In November 1861, during a visit to a Union Army camp at Bailey’s Crossroads, Julia Ward Howe was inspired to write the lyrics of this song and set them to music after hearing “John Brown’s Body.” Written in 1856 during the Civil War, Steffe’s “John Brown’s Body” was also a transcription of a religious camp-meeting song that opened with “Say, brothers, will you meet us / on Canaan’s happy shore?” with the traditional refrain, “Glory Hallelujah”

On her visit to the camp, Howe was accompanied by her husband Samuel Gridley Howe and Rev. James Freeman Clarke when she first heard the soldiers singing "John Brown's Body." Clarke suggested that Howe adopt the song and write better lyrics for it. Howe relates in her memoir what happened the following morning:

“I went to bed that night as usual, and slept, according to my wont, quite soundly. I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, "I must get up and write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them." So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pen which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.” (Howe, p. 275.)

Little did she know that those words would be enshrined in American history.

The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” is a call to arms and vividly portrays how America fights wars. As a crusader’s cry, this song has been used in grave crises and crucial social movements. However, the song had the greatest resonance when used in wartime. During World War I, the song again reverberated around the nation and added the words: "We have heard the cry of anguish from the victims of the Hun." The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” is a mirror of American society.

(Howe, Julia Ward.Reminiscences: 1819–1899.Houghton, Mifflin: New York, 1899. p. 275.)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (5)


O Columbia! the gem of the ocean,
The home of the brave and the free,
The shrine of each patriot's devotion,
A world offers homage to thee;
Thy mandates make heroes assemble,
When Liberty's form stands in view;
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,

When borne by the red, white, and blue.
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the red, white and blue.

When war wing'd its wide desolation,
And threaten'd the land to deform,
The ark then of freedom's foundation,
Columbia rode safe thro' the storm;
With her garlands of vict'ry around her,
When so proudly she bore her brave crew;
With her flag proudly waving before her,

When borne by the red, white, and blue.
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the red, white and blue.

The star-spangled banner bring hither,
O'er Columbia's true sons let it wave;
May the wreaths they have won never wither,
Nor its stars cease to shine on the brave.
May thy service united ne'er sever,
But hold to the colors so true;
The Army and Navy forever,

Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!
The Army and Navy forever,
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!

“Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean” was composed in 1843 and was long used as the unofficial American national anthem (Johnston, Arthur (May 1919). "America's National Songs".The High School Journal.2(5): 152) and reached extreme popularity during the Lincoln administration. The song was eventually adopted as the standard tune of the U.S. Marine Corps Band.

The originality of the song is debated. Although commonly credited to David T. Shaw, Thomas A’Beckett claimed to have rewritten Shaw’s lyrics before the song was copyrighted. In 1843, Shaw, a singer from Philadelphia, wrote a patriotic poem and commissioned A’Beckett, another musician, to put the words to music. A’Beckett disliked the poem and rewrote the words as he set them to music. Shaw premiered the song soon afterwards and was warmly received by audiences. However, he alone was credited as both composer and lyricist while A’Beckett only as the arranger. A’Beckett contested the authorship and published his own version afterwards.

While A’Beckett may have authored “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean,” he was accused of plagiarizing Stephen Joseph Meany’s “Britannia, the Pride of the Ocean” Meany wrote “Britannia, the Pride of the Ocean” in 1842, but A’Beckett claimed that Meany plagiarized his song instead. Nonetheless, both songs bear similarity.

During World War I, this song was used by the Four-Minute Men, volunteers for the propaganda effort who brought messages of patriotism to people on the home front. This song was used as an interlude during public gatherings and in local theaters for audiences to actively participate. The Four-Minute Men stressed the effectiveness of group singing declaring that “the Singing Army, whether it be a fighting army or a working army, cannot be beaten.” This song was also quoted by Charles Ives in his Second Symphony, “A Symphony: New England Holidays,” and Piano Sonata No. 2. composed in 1915.

The United States in the First World War: An Encyclopedia p.236

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (6)


Yes, we'll rally round the flag, boys, we'll rally once again
Shouting the battle cry of freedom
We will rally from the hillside, we'll gather from the plain
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the traitors, up with the stars;
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

We are springing to the call of our brothers gone before
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we'll fill our vacant ranks with a million freemen more
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the traitors, up with the stars;
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

Popularly known as a Civil War era song, “The Battle Cry of Freedom” was written by George Frederick Root as a response to President Lincoln’s call for troops and to advocate the causes of the Union and abolitionism. Although intended for the Union, it was very popular that it was adapted by H.L. Schreiner and W.H. Barnes for the Confederacy. During its popularity, the song was used as a presidential campaign song starting with the Lincoln-Johnson ticket in the 1864 presidential election and after the Civil War.

Henry Stone, a Union war veteran, recalls in a report from 1887 how popular this song was among Union soldiers:

A glee club came down from Chicago, bringing with them the new song, "We'll rally 'round the flag, boys", and it ran through the camp like wildfire. The effect was little short of miraculous. It put as much spirit and cheer into the army as a victory. Day and night one could hear it by every camp fire and in every tent. I never shall forget how the men rolled out the line, "And although he may be poor, he shall never be a slave." I do not know whether Mr. Root knows what good work his song did for us there, but I hope so.

This song was also very popular with civilians and it is reported that Root and Cady, the most popular music publisher during the Civil War, had 14 printing presses running at the same time and could not keep up with the demand. It is estimated that around 700,000 copies were put into circulation by the end of the war.

With freedom as the main subject, this song would have resonated with many Americans during the World War I. Given its popularity before and during the war, many soldiers sent to the front would have been raised hearing this song and thus, very familiar with it.

Henry Stone, The Century Illustrated, "Memoranda on the Civil War: A Song in Camp" (1887)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (7)


Allons enfants de la Patrie, Arise, children of the Fatherland,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé! The day of glory has arrived!
Contre nous de la tyrannie Against us, tyranny’s
L'étendard sanglant est levé,(bis) Bloody standard is raised, (repeat)
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes Do you hear, in the countryside,
Mugir ces féroces soldats? The roar of those ferocious soldiers?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras They’re coming right into your arms
Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes! To cut the throats of your sons, your women!

Aux armes, citoyens, To arms, citizens,
Formez vos bataillons, Form your battalions,
Marchons, marchons! Let’s march, let’s march!
Qu'un sang impur Let an impure blood
Abreuve nos sillons! Water our furrows!

Composed during the French Revolution by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle, “La Marseillaise” secured its popularity in France and was recognized as the national anthem by the National Convention in 1795. After briefly losing its status during Napoleon’s reign, the song was reinstated as France’s national anthem in 1879.

The lyrics are clearly a call to arms and reflect the invasion of France by foreign adversaries, specifically Prussia and Austria. These countries were at war with France at the time the song was written. On the night of April 25, 1792, only a few days after France declared war on Austria, P.F. Dietrich, the mayor of Strasbourg, asked his guest Lisle to “write for us a song that will rally our soldiers from all over to defend their homeland that is under threat and you will have won the nation.” Lisle responded by writing “La Marseillaise.” Originally entitled “Chant de guerre de l’armée du Rhin” (War Song of the Army of the Rhine), the anthem came to be known as “La Marseillaise” because of its popularity with volunteer army units from Marseille. Indeed, Dietrich recognized that France needed a marching song that could raise the morale of the soldiers.

In the context of World War I, “La Marseillaise” was a rallying cry for cohesion. Prior to the war, the role of the song had a different function. “La Marseillaise” was used in the French Revolution as a political song, but prior to World War I, workers preferred “L’Internationale” composed in 1888. Changes were also observed from Russia. From February to November 1917, “La Marseillaise” was used as the official anthem of the Russian provisional government until the Bolsheviks replaced it with “Internationale.” With France facing increasing tensions from the Central Powers, the French education minister, Maurice-Louis Faure, made it compulsory for “La Marseillaise” to be taught in schools. The song became known as a pledge of French political unity against German aggression during the war. According to a report, the song was sung both in the trenches and civilian areas, café terraces, theaters, and official ceremonies. Intent on keeping this fervor, the ashes of Lisle were exhumed from the cemetery of Choisy-le-Roi, paraded across the streets of Paris, and eventually interred under the Dôme des Invalides in Paris following a formal ceremony on July 14, 1915.

"La Marseillaise"(in French).National Assembly of France. Archived fromthe originalon 15 May 2012.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (8)


God save our gracious King,
Long live our noble King,
God save the King!
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the King!

O Lord our God arise,
Scatter his enemies,
And make them fall!
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix:
God save the King!

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On him be pleased to pour;
Long may he reign,
May he defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the King!

Arguably the most widespread national anthem in the world, the British National Anthem, “God Save the King” bears a stately rhythm and well-balanced harmony. Even Germany adopted the song for its own national use. During the war, British tommies singing this song were joined by American doughboys whose “My Country Tis of Thee” had the same tune and Germans had an identical tune with their own “Heil di rim Siegerkranz” (“Hail thee in victor’s crown”). Interestingly, during World War II, “Roll out the barrel” was similarly sung on both sides of the front. Although Nazis claimed it as a German folk song, the lyrics could be traced back to Tin Pan Alley.

The origins of this song are unclear, but it is known that the song was performed publicly in 1745 in two theaters in London. Given its rising popularity, Beethoven published seven variations of the theme in 1807 along with five variations of “Rule Britannia.” Thus, both British and German troops were familiar with the tune well before World War I. With its prayer-like quality, “God Save the King” gave the soldier a chance to reflect on his role of defending his cultural traditions, family, and country.

Nettl, Paul. National Anthems. 2d, Enl. ed. New York: Frederick Ungar Pub, 1967.

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Après des siècles et des siècles d'esclavage,
Le Belge sortant du tombeau
A reconquis par sa force et son courage
Son nom, ses droits et son drapeau.
Et ta main souveraine et fière,
Désormais, peuple indompté,
Grava sur ta vieille bannière :
Le Roi, la Loi, la Liberté !
Grava sur ta vieille bannière :
Le Roi, la Loi, la Liberté !


In 1830, the French comedian and poet Hippolyte Louis Alexandre Dechet or Jenneval came to Belgium to fight with the Belgian patriots. He was killed in action near Lierre but had written the first two versions of the song. The first version was sung on September 12, 1830 at the Theatre de la Monnaire in Brussels when Belgium was still part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands under the rule of the House of Orange and pledged loyalty to the King. The lyrics of the song included an imagery that portrayed Belgium as a ripening fruit on the tree of liberty. The second version was written during the street fighting in which Belgium won its independence. While keeping the imagery of the tree, the ruling House of Orange is severely criticized:

Off freedom’s tree Orange is hacked.

In 1860, the statesman Charles Rogier wrote a new text which omitted all references to Holland and replaced it with lyrics that focused on telling the glory of Belgium. At the end of every stanza, he wrote, “Le Roi, la loi, la liberte” (“For King and law and Liberty”). The melody written by Campenhout was retained and the anthem was officially recognized in this form. The version in the Army songbook is from 1860.

Nettl, Paul. National Anthems. 2d, Enl. ed. New York: Frederick Ungar Pub, 1967.

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Enrico Caruso also recorded this song for Victrola in 1918 (Victrola 515-A and B). The flip side of the recording is his well-known recording of George Cohan's "Over There."

All'ármi! All'ármi!
Si sco pron le tombre, si le-vanoi morti,
I martiri mostri so tuti risorti!
Le spade nel pugno, gilgaalorialle chiome,
La fiammaed il nome d'Italia sul cor!
Ve nismo! veniamo suo griovani schiere!
Sual vento per tuto, le nostre bandiere!
Su tutti col ferror, su tutti col fuoco
Su tutti col fuco d'Itallia nel cor.
Va fuora d'Italia, va fuora, ch'é l'ora,
va fuord 'Italia, va fuord'Italia, va fuora stranier!

First sung by the volunteers of the Alpini corps, the popularity of the Garibaldi hymn can be traced back to the world-famous expedition of the one thousand Redshirts whom Garibaldi in 1860 led from Genoa to Marsala in Sicily, where he landed on May 11. Garibaldi proclaimed himself dictator and overthrew the Bourbons in Naples. Since then, the song has been known in Italy as the “Inno di Garibaldi.”

As opposed to the previous national anthems, the Garibaldi hymn was sung out of national fury. Foreign intruders were made well aware about the people’s determined opposition. Hurling the catchphrase of the song, “Va fuora d’Italia” (“Get out of Italy”) at the intruders, the fiery march was an important element to galvanize national unity against foreign invasions. The opening phrase, “All armi” (“To arms”) seems to help the overall message of collective military unity.

Nettl, Paul. National Anthems. 2d, Enl. ed. New York: Frederick Ungar Pub, 1967.

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1-3 March, march,march,march, March, comrades, march along, March, march,march, march, March a hundred million strong!

1. On through dark and battles roar, On where none has dared before, On to pay the ages score: March, march, march!
2. Prince of Peace, uphold our trust, Tho' we face the battle thrust; Fight we shall while fight we must: March, march, march!
3. One in vision, one in will, We shall carry Zion's hill, God is in His heaven still: March, march, march!

1-3 Forward, comrades, March, march, forever, Up with the break of day, Out on the trackless way,

1. Ours the will that must and can, Ours to crown creation’s plan, Ours to win the world for man: March, comrades march!
2. Love to hate shall never yield, While the sword of God we wield, On to Armageddon’s field: March, comrades march!
3. Ours the heart to dare and do, Ours the Promised Land to view, Ours to build the world anew: March, comrades march!

Best known for his works based on Native American themes, African-American spirituals, and Spanish-Californian melodies, Arthur Farwell became known as one of America’s most influential composers. Farwell’s musical training was unorthodox, and he did not intend to make music as a career. However, while studying electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1893, he became convinced that being a professional musician was his destiny. After graduation, Farwell studied music with George Whitefield Chadwick and Homer Norris and traveled to Europe to study with Engelbert Humperdinck and Hans Pfitzner in 1897. He later studied counterpoint with Alexandre Guilmant in Paris. In 1899, he returned home to America and was appointed as lecturer at Cornell University from 1899 to 1901. It was here that he encountered Alice Fletcher’s compilation of Indian Story and Song from North America. This booksparked his interest in Native American themes.

Although his early compositions contain traces of German Wagnerian styles, this was soon to change. He soon adopted a more personal style ranging from experimentation to using bold harmonies that led people to compare his compositions to that of Charles Ives. In 1901, he established the Wa-Wan Press, a self-publishing company, to publish his Native-American inspired compositions. As early as 1901, he hoped that publishing this genre would allow a classical music revolution to begin that would rebel against “German domination” of the nation’s music. He thought that the American public “saw everything through German glasses” and “a revolt against this domination was an absolute historical necessity.” Although Wa-Wan Press would eventually be acquired by G. Schirmer Music Publishing, it was with this anti-German spirit that led him to write “March, March” in 1916.

Farwell also served as the chief music critic for Musical America from 1909 to 1914 and was appointed in 1910 as Supervisor of Municipal Concerts by New York Mayor William J. Gaynor. During this time, he composed music for community pageants and outdoor events that reflected his idea of a new American art form. Surely, he was aware of the growing public opinion to support the war. The U.S. Army then hired Farwell during World War I to serve as the Army’s first consultant on group singing.

Culbertson, Evelyn Davis (Summer 1987). "Arthur Farwell's EarlyEfforts on Behalf of American Music, 1889-1921". American Music, Vol. 5, No. 2.pp. 156-175.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (12).

Blazon the name that we now must uphold, Under the Stars and Stripes.
Vast in the past they have builded an arch Over which Freedom has lighted her torch,
Follow it! Follow it! Come let us march Under the Stars and Stripes!

Under the Stars and Stripes! Under the Stars and Stripes!
Follow it, Follow it, Come let us march Under the Stars and Stripes!
Follow it, Follow it, Come let us march Under the Stars and Stripes!

We in whose bodies the blood of them runs, Under the Stars and Stripes,
We will acquit us as sons of their sons, Under the Stars and Stripes.
Ever for the justice, our heel upon wrong, We in the light of our vengeance thrice strong,
Rally together! Come tramping along, Under the Stars and Stripes!

Under the Stars and Stripes! Under the Stars and Stripes!
Follow it, Follow it, Come let us march Under the Stars and Stripes!
Follow it, Follow it, Come let us march Under the Stars and Stripes!

Frederick Shepherd Converse, the composer of “Under the Stars and Stripes,” devoted his time and energy supporting the war on the home front. He joined the Massachusetts State Guard Company C on August 2, 1917 and was commissioned as second lieutenant. Eventually, he was transferred to the Thirteenth Infantry Regiment, Third Brigade where he was honorably discharged as captain.

In December 1917, Converse was called to New Yorkto attend a meeting of the National Committee on Army and Navy Camp Music. He was appointed to serve on the committee in January 1918 and tasked to organize and encourage singing in the camps. He helped compile and publish the Army Song Book. He was active in issuing the weekly bulletin Music in the Camps and helped reorganized the military bands. Thus, he was instrumental in deciding what songs to include in this song book.

As requested by the Commission on Training Camp Activities, Converse collaborated with John Alden Carpenter in completing an orchestral arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner. Premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on August 26, 1918, this arrangement was used also by other orchestras during the war and was still being used by the Boston Symphony as late as 1942. He also arranged an orchestral version of America for the Boston Pops Orchestra that was later recorded with Arthur Fiedler conducting.

While Converse composed several patriotic songs during the war, “Under the Stars and Stripes” and “The Service Stars Are Shining” remained the two most popular. As attested by Mrs. Converse’s diary entry on May 27, 1918 before the concert, Converse had “his ‘Stars and Stripes’ sung by a chorus of 100 at the Pops tonight and is to conduct it himself.”

Frederick Shepherd Converse (1871-1940): His Life and Music

The Annotated Army Song Book Part 2

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (13)

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved,
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry grain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimm'd by human tears!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea!

Refrain: America! America! God shed His grace on thee!

Written in the summer of 1893, Katherine Bates, a professor at Wellesley College, was inspired to write the lyrics for “America the Beautiful” while travelling west for the first time. In her memoir, she recalls how her trip led her to encounter the Chicago World’s Fair and the Colorado Springs - experiences that are reflected in the grandeur lyrics of the song. Silas G. Pratt, the first composer to set the lyrics to music published the song in 1895. Although many people enjoyed the lyrics, there were calls to revise it. They felt that the music did not match the eloquence of the lyrics. Consequently, many other composers tried to set the lyrics to their own music and the song was repeatedly revised with Bates’ permission to fit their own music. The song was not associated with one tune. The lyrics today are usually set to Samuel A. Ward’s “Materna” composed in 1882.

The version in the Army Song Book was written by Will C. Macfarlane, an organist and composer of Portland, Maine. Ms. Bates says in her memoir that Macfarlane’s version was played on the city chimes of Springfield, Massachusetts and was received with “widest acceptance. This spirited march was also arranged for band music and hymn singing. Both hymn and march versions are said to have been used in war-recruitment and patriotic meetings.

Prior and during the war, the beginning of the fourth stanza, “O beautiful for patriot dream” was changed to “O beautiful for patriot drum” in reference to the military. In a copy from a church leaflet, the stanza was also changed to “O beautiful for patriot dress.” In Bates’ memoir, she recalls that the song was popular in church services. The mention of “patriot dress” may refer to the new uniform the soldiers were wearing. One can imagine the climactic effect this stanza would have produced when recalling how people must have felt bidding their young soldiers farewell.

“America the Beautiful” also expresses a love of home that includes patriotic references. As the song progresses, soldiers are called to defend the homeland: “Oh, beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife, Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life!” This would have led soldiers to believe that their love of home justified their efforts of defeating Germany and preventing the enemy to attack the homeland.


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (14)


1. Sing a Hymn of Freedom, Fling the banner high!
Sing the Songs of Liberty, Songs that shall not die.
2. In the quiet hours Of the starry night
Dream the dreams of far away Home fires burning bright.

For the long, long road to Tipperary Is the road that leads me home
O’er hills and plains, By lakes and lanes, My Woodlands! My Cornfields! My Country! My Home!

This song was composed by John Alden Carpenter, a member of the National Committee on Army and Navy Camp Music. Educated at Harvard by the conservative German-influenced composer John Knowles Paine, Carpenter abandoned the German style and became known as a conservative composer influenced by 20th-century French and German music.He later explored on combining his impressionistic compositional style with jazz rhythms. His “Concertino for Piano and Orchestra” composed in 1917 and ballet “Krazy Kat: A Jazz Pantomime” completed in 1922 incorporate jazz rhythms with traditional conventions of harmony.

Carpenter composed two songs to support the war effort: “The Home Road” and “Khaki Sammy.” Howard Pollack’s book John Alden Carpenter: A Chicago Composer briefly discusses the inspiration for “The Home Road.” “On a hot summer’s night in 1917 (presumably in Charlotte, Vermont), he watched a seven-piece band followed by a group of young inductees marching along with their suitcases in hand. At first, he found the procession amusing, but then he sobered at the thought of what lay ahead for the recruits and immediately wrote the words and music to ‘The Home Road.’”

The refrain,” “the long, long road to Tipperary,” refers to the 1912 English music hall popular song. “It’s a long, long way to Tipperary,” a well-known song among British and American soldiers. Perhaps Carpenter heard this song being played by the newly recruited soldiers during their march that summer night in 1917. Although not a direct quotation, Carpenter kept the words while modifying the melodic shape.

There are three versions of the song: a preliminary untitled sketch with only a melodic line with one verse, a fair copy entitled “Land of Mine,” also just one verse that was published on August 4, 1917. Schirmer however published a version with two verses dated July 1917. The July date Schirmer adopted may refer to its original composition rather than the actual publishing date. Schirmer’s edition was chosen for the Army Song Book.

Examining the three versions reveal rhetorical musical differences. While the sketch begins “Sing a song of freedom! Sing a song of joy! Sing a song of victory, as our boys march by,” the song in the Army Song Book reads, “Sing a hymn of freedom! Fling the banner high! Sing the songs of liberty, Songs that shall not die.” Changing “sing a song of joy!” to "fling the banner high!" shifts the focus from the bystander watching the parade to the active duty soldier. "Song of freedom" is also changed to "hymn of freedom" giving the song a more patriotic communal feel.

These changes may have been done to tailor the song to the objectives of the singing army. Similarly, the fair copy reads, “My Cornfields! My Rivers!” While providing references to country and home, the asymmetrical cadence lets the song’s climax fall on “Rivers.” By changing the phrase to “My Woodlands! My Cornfields!” the emphasis is now on “Cornfields.” This change portrays the American landscape as an untouched place that soldiers dreamed to return to, a place in stark contrast to the European battlefields destroyed by the war. “The Home Road” not only provide soldiers references to look forward going home, but also serve as a reminder of the causes they were fighting for and the protection of the American homeland from the destruction they witnessed on the battlefield.

John Alden Carpenter: A Chicago Composer. By Howard Pollack (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2001.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (15)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (16)


Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned,
God make thee mightier yet!
On Sov'ran brows, beloved, renowned,
Once more thy crown is set.
Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,
Have ruled thee well and long;
By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained,
Thine Empire shall be strong.

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet,
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

Thy fame is ancient as the days,
As Ocean large and wide:
A pride that dares, and heeds not praise,
A stern and silent pride;
Not that false joy that dreams content
With what our sires have won;
The blood a hero sire hath spent
Still nerves a hero son.
Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet,
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.


The creation of the British patriot song, “Land of Hope and Glory,” was brought about by the combined efforts of Sir Edward Elgar and Arthur C. Benson. Originally composed without words, Edgar composed the melody in 1901 as the Trio for his “Pomp and Circ*mstance March No. 1.” The premier performance was done at Queen’s Hall during the London Promenade Concert. Conducted by Henry Wood, he remembered that the piece was very much appreciated by the audience and they “rose and yelled … the one and only time in the history of the Promenade concerts that an orchestral item was accorded a double encore.” (Henry Wood, My Life of Music, p.154). Soon, the trio caught the attention of the soon-to-be-crowned King Edward VII who suggested to Elgar that adding words to the trio would make a great song. Elgar enlisted the help of Arthur C. Benson, a prolific writer and poet, to provide the lyrics. In time for Edward VII’s coronation in August 1902, Elgar and Benson finished the Coronation Ode and placed the “Land of Hope and Glory” as the climax and finale. The song evolved into a patriotic song ever since it was premiered and many lobbyists today are calling to replace the current national anthem, “God Save the Queen” with this song.

The song was introduced to America soon after its premiere. In 1905, Elgar was invited by his friend, Samuel Sanford, to receive an honorary doctorate at Yale University. At the end of the graduation ceremony, Sanford directed the band to play “Pomp and Circ*mstance” as the recessional music. The faculty was delighted with the music and later adopted it for future graduations. Princeton soon followed the practice in 1907.

As with the previous selections featuring foreign national anthems, the goal of including “Land of Hope and Glory” in the Army Song Book would have been to unify the Allied forces. The song continued to be very popular in Britain. At the Grand Patriotic Concert held at the Royal Albert Hall in October 1914, Clara Butt, a popular singer, sang this song as the finale with Elgar as the conductor. Audiences jumped to their feet waving Union Jack flags. The upper portion of the concert flyer includes a quotation of the fifth stanza of the second verse. “Land of Hope and Glory” proved to be a popular song during the war.


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (17)

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing cease them from distressing,
Sing praises to His Name, He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine,
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader in battle,
And pray that Thou still our Defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation:
Thy Name be forever praised! O Lord, make us free! Lord, make us free!

Originally a Dutch Christian hymn written in 1597 by Adrianus Valerius as “Wilt heden nu treden,” this song was composed to celebrate the Dutch victory over the Spanish forces at the Battle of Turnhout. The melody, however, is borrowed from a familiar Dutch folk melody. Overcoming religious oppression, the Dutch Protestants celebrated their victory over the Catholic Spanish forces by adopting a folk tune and setting a religious text. This would have been forbidden under the Spanish rule and seen as an act of defiance.

Although foreign in origin, the song has strong connections to American culture that can be traced back to two origins. As suggested by Melanie Kirkpatrick, “it’s tantalizing to think that the English Pilgrims – in exile in Holland, the only place where could worship freely – may have been familiar with ‘Wilt heden nu treden.’” This is because many of the pilgrims spoke Dutch and were Dutch citizens. The second origin may have been attributed to the Dutch settlers who brought it with them to America as early as the 1620s. Although the piece contains religious references, it is important to note that this hymn would not have been sung in Dutch Protestant churches since they saw this as idolatry. They only allowed psalms to be sung in the church.

However, in 1937, the Christian Reformed Church in North America composed of Dutch immigrants made the controversial decision to include it in the hymnal.

Perhaps attesting to its popularity, the translated “We Gather Together” was chosen as the first hymn in the hymnal. It was already popular in school songbooks prior to the decision of the Christian Reformed Church. The Methodist-Episcopal Church adopted this song in 1935.

The English translation came from the American composer, Theodore Baker. In 1894, he arranged it for a choir and translated it as a “Prayer of Thanksgiving.” Thus, the piece was associated with Thanksgiving among the non-Dutch speaking communities and public schools at the turn of the 20th-century in America. Both associations with war and Thanksgiving helped spread the popularity of the piece. Michael Hawn, professor of sacred music at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, said that “by World War I, we started to see ourselves in this hymn.” He continued that “people take stock of themselves at Thanksgiving...we’ve all survived some turbulent times.” The popularity of this song would have achieved a number of objectives. First, the association with Thanksgiving would have reminded soldiers of their families, their homes, and their country – entities that they have vowed to protect from destruction. Second, the song’s popularity would have resonated in the Belgian Dutch-speaking community on the Western Front and allowed the Americans and Belgian resistance to unite in their war efforts.

While the hymn’s original purpose referenced “the wicked oppressing” of the Spanish Catholics, the soldiers would have viewed the hymn in the context of World War I as a plea to be defended against the German army.

Kirkpatrick, Melanie (November 22, 2005)."A Hymn's Long Journey Home: The surprising origins of "We Gather Together," a Thanksgiving standard".Wall Street Journal.New York

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (18)

Over hill, over dale,
As we hit the dusty trail,
And the caissons go rolling along.
In and out, hear them shout,
Counter march and right about,
And the caissons go rolling along.

Then it's hi! hi! hee!
In the field artillery,
Shout out your numbers loud and strong,
For where e'er you go,
You will always know,
That the caissons go rolling along.

In the storm in the night,
Action left or action right,
See the caissons go rolling along.
Limber front, limber rear,
Prepare to mount your cannoneer
And the caissons go rolling along.

Then it's hi! hi! hee!
In the field artillery,
Shout out your numbers loud and strong,
For where e'er you go,
You will always know,
That the caissons go rolling along.
(Keep them rolling)
And those caissons go rolling along.
Then it's long, long. Batt'ry Halt!

The “U.S. Field Artillery March” is a patriotic military march written by John Philip Sousa in 1917. U.S. Army Lieutenant George Friedlander of the 306th Field Artillery asked Sousa, who served in the U.S. Navy, to compose a march for his regiment based on “The Caisson Song” thinking that the song was originally from the Civil War. Mistakenly presuming the composer was dead and the song in public domain, Sousa agreed, changed the harmonic structure, set a different key, made it more march-like, and added more material. Both Sousa and Friedlander were later surprised to learn that the composer, artillery First Lieutenant Edmund L. Gruber, was still alive and that the song was composed in 1908 when Gruber was stationed at Fort Stotsenburg in the Philippines during the American occupation following the Philippines-American war.

The lyrics for “The Caisson Song” was written by Lieutenant Robert M. Danford. It was a recount of the difficult march encountered by Gruber and Danford through the Zambales Mountains of Luzon, Philippines. Gruber scouted the area with a small detachment to select the best route for his battalion. Climbing higher to get a better view, he looked back at the marching companies and heard one of the section chiefs shout to his drivers, “Come on! Keep ‘em rolling!” Since the song stated that “the caissons go rolling along,” this phrase referenced the artillery rather than the men. Caisson, a two-wheeled cart designed to carry artillery and ammunition, was pulled by horses. The version in the Army Song Book was arranged by Robert Lloyd for piano and voice in 1918. Viewed as an instant success in the army, this song would have been popular among the soldiers and thus included in the song book.

This song inspired “The Army Goes Rolling Along” which would later be adopted as the official song of the U.S. Army. Interestingly, Gruber was the descendant of Franz Gruber, composer of “Silent Night,” the song sung during the Christmas Truce of 1914.

Bierly, Paul.The Works of John Philip Sousa, pp. 93-94 (Integrity Press, 1984)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (19)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (20)

Oh, they said the coast artillery would never go to war,
And all that they were fit for was to hang around the shore.
But when in France they needed men to shoot the tens and twelves.
Why, they cabled to the President to send our loyal selves.

Then, it’s home, boys, home, it’s home that we should be.
It’s home, boys, home, when the nation shall be free.
We’re in this war until it ends, and Germany will see
That the end of all the Kaisers is the Coast Artillery.

When British Tommies took the field to stop the barb’rous Hun,
They found their light artillery was beaten gun for gun.
So Marshall French got on the wire and quickly told the king
That the garrison artillery would be the only thing.

So, limber up the sixes and tens and other guns,
And bracket on the O.T. line until you get the Hun.
There may be many plans and schemes to set this old world free,
But you’ll find in every one a part for the coast artillery.

This song is adopted from the Irish tune “Rambling Wreck of Poverty” or “The Son of a Gambolier” which has served as an inspiration for Georgia Tech’s school song, “I’m a Rambling Wreck From Georgia Tech” and Woody Guthrie’s “Biggest Thing That Man Has Ever Done.” Charles Ives also adapted this tune as part of his song cycle Five Street Songs.

The subject of this song has little to do with the American army. Marshall French, mentioned in verse three was the First Earl of Ypres who commanded of the British Army from 1914 to 1915 and earned the title of earl for his efforts on the Second Battle of Ypres in May, 1915. Since America entered the war in April 1917, the American coast artillery was not involved in the Second Battle of Ypres.

This song would have appealed to Irish-American soldiers and other soldiers would have viewed the song as a collage of the leaders: president, king, and kaiser. However, the mention of “home” in the chorus would have appealed collectively to the soldiers as a reassurance that they were heading home once victory was won and “the nation shall be free.”

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (21)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (22)

I can't get 'em up,
I can't get 'em up,
I can't get 'em up this morning;
I can't get 'em up,
I can't get 'em up,
I can't get 'em up at all!
Corporal's worse than the privates,
Sergeant's worse than the corporals,
Lieutenant's worse than the sergeants,
An’ the Capt’ns worst of all.

Mess Call:
Soupy, soupy, soup, without a single bean;
Porky, porky, pork, without a streak of lean;
Coffee, coffee, without any cream (or the weakest ever seen.)

Stable Call:
Come all who are able and go the stable,
And water your horses and give them some corn.
For if you don’t do it the colnel will know it And then you will rue it assure as you’re born.

1. Fading light
Dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, Gleaming bright,
From afar drawing nigh, Falls the night.
2. Dear one, rest!
In the west
Sable night Lulls the day on her breast,
Sweet goodnight! Now away To thy rest.
3. Love, sweet dreams!
Lo, the beams
Of the light Fairymoon kiss the streams,
Love, goodnight! Ah, so soon! Peaceful dreams

These short tunes comprise a collection of trumpet or bugle calls designed to announce both scheduled and non-scheduled events in a military setting. Historically used to communicate with troops during battles, the bugle was eventually used also to indicate the change in daily routines of the camp. Since there are no moveable valves in the bugle, the notes on all the calls come from a single overtone series. Although there are no official lyrics for these trumpet calls, soldiers eventually added their own lyrics.

Reveille: This call was used to wake military personnel at sunrise at which time the U.S. flag is raised and all U.S. military personnel are required to stand at attention outdoors in uniform and salute the flag.

Mess Call: As implied by the lyrics, this call is played as signal to personnel mealtimes which is used for all meals.

Stable Call: Used by Cavalry forces, this call was played as signal to those tending the stables that the horses needed to be fed and watered. It was also during this time that the horses were groomed and the stables cleaned.

Taps: This was played as the last call for the day and signaled that unauthorized lights be extinguished. The call was also used to signal the completion of a military funeral ceremony and the end of war. On November 11, 1918 at 11AM, General Pershing ordered Hartley Edwards, lead bugle of the drum and bugle corps, to play Taps that signaled the end of World War I.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (23)


Way down upon de Swanee Ribber,
Far, far away,
Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
Dere's wha de old folks stay.
All up and down de whole creation
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for de old plantation,
And for the old folks at home.

All de world am sad and dreary,
Eb-rywhere I roam;
Oh, darkeys, how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home!

All 'round de little farm I wander’d
When I was young,
Den many happy days I squander’d,
Many de songs I sung.
When I was playing wid my brudder
Happy was I;
Oh, take me to my kind old mudder!
Dere let me live and die

Originally composed as a minstrel song by Stephen Foster in 1851, “Swanee River” or “Old Folks at Home” captured the American spirit of the 19th century with its distinct dialect spoken by African-American slaves. The song was a tribute to Suwanee River, a major river running through South Georgia into Florida.

Written from the perspective of a slave, the narrator expresses his “longing for de old plantation.” Although the theme is about the desperation of family separation due to the practice of slave owners selling a slave to another plantation, this phrase has often been misunderstood as romanticizing slavery. Indeed, Foster wrote that “One reviewer called the ‘homely tune’ a ‘catching, melodic itch of the time’….. and nearly everyone scratched, be they Irish or German immigrants feeling homesick for the old country, frontiersmen or forty-niners pining for the folks they had left behind in the East or African Americans forcibly separated from their birthplaces and families. ‘Old Folks at Home’ was all things to all people” (Emerson p.182).

Many people would have been familiar with this song. The song became so popular that it attracted tourists to visit Suwanee River in Florida to view the symbolic and idyllic home described in the lyrics. It was even included in several songbooks prior to the war. From 1935 to 2013, “The Swanee River” was the official state song of Florida.

This Dixie song would not only have evoked nostalgia and homesickness to soldiers in the trenches, but would have also appealed to most soldiers from the Southern states. Foster’s songs were so popular that many of his songs were published as song sheets. In 1951, the U.S. Congress paid tribute to Foster by designating his songs, “Old Black Joe,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” and “Old Folks at Home” as “national expressions of democracy” and declared Stephen Foster as the “Father of American folk music.” All three songs were included in the Army Song Book.

Reinventing Dixie: Tin Pan Alley's Songs and the Creation of the Mythic South. By John Bush Jones
The Oxford Handbook of Music Making and Leisure edited by Roger Mantie, Gareth Dylan Smith p.247
Doo-Dah!: Stephen Foster and the Rise of American Popular Culture. By Ken Emerson. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (24)


1. Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay;
Gone are my friends from the cotton fields away;
Gone from the earth to better land I know,
I hear their gentle voices calling, “Old Black Joe!”
I’m coming, I’m coming, For my head is bending low;
I hear those gentle voices calling, “Old Black Joe!”

2. Why do I weep when my heart should feel no pain?
Why do I sigh that my friends come not again?
Grieving for forms now departed long ago,
I hear their gentle voices calling, “Old Black Joe!”

Another song by Stephen Foster, “Old Black Joe” expresses the narrator’s friendship with a slave farm worker, the grief he experiences after their passing. Foster, a supporter of the North during the Civil War, is heavily influenced by Charles Shiras, a friend who led abolitionist activities in Pennsylvania. With this mindset, Foster would humanize his characters in his songs that convey a message that people, regardless of ethnicity or class share a longingness of family and home. His songs in the Army Song Book would have resonated with the soldiers the importance of home, family, and compassion for their comrades in the battlefield.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (25)


The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home.
'Tis summer, the darkies are gay,
The corn top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom
While the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy, and bright.
By’n by hard times comes a-knocking at the door,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night.

Weep no more my lady, O weep no more today!
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the old Kentucky home, far away.

They hunt no more for the 'possum and the coon,
On the meadow, the hill and the shore,
They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon,
On the bench by the old cabin door.
The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart,
With sorrow where all was delight.
The time has come when the darkies have to part,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night!

Also known as “Poor Uncle Tom, Good Night,” this song by Foster was written in 1852 as a response to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, “Uncle Tom.” Aligned with his support for the Abolitionist movement, Foster wrote the lyrics so that the narrator laments his imminent move away from home and looks fondly back on his life in Kentucky before being sent away to slavery. The song carries overtones of death as the slave forecasts overwork and brutal mistreatment in the “land where the sugar canes grow.” His master sold him to a plantation in the Deep South.

As soon as it was first published in 1852, the song grew popular quickly and sold thousands of copies within days of its release. The issue of equality in American social and political hemispheres evolved rapidly in the years leading to the Civil War and the years prior to America’s entry into World War I.

America’s idea of equality, an element that was still in its infancy in World War I, was noted by the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, “My Old Kentucky Home awakens the sympathies for the slave, in which anti-slavery principles take root, grow, and flourish.”

This song was adopted as the official state song of Kentucky in 1928.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (26)


I wish I was in de land ob cotton, Old times dar am not forgotten,
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.
In Dixie Land whar I was born in Early on one frosty mornin’
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.

Den I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!
In Dixie Land, I’ll take my stand to lib and die in Dixie;
Away, Away, Away down south in Dixie,
Away, Away, Away, down south in Dixie.

Dars buckwheat cakes an’ In genbatter, Makes you fat, or a little fatter,
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.
Den hoe it down an’ scratch your grabble, To Dixie Land I’m bound to trable
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.

Daniel Decatur Emmett in 1859 wrote this song for a blackface minstrel show that would become popular in the North. Although Emmett was an abolitionist, “Dixie” would later be associated with the Confederacy and the South.

The song acknowledges that blacks long to be in “de land ob cotton,” and like many minstrel songs, the song reinforces the image of African-Americans as happy yet enduring the hardships of slavery. The song carries an ironic tone – why will the narrator, a slave, be happy to remember the “Old times dar am not forgotten?” Allowing Southerners to believe the black man as happy despite slavery would have let soldiers on both sides laugh at the whole situation. Soldiers in the trenches would have felt something similar to this. It is not difficult to speculate that these horrible conditions encountered would have shared light-hearted moments with their comrades by singing this tune. This song would have appealed to a diverse audience.

The song was popular prior and during the war. The earliest known recording of this song was performed by Billy Murray, in a duet with Ada Jones, in 1916.

The Annotated Army Song Book Part 3

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (27)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (28)


Carry me back to old Virginny.
There's where the cotton and corn and taters grow.
There's where the birds warble sweet in the spring-time.
There's where this old darkey's heart am long'd to go.

There's where I labor’d so hard for old massa,
Day after day in the field of yellow corn;
No place on earth do I love more sincerely
Than old Virginny, the State where I was born.

Carry me back to old Virginny.
There's where the cotton and the corn and taters grow;
There's where the birds warble sweet in the spring-time.
There's where this old darkey's heart am long'd to go.

“Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” was written by James A. Bland, an African-American minstrel performer in 1878. As with the previous pieces, the lyrics contain several pseudo-African American colloquialisms that are racially sensitive including personal experiences as seen in this song where the singer expects to meet his “Massa...where the cotton and the corn and taters grow.” However, this time, the songwriter is an African-American. This gives listeners a chance to hear a song from the perspective of black Americans. The song tells of a slave who wants to return home to Virginia where he was born, a narrative that would have evoked nostalgia among soldiers as they looked forward to homecoming day.

Minstrel songs, where this song was popularized, were often met with controversy. While integrationists saw these shows as a misleading picture of showing happy slaves while poking fun at them at the same time, segregationists thought these shows broke social norms as they depicted runaway slaves. With audiences in the shows knowing that the composer is black, the issue of race would have played an important role in popularizing this song.

Nevertheless, the song was popular prior to America’s entry into World War I and was commonly used in the repertoire for minstrel performances. In 1915, Alma Gluck and Len Spencer recorded this song and because of its popularity, it became one of the most recorded songs of the pre-war era. “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” became the official song of Virginia in 1940.

Music of the First World War p.97 By Don Tyler
A History of the Minstrel Show (2000) By Frank W. Sweet, Backintyme, p. 28

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (29)


Roll, Jordan, roll, roll, Jordan, roll
I want to go to Heaven when I die, To hear Jordan roll.

1. Oh, brothers, you ought t’have been there,
Yes, my Lord! A sitting in the Kingdom, to hear Jordan roll.

2. Oh, preachers, you ought t’have been there, etc.
3. Oh, sinners, you ought,
4. Oh, mourners, you ought,
5. Oh, seekers, you ought t’have been there
6. Oh, mothers, you ought
7. Oh, children, you ought,

Written as a spiritual by Charles Wesley in the 18th century, this song was sung at religious camp meetings as part of the Second Great Awakening. In the 19th and early 20th century, the song was mostly popular among African-Americans.

“Roll, Jordan, Roll” reflects the Biblical story of Joshua and the Israelites crossing the River Jordan into the Promised Land of Israel. Black slaves during the Civil War felt similarly as many of them sought refuge in their promise land, the free North where slavery was outlawed. Similar to the Israelites, slaves had to cross the Mississippi or Ohio Rivers to cross into the North. In James Cone’s book, Black Theology and Black Power, he suggests that referencing the River Jordan not only expressed freedom, but death – a death that was seen as a liberation from the harsh realities of slave life.

During the Civil War, spirituals were considered to be “code songs,” songs that contain lyrics referencing the Underground Railroad as a way to escape slavery. Songs used biblical imagery and the expression of desire to be free from bondage in the lyrics contain codes to help slaves find a way to escape to the slave-free North. The slave master however has no grasp of its interpretation. Given its popularity, the genre of spirituals influenced the creation of blues. After the Civil War, large numbers of rural blacks began moving to urban cities such as New Orleans. They developed the blues, a fusion of ragtime and spirituals.

During the war, the song was popular among black soldiers. However, with some modifications. Arthur Little, commander of the regimental band, attested that when they were passing through Vitryle-Francois in France, the black soldiers sang:

Roll, Jordan, roll – roll, Jordan, roll –
Soldier, you’ll be called on
To shake that thing you’re sittin’ on,
There’s a battle being fought in the Argonne,
Roll, Jordan, roll
Pray for forgiveness, Pray for forgiveness –
Pray for forgiveness –
That’s all a poor black sinner can do

In France, black regiments were under the French command. African-American spirituals were used to console recuperating French and later American soldiers returning from the front. The French welcomed spirituals as a way to express sentimentalism and hope.

These songs evoke spiritual meaning to the soldiers. Originally used in religious camp meetings and popularized later on by slaves, spirituals functioned as a common ground for both social classes and as a social commentary for the people singing the song.

Nelson, Peter. A More Unbending Battle: The Harlem Hellfighters' Struggle for Freedom in WWI and Equality at Home. New York: Basic Civitas, 2009. 2009. Accessed September 27, 2018.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (30)


Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home.

1. I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home.

2. If you get there before I do,
Coming for to carry me home,
Tell all my friends I’m coming too,
Coming for to carry me home.

3. The brightest day that ever I saw,
Coming for to carry me home,
When Jesus washed my sins away,
Coming for to carry me home.

4. I’m sometimes up and sometimes down,
Coming for to carry me home,
But still my soul feels heavhly bound,
Coming for to carry me home.

Another spiritual from the Civil War era, “Sweet Low, Sweet Chariot” was considered a code song and a favorite of Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist, who helped many slaves escape slavery.

Examining sermons by African-American preachers given during the turn of the 20th century, three types of transportation were mentioned to express freedom: the gospel train, the gospel ship, and the gospel chariot. Since chariots or horse travel were mainly used by white people during the Civil War and even during World War I, the mere mention of chariot in the context of a spiritual, which was popularized by slaves, creates an interesting contradiction of themes. Simply, how will the lowest social class be able to ride in the highest social form of transportation? In the context of military organization, it is not too far to think that many privates, to whom the Army Songbook was intended, would have had the ambition to achieve a higher rank.

However, there is an underlying ironic message in verse 1.

I looked overJordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home.

As mentioned in the previous song, the mention of Jordan expresses both death and homecoming. Verse 1 seems to express death rather than an ambition to achieve a higher rank. This song may have had this dual feeling of returning home to their families as well as dying in battle with “a band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home.”

Since 1988, this song has been the favorite of English rugby fans.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (31)


1. Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss within the cup,
And I'll not ask for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove's nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.

2. I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much honoring thee
As giving it a hope, that there
It could not withered be.
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
And sent'st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
Not of itself, but thee.

The first love song in the songbook, “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes” was a popular English song written by Ben Jonson in 1616 as a poem, “Song to Celia.”

This song was popular during the war. Indeed, the harpist Melville Clark recalls that President Wilson, who was an avid singer oftentimes asked Clark to play this song; “soon the president began to sing in a clear, lyric tenor voice.”

Presidential Praise: Our Presidents and Their HymnsBy C. Edward Spann, Michael Edward Williams

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (32)


1. Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never bro’t to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne;
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne

2. We twa ha’esported I’ the burn
Frae mornin’ sun tille dine,
But seas between us braid ha’e reared,
Sin auld lang syne.

3. And here’s a hand my trusty frien,
And gie’s a hand o’ thine;
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to a traditional folk song. Well known especially in the English-speaking world, it has traditionally been associated with New Year’s Eve, funerals, and occasions that evoke farewell or symbolize endings and new beginnings.

To illustrate the international popularity of the song, a letter from Sir Edward Hulse of the Scots Guards remembers how the British and German soldiers joined together to sing "Good King Wenceslas," "The Tommies Song," "Annie Laurie," and "Auld Lang Syne" during the Christmas Day Truce of 1914. Even before the war, the song was popular enough for George M. Cohan, the composer of “Over There,” to quote the melody of the first lines of “Auld Lang Syne” in the second to the last line of the chorus of “You’re a Grand Old Flag” in 1906 for his stage musical “George Washington, Jr.”

Given its Scottish origins, this song would have appealed to Scottish-American soldiers. In the context of the war, the song would also have given the sense of hope to all the soldiers with its association of ending the war and the beginning of a new life when they return home.

One doesn't do tantrums and tiaras – Telegraph". London:Telegraph.co.uk. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-25402099

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (33)


1. Maxwelton's braes are bonnie,
Where early fa's the dew,
And it’s there that Annie Laurie
Gave me her promise true.
Gave me her promise true -
Which ne'er forgot will be,
And for bonnie Annie Laurie
I'd lay me doon and dee.

2. Her brow is like the snow-drift,
Her neck is like the swan,
Her face it is the fairest,
That 'er the sun shone on.
That 'er the sun shone on -
And dark blue is her e'e,
And for bonnie Annie Laurie
I'd lay me doon and dee.

Based on a poem by William Douglas, this old Scottish song is also known as Maxwelton Braes. In 1883, John Philip Sousa remarked that “Annie Laurie" was one of the most beautiful folk songs. He was inspired to write a march based on it. Unfortunately, Sousa’s piece was soon forgotten.

Like “Auld Lang Syne,” Annie Laurie was an international favorite. Private William Quinton of the British Army recounts the Christmas Truce:

We could see what looked like very small coloured lights. What was this? Was it some prearranged signal and the forerunner of an attack? We were very suspicious, when something even stranger happened. The Germans were actually singing! Not very loud, but there was no mistaking it. Suddenly, across the snow-clad No Man’s Land, a strong clear voice rang out, singing the opening lines of“Annie Laurie."It was sung in perfect English and we were spellbound. To us it seemed that the war had suddenly stopped! Stopped to listen to this song from one of the enemy.

American composers, J. Will Callahan and F. Henri Klickmann released “They All Sang ‘Annie Laurie’ (the song That Reaches Ev’ry Heart)” in 1915.

Paul E. Bierley,The Works of John Philip Sousa(Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 43. Hart, Peter.Fire and Movement:The British Expeditionary Force and the Campaign of 1914

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (34)


1. By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

O ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland a'fore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

2. 'Twas there that we parted, in yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side o' Ben Lomond,
Where in purple hue, the hieland hills we view,
And the moon coming out in the gloaming.

3. The wee birdies sing and the wildflowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping.
But the broken heart it kens nae second spring again,
Tho’ the waefu’ may cease frae their greetin’.

The origins of this Scottish song are ambiguous and there is no definitive interpretation of this song. The lyrics clearly show that the song deals with separation or death. There is a common misinterpretation that this song portrays the unfortunate separation of two lovers. Rather, this song was written as a lament responding to the loss of the Jacobite rebels after the Battle of Culloden. During the Jacobite Uprising of 1745, captured rebels were brought to London to be executed after a show trial. Their heads were set upon pikes and exhibited on a procession back home to Scotland. The procession was on the “high road” while relatives and friends who accompanied the executed to London returned back to Scotland along the “low road,” the ordinary road travelled by commoners. Soldiers serving in the trenches would have easily related to the hope of homecoming this song intends to convey as well as the underlying theme of despairing about death.

Leslie Howard interview https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4766584

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (35)


Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled!
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led!
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victory!
Now’s the day and now’s the hour,
See the front of battle hour!
See approach Edward’s pow’r,
Chains and slavery!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward’s grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!
Wha for Scotland’s king and law,
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand, or freeman fa’,
Let him follow me!

By oppression’s woes and pain!
By our sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!
Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in ev’ry foe!
Liberty’s in ev’ry blow!
Let us do, or die!

“Scots Wha Hae” was written by Robert Burns in 1793 based on a speech given by Robert Bruce before the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 that called the Scots to fight against King Edward II of England.

During the war, this song was “seen to be supporting, not necessarily the Scots in the war, but the British war effort,” says Dr. David Goldie, an expert in Robert Burns’ influence on World War I and a senior lecturer at Strathclyde University. Goldie further says “People were able to use the sentiments of the Battle of Bannockburn, a battle in which the Scots had fought the English and actually turn it on its head and used it as a way of suggesting that if people could harness this patriotic spirit for the British cause then all would be well.” Burns’ influence on World War I could also be seen in British recruitment posters from 1915 that often quote his poems. In an effort to consolidate the Allied effort, this song was a rallying cry for the Allies to fight as a single unit, not only for the Scottish soldiers.

From the social perspective, Goldie extends Burns’ influence to the civilian population saying, "Scots Wha Hae" was both a Scottish patriotic and a patriotic hymn to the working man and the independence of the working man but it could also be seen to represent the independent spirit that Britain was showing against Germany.”


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (36)

1. Who would not fight for freedom?
Who would not draw the sword?
Who would not up and rally
At the great Republic’s word?
Italy’s fair plains are ravaged,
Venice threatened by Hun
Quickly let us cross the ocean
Ere the cruel deed is done.

Who would not fight for freedom?
Who would not draw the sword?
Who would not up and rally
At the great Republic’s word?

2. Who would not fight for Belgium?
Who would not fight for France?
Who would not stand with England?
To repel the foe’s advance?
We have heard their women calling
For our help across the sea,
We have heard their weeping children;
Come and fight to set them free!


3. Who would not fight the Prussian?
What man would be a slave?
Up, then, let ev’ry freeman
Fight, his country’s life to save,
Ev’ry man whose hear is loyal,
Ev’ry man of courage tried,
Let him heed his country’s summons,
Let him stand on Freedom’s side.


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (37)


Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day,
Were to change by tomorrow, and flee from my arms
Like fairy gifts, fading away!
Thou wouldst still be adored as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will;
And, around the dear ruin, each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still!

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a love can be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear!
No, the heart that has truly loved, never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close;
As the sun-flower turns on her god, when he sets,
The same look which she turned when he rose!

A popular song written by Thomas Moore in 1808 using a traditional Irish air, this is a selection from his book “Irish Melodies” that focuses on unconditional love. The lyrics describes that the love of the speaker for someone will continue despite aging and even after death.

Moore’s first words, “Believe me,” asks the reader for trust and the first four lines set the scene. The lyrics imply that the subject spoken of is very beautiful, but the speaker understands that beauty could “flee” from his arms. He demonstrates the depth of his love as being more substantial than the visible charms of the subject. Words such as “fairy gifts” set the imagery of this song as magical – a love that transcends boundaries, thus having no regard for physical elements that might interfere with the relationship of the speaker and the subject.

The second set of four lines is a direct response to the first verse and sets up a hypothetical situation that even though “thy loveliness fade as it will,” the speaker’s love centers not on beauty. Line 13 in the second verse seems to be the climax and the comma after “No” as well as the leap of a perfect 5th interval dispels any doubts that the reader may have had in the past. The speaker argues “The heart that has truly loved, never forgets” and reiterates his love for his beloved.

The lyrics of this song would have meant multiple things to the soldier in the trenches. Away from his family and country, the disgruntled soldier may have viewed the beloved in this song as his love for America despite the political ugliness that tainted the country. Given that the army often had trouble keeping American soldiers away from brothel houses, another possible interpretation could be that this song may have encouraged soldiers to remain faithful to their wives and sweethearts they left back home.


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (38)


1. Men of Harlech! in the hollow
Do you hear, like rushing billow,
Wave on wave that surging follow,
Battles distant sound?
‘Tis the tramp Saxon foemen, Saxon spearmen, Saxon bowmen,
Be they knights, or hinds or yeomen,
They shall bite the ground!
Loose the folds asunder,
Flag we conquer under!
The placid skies that hear our cries
Shall launch their bolts in thunder!
Onward! ‘tis our country needs us!
He is bravest, he who leads us!
Honor’s self now proudly heads us!
Freedom, God and Right!

2. Men of Harlech! honor calls us
No proud Saxon e’er appals us!
On we march what e’er befalls us
Never shall we fly!
Tho’ our mothers may be weeping,
Tho’ our sisters may be keeping
Watch for some who now are sleeping
On the battle field!
Forward, lightly bounding,
Hear the trumpet sounding,
Forward, ever backward never,
This proud foe astounding.
Fight for father, sister, mother,
Each is bound to each as brother,
With this faith in one another
We will win or die!

“Men of Harlech” is a Welsh military march that describes the seven-year siege of Harlech Castle in the 15th century. The tune is widely used as a regimental march in the British Army and Commonwealth. While being associated with Wales, the tune is performed differently throughout the regiments. In the Welsh Guards, the tune is played as a slow march, the Royal Welsh use it as a quick march, and the Royal Canadian Hussars stationed in Montreal, Canada uses it as a regular march.

Apparently, the song was popular during World War I. During the Second Christmas Truce in 1915, British Private Robert Keating wrote in his diary:

"Here we were Welsh and Scots all clustered around the burning brazier which was placed on the outer parapet. The Germans were sending up star lights and singing - they stopped, so we cheered them and we began singing Land of Hope and Glory and Men or Harlech... we stopped and they cheered us. So we went on till the early hours..."

The patriotic lyrics clearly call for a consolidated effort to “Fight for father, sister, mother” and that “Each is bound to each as brother.” Simply remembering their history, the Welsh would have easily remembered their resistance to the Normans and their defiance at Harlech. These events are similar to the plight of Belgium – the reason Britain entered the war. Belgium, a small country like Wales, is now defenseless against the aggression from its powerful, bullying neighbor, Germany. Recalling their fight for independence from Great Britain, Americans would have seen themselves similarly in this situation and have sympathy for the Belgian cause.

The Annotated Army Song Book Part 4

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (39)

Flag of honor, flag of daring,
Flag of legions onward faring,
Flag our hands and hearts are bearing,
Lead to victory!
From the dyes of battle glory,
Foam and wave of ocean’s glory
And the stars that tell thy story
Freemen fashioned thee.
Flag of love unbounded!
Flag of hopes unsounded!
How float thy bars, how gleam thy stars,
By Heavens stars surrounded!
We thy sons shall fail thee never!
Time nor tide our faith shall sever!
All for thee, and thousand forever,
Flag of victory!

By the standards that have shown thee,
By the battles that have known thee,
By the heroes that have flown thee,
Guide us in the fight!
Bless the soldier in his sleeping;
Hush the mother in her weeping;
Hold the helpless in thy keeping,
Warder of the Right!
By the guns that scarred thee,
By the guns that guard thee,
Thine eagles soar
From war to war,
But never stain has marred thee!
We thy sons shall fail thee never!
Time nor tide our faith shall sever!
All for thee, and thou forever,
Flag of victory!

Using the same melody of “Men of Harlech,” George Sterling dedicated this song to the 81st Field Artillery Regiment of the U.S. Army in 1917. The recently organized artillery group was originally from the 23rd Cavalry from Chickamauga and later served in Brittany, France during World War I.

Sterling, a poet from California, wrote the lyrics at the suggestion of Captain Davies. A newsletter from The Cambrian in 1918 states that this song “won the first prize for the Eighty-first Regiment” although it is not clear what kind of competition the author was referring to. Further, the newsletter suggests that this song be “sung in every Welsh home, church, or society.”

This song may be an example of an effort to create a unified Allied force by adopting a well-known Welsh tune. Changing the lyrics makes American soldiers easily relate to its meaning. With the indication to sing it con fuoco (with fire), marching to this song is unavoidable.

The Cambrian. Published in "The Interest of the Welsh People and ...," Volume 38

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (40)


Written on the air of “Marche Lorraine,” this is an example of a well-known foreign tune that was adopted in America. The lyrics are changed to fit the war effort. The absence of the music score may indicate that there was no need to include it because of its overwhelming popularity.

The melody was originally written as an instrumental work by Louis Ganne, a French composer. Rising to prominence before and during the war, the song was recorded by Conway’s Band in 1917 led by Patrick Conway. This band was also known as The Ithaca Band that specialized in patriotic songs, similar to John Philip Sousa’s band. The melody was a staple in the repertory of wind and brass bands that was used to begin an event. Later, this song was transcribed into braille music during the war.

With the words “On the Way to France,” this song created an inherent connection between American and French troops. The lyrics express strong “Yankee” support for France.


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (41)


Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there,
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
The drums rumtumming ev'ry where.
So prepare, say a pray'r.
Send the word, send the word to beware,
We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back
Till it's over over there!

Arguably the most popular song during World War I, George M. Cohan’s “Over There” was written on April 6, 1917 as a response to the United States’ declaration of war on Germany. It was designed to call young American men to enlist in the army and fight the “Hun.” The song was heavily reprinted that by the fall of 1917, two million copies of sheet music had been sold. It appeared in many different covers.Given its popularity, the song helped shift public opinion to pro-war and galvanized the public into action to help the war effort. Prior to this, the U.S. maintained a neutral stance.

Cohan's daughter Mary tells how her father composed this song. She remembers how her father proclaimed to his family that he just finished a new song. Wearing a kitchen pan on his head, Cohan began to mark time and marched with a broom in hand for a gun. She further relates, "We kids had heard, of course, that the United States was at war, and how here was Dad acting just like a soldier. So I began to sob, and I threw myself down, hanging for dear life to his legs as he marched, begging him, pleading with him not to go away to the war. I kept clinging to him until he stopped."

“Over there” can be considered as one of the greatest wartime propaganda songs. It was made famous by the singer Nora Bayes and was recorded several times by Enrico Caruso. Further, Louis Delamarre wrote a French translation of the song alongside the English original that appealed to both American and French audiences. However, by 1918, Americans would realize that “Over there” was an artifact, written during a more innocent and naïve time. The levels of bloodshed and cruel devastation by the war operated by machines had reached unimaginable levels. By the time the war ended in 1918, more than a hundred thousand Americans had lost their lives. In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt awarded Cohan the Medal of Honor for his contribution to the war effort in World War I. Cohan’s clever response was “Funny about them giving me a medal. All I wrote was a bugle call” as he referred to the melody of the refrain mimicking a military bugle call.

Pegler, Martin (2014).Soldier's Songs and Slang of the Great War. Osprey Publishing
Morehouse, Ward. George M. Cohan, Prince of the American Theater. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1943.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (42)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (43)


1. When Johnny comes marching home again,
Hurrah! hurrah!
We’ll give him a hearty welcome then,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The men will cheer, the boys will shout,
The ladies they will turn out.

And we’ll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.

2. The old church bell will peal with joy,
Hurrah! hurrah!
To welcome home our darling boy,
Hurrah! hurrah!
The village lads and lassies say,
With roses they will strew the way.

3. Get ready for the Jubilee,
Hurrah! hurrah!
We’ll give the hero three times three,
Hurrah! hurrah!
The laurel wreath is ready now
To place upon his loyal brow.

4. Let love and friendship on that day,
Hurrah! hurrah!
Their choicest treasures then display,
Hurrah! hurrah!
And let each one perform some part,
To fill with joy the warrior’s heart.

Published under the pseudonym, Louis Lambert, "When Johny Comes Marching Home" was written byPatrick Sarsfield Gilmore in 1863. Migrating to Boston from Ireland in 1848, Gilmore showed his admiration for America by composing patriotic songs and was dubbed "Father of the American Band." He was often compared to John Philip Sousa.Gilmore was made Grand Master of the Union Army in 1863, the same year he composed this song. Besides leading the band and composing songs, Gilmore was also ordered to reorganize the state military bands.His band was attached to the 24th Massachusetts Infantry.

Although Gilmore claimed that he adapted the song from an African-American spiritual, the melody of the song is very similar to the Irish song “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye” which was considered a protest song against Irish conscription into the British Army. The song has sentimental lyrics:

Where are your legs that used to run, huroo, huroo,
Where are your legs that used to run, huroo, huroo,
Where are your legs that used to run when first you went for to carry a gun?
Alas, your dancing days are done, och, Johnny, I hardly knew ye.

Interestingly, there are no negative references in Gilmore’s version and the song is only used as a motivation song that tells what will happen to American veterans when they return home. The song ignores the lifelong injuries that veterans would have suffered. It is also interesting to consider what Irish-Americans serving in World War I would have felt while singing this patriotic song and remembering its origins describing war injuries.


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (44)


Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching,
Cheer up, comrades, they will come,
And beneath the starry flag,
We shall breathe the air again
Of the freeland in our own beloved home.

“Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!” was a very popular song from the Civil War. George F. Root wrote it from the perspective of Union prisoners of war in 1864 with the message of hope. Hope of liberation was the only thing that stood between prison experience and total despair.

The Army Songbook omitted the sentimental first verse that tells how the soldier remembers his mother and dreams of his return home. The first few verses omitted are:

In the prison cell I sit, thinking Mother, dear, of you,
And our bright and happy home so far away,
And the tears they fill my eyes 'spite of all that I can do,
Tho' I try to cheer my comrades and be gay.

George Root was notably successful as a composer of military and patriotic songs. His 35 war-time “hits” were sung both on the home front and front lines. As “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp" became more popular for troop marches, the song was subjected to parodies and variants. In 1914, the melody and meter were used by Mark Sheridan as the basis for the British World War I song, “Belgium Put the Kibosh on the Kaiser.”

Smith,Stories of Great National Songs, p. 127

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (45)


Hurrah for the flag of the free,
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The Banner of the Right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaim’d as they march’d to the fray,
That by their might, And by their right, It waves forever!

This patriotic American march is widely considered to be John Philip Sousa’s greatest work. By act of Congress in 1987, this song is the official National March of the U.S. In his autobiography, Marching Along, Sousa remembers that he composed the march on Christmas Day, 1896 while on board an ocean liner on his way to Europe for a vacation. He had just learned that David Blakely, his band manager, passed away.

In Paul Bierly’s The Works of John Philip Sousa, Sousa’s response to interviewers regarding this song appeared to be that this song was born out of homesickness:

“Who influenced you to compose ‘Stars and Stripes Forever,’” and before the question was hardly asked, Sousa replied, “God–and I say this in all reverence! I was in Europe and I got a cablegram that my manager was dead. I was in Italy and I wished to get home as soon as possible. I rushed to Genoa, then to Paris and to England and sailed for America. On board the steamer as I walked miles up and down the deck, back and forth, a mental band was playing ‘Stars and Stripes Forever.’ Day after day as I walked it persisted in crashing into my very soul. I wrote it on Christmas Day, 1896.”

Further, it was an attempt to create a patriotic spirit - something that set apart America from other countries.

“In a kind of dreamy way I used to think over old days at Washington when I was leader of the Marine Band...when we played at all public official functions, and I could see the Stars and Stripes flying from the flagstaff in the grounds of the White House just as plainly as if I were back there again. Then I began to think of all the countries I had visited, of the foreign people I had met, of the vast difference between America and American people and other countries and other peoples, and that flag of ours became glorified...and to my imagination it seemed to be the biggest, grandest, flag in the world, and I could not get back under it quick enough. It was in this impatient, fretful state of mind that the inspiration to compose ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ came to me, and to my imagination it was a genuine inspiration, irresistible, complete, definite, and I could not rest until I had finished the composition. Then I experienced a wonderful sense of relief and relaxation. I was satisfied, delighted, with my work after it was done. The feeling of impatience passed away, and I was content to rest peacefully until the ship had docked and I was once more under the folds of the grand old flag of our country.

Then I began to think of all the countries I had visited, of the foreign people I had met, of the vast difference between America and American people and other countries and other peoples, and that flag of ours became glorified...and to my imagination it seemed to be the biggest, grandest, flag in the world, and I could not get back under it quick enough.

Although not included in the songbook, the trio that usually follows the chorus was specially composed. Sousa explained to the press that the three themes of the final trio were meant to typify the three sections of the United States. The broad melody, or main theme, represents the North. The South is represented by the famous piccolo obbligato, and the West by the bold countermelody of the trombones.”

Bierley, Paul E.The Works of John Philip Sousa. Columbus, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (46)


Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag,
And smile, smile, smile,
While you’ve a lucifer to light your fa*g,
Smile, boys, that’s the style.
What’s the use of worrying?
It never was worth while, so
Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag,
And smile, smile, smile,

Published in London as part of the music hall tradition in 1915, this World War I marching song was written by Welsh songwriter, George Henry Powell under the pseudonym George Asaf and set to music by his brother Felix Powell.

The Powell brothers wrote this marching song for a wartime music competition that became very popular in boosting British morale and recruiting forces. Given its similarity in structure to “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” the two songs were frequently sung one after the other.

Gareth Malone, choirmaster for the Military Wives’ Christmas choir, explains in an interview with the BBC on how the Powells came up with this song.

So one reason for the song's success is its simplicity. It's written in G major, which can be played on a wide range of instruments relatively easily...The first line of the song is very direct and familiar to people because it mentions a kit bag - every soldier in the country would have had a kit bag.The second line is about a Lucifer, which is a match which they would have used to light their cigarettes.So these are words that any regular Tommy would immediately connect with.

While George was a pacifist, his brother Felix signed-up as a staff sergeant in the British Army. However, it is said that Felix was horrified when he found out that his popular tune was used as propaganda. He went to war and accompanied the soldiers to their deaths.

In America, World War I propaganda cartoons included Snoopy singing this song with “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary,” and “Over There.”

Malone, Gareth."The Importance of WWI Songs".www.bbc.co.uk

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (47)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (48)


1. Oh, they put me in the Army
And they handed me a pack,
They took away my nice new clothes
And dolled me up in tack.
They marched me twenty miles a day
To fit me for the war;
I didn't mind the first nineteen,
But the last one made me sore!


Oh, it's not the pack
That you carry on your back,
Nor the Springfield on your shoulder.
Nor the five inch crust
Of Clinton County dust
That makes you feel your limbs are growing older.
And it's not the hike
On the hard turnpike
That wipes away your smile,
Nor the socks of sisters
That raise the blooming blisters,
It's the last long mile!

2. Some day they'll send us over
And they'll put us in the trench,
Taking pop shots at the Fritzes
With the Tommies and the French,
And someday we'll be marching
Through a town across the Rhine,
And then, you bet, we'll all forget
These mournful words of mine!


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (49)


Good morning, Mister Zip-Zip-Zip,
With your hair cut just as short as mine,
Good morning, Mister Zip-Zip-Zip,
You're surely looking fine!
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust,
If the Camels don't get you,
The Fatimas must,
Good morning, Mister Zip-Zip-Zip,
With your hair cut just as short as,
your hair cut just as short as,
your hair cut just as short as mine.

The Annotated Army Song Book Part 5

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (50)

Giddy Giddap! go on! go on!
We’re on our way to war!
We’re goin’ to tell ‘em to go to well!
That’s what we’re fighting for!
We didn’t want to do it, boys,
But now they’ve made us sore;
Giddy Giddap! go on! go on!
We’re on our way to war!

Jack Frost composed this song in 1917 and was published the same year in Chicago by Frank K. Root and Co. The sheet music can be found at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. There are no records how popular this song was during the war, but the lyrics are clear that this is a recruitment song. The title, rhythm, and the illustration on the side seem to target the cavalry division of the army.

When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, the country had already gained significant cavalry experience during the Pancho Villa Expedition from 1916 to 1917. In May 1917, a month after the US declaration of war, the National Defense Act of 1916 went into effect, that created the 18th through the 25th US Cavalry regiments. Later that month, twenty more cavalry regiments were created.

However, considering the challenges of trench warfare and modern weapons such as machine guns, cavalry warfare would have been impractical. Indeed, horses were used mainly for transporting ammunition and supplies to the front line. Thus, when the lyrics imitate the giddy-giddap of horses, they do not necessarily refer only to the cavalry division but to the entire military effort to support the soldiers. Further, this effort would have also functioned to convince the American public that “We’re on our way to war!”

For more information on horses in World War I, Brooke USA has written articles on American horses and mules that served in the war. https://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/brookeusa-home-page.html

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (51)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (52)


1. He was just a long, lean country gink
From ‘way out West where th’ hop toads wink;
He was six feet two in his stockin’ feet,
An’ kept gittin’ thinner th’ more he’d eat.
But he was as brave as he was thin,
When th’ war broke out he got right in.
Unhitch’d his plow, put th’ mule away,
Then th’ old folks heard him say:

Good by, Ma!
Good by, Pa!
Good by, Mule with yer old hee haw!
I may not know what th’ war’s about,
But you bet, by gosh, I’ll soon find out.
An,’ O my sweetheart, don’t you fear,
I’ll bring you a King for a souvenir;
I’ll git you a Turk an’ a Kaiser, too,
An’ that’s about all one feller could do!

2. One pair of socks was his only load
When he stuck fer town by th’ old dirt road.
He went right down to th’ public square
An’ fell in line with th’ soldiers there.
Th’ sergeant put him in uniform,
His gal knit mitts fer to keep him warm;
They drill’d him hard, they drill’d him long,
Then he sang his farewell song!

Also known as “Goodbye, Ma! Goodbye, Pa! Goodbye, Mule, with Yer Old Hee-Haw!, this song was written by Herschell and Walker in 1917. The lyrics tells, in a humorous tone, about the story of the very thin “country gink” who leaves his farm duties to join the army. The chorus is his farewell to his parents, “sweetheart,” and the family’s mule.

As with the previous songs that exhibited the rural qualities of the American midwest, the boy described in this song is a naive young fellow who is not interested in questioning the purpose of the war. Was this the ideal fellow the military was looking for? Indeed, the government would have had no trouble convincing and recruiting young men with this mindset. Thus, depicting the rural American midwest was an ideal picture for government propaganda. While naive fellows showed off their innocence in following government directives without question, depicting the untouched beauty of the rolling plains of the country farms and contrasting it to the ugly destruction of the Western Front convinced Americans that they had to protect their homeland to preserve its beauty.

Although the lyrics tell of a subject that “may not know what th’ war’s about,” by including the Turk, Kaiser, and King in the following lines, the subject is not at all alienated from what is really going on in Europe. To whom was this song intended for? Country folks or city people? Since Herschell wrote the lyrics during his time as the editor of the Indianapolis newspaper and the music was published in New York’s Tin Pan Alley by Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., perhaps Herschell used his background as a country folk to inspire city people of their unquestioning loyalty to the government’s agenda.


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (53)


Keep your head down, Fritzie Boy!
Keep your head down, Fritzie Boy!
Late last night by the “star shell” light
We Saw You! We Saw You!
You were fixing your barbed wire,
When we opened rapid fire,
If you want to see your father in the Fatherland,
Keep your head down, Fritzie Boy!

Composed by Clarence Murphy and David Worton in 1918, this humorous song was based on older music hall favorites, “Hold Your Hand Out” and “Naughty Boy.” These songs were already popular with British troops. Lieutenant Gitz Rice, a Canadian gunnery officer who served in Ypres, Somme, and Vimy Ridge, popularized this song among Canadian and American troops. He sang and played the piano in concert parties held at the Front. Since Rice was under British command, he may have adapted this song after hearing it from the British troops. Rice is also credited for popularizing other wartime songs: “Dear Old Pal of Mine,” “On the Road That Leads to Home,” and “Fun In Flanders.”

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (54)

So Hip! Hip! Hip! Hip! Hooray!
We are march! march! marching away,
And so help me sister Hannah,
We’ll defend the starry banner
In the good old Yankee Doodle way.
So Hip! Hip! Hip! In to line,
For a trip, trip, trip, to the Rhine.
With the boys who never balk,
Fall of “Pep” and little talk,
From the good old U.S.A.

Written by Sergeant Barney Toy in 1917, this song is dedicated to his infantry division. Toy was known to head his men with music. In a telegram from the Chief of Staff of the 27th Division to the 106th Infantry dated June 28, 1918, it tells of how Sergeant Toy led his regiment.

Heavy firing far to the right told the positions of the guns; the roar of enemy planes, punctuated with blinding flashes indicated the locality of bursting aerial bombs dropped from the sky in an attempt to locate and destroy the gunners. And so the march was continued until dawn of the 4th of July when the goal was reached staggering under the weight of full packs and singing some favorite marching song, -- ending always with the battle cry “MINEOLA”! - MINEOLA” the plucky regiment went into billets; this was at Lederzeele in Flanders. In keeping with the spirit of the day, the band headed by the inimitable Barney Toy, marched and countermarched through the town, playing patriotic airs and popular medleys in a vain attempt to revive the weary troops but to no avail for by now the men were wrapped in slumber.

When Chas G. Woolsey visited Camp Wadsworth, he observed a battalion on its way to France. He wrote that when the battalion saw him, they immediately sang "Hip! Hip! Hooray!" and "We are March! March! Marching Away!" He further wrote that he could still hear them long after they had marched away. To Woolsey, this was an experience that made him appreciate the value of the singing program in the Army.

National Committee on Army and Navy Camp Music, "Music in the Camps, No. 39," RG 287, National Archives, Washington, DC.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (55)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (56)


1. Nights are growing very lonely,
Days are very long;
I’m a growing weary only
List’ning for your song.
Old remembrances are thronging
Thro’ my memory.
Till it seems the world is full of dreams
Just to call you back to me.

There’s a long, long trail a winding
Into the land of my dreams,
Where the nightingales are singing
And a white moon beams:
There’s a long, long night of waiting
Until my dreams all come true;
Till the day when I’ll be going down
That long, long trail with you.

2. All night long I hear you calling,
Calling sweet and low,
Seem to hear your footsteps falling,
Ev’ry where I go.
Tho’ the road between us stretches
Many a weary mile.
I forget that you’re not with me yet,
When I think I see you smile.

Elliott and King, classmates at Yale College, wrote this song in 1913 that was published a year later. In a 1964 interview for the New Haven Register, Elliott discussed how the song came about. The article for this interview was later reprinted in the Yankee Magazine.

Elliott tells Marc Drogin how he created the music in his dorm room. When King entered the room, he liked the music and uttered the first line of the lyrics. Elliot followed up with the second line and the two alternated pitching in ideas to complete the song. They performed this song for a banquet in honor of their fraternity, the Zeta Psi, that evening. Later, Elliot tells how the song first attracted widespread attention when “a boatload of Canadian soldiers sang it coming down the Thames from a Sunday outing.” It was then picked up by the British Tommies and brought with them as they marched off to the trenches.

The song was used primarily as a recruiting tool and to garner support for the war effort. It was also used by the Canadian Highlanders when they came marching down Broadway in New York in July 1917, for wartime fundraising events led by Enrico Caruso and Alma Gluck, and in vaudeville shows and concerts before film showings.

Elliot remembers that his fellow Yale recruits also sang the song in the Officer Training Camp in Plattsburgh: “I remember the remarkable sensation of hearing my tune start with the big fellows up front, pass through my own squad, reach the end of the column, and then be taken up by the next company.”

page 103 of "The Best of Yankee Magazine"

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (57)


1. They were summoned from the hillside,
They were called in from the glen,
And the Country found them ready at the stirring call for men.
Let no tears add to their hardships,
As the soldiers pass along,
And although your heart is breaking,
Make it sing this cheery song.

Keep the Home fires burning
While your hearts are yearning,
Through the dark cloud shining,
Turn the dark cloud inside out,
Till the boys come home.

2. Over seas there came a pleading,
“Help a nation in distress!”
And we gave our glorious ladies;
Honor bade us do no less.
For no gallant son of freedom
To a tyrant’s yoke should bend;
And a noble heart must answer
To the sacred call of “Friend.”


“Keep the Home Fires Burning” is a British patriotic song composed for the war effort in 1914 by Ivor Novello. The lyrics were completed by the American poet, Lena Gilbert Ford who would die two years later in an air raid. The song became very popular alongside “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.”

The song evokes a haunting effect and bridges the physical and emotional gap between the trenches and the home front. Although the melancholic melody may convey suffering, the title clearly tells the listener to have hope and “keep the home fires burning.” Someday, the “boys” will return home and will surely be welcomed in a nice warm house.

Novello has clear ideas how the piece should be performed. In a Home Notes magazine from December 1915, Novello guides the listener through the song’s shifts in tone. Beginning with a “bold attack,” the “growing crescendo corresponds to the lyrics as they tell the listener that “the country found them ready.” The song then falls back into a “sustained, soothing sound” on the word “yearning.” This is followed by a cheerful directive to “turn the dark cloud inside out.” In the article, he also warns that “Whatever happens, don’t overdo it.”


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (58)


Though I am far beyond the ocean blue,
Each lonely hour my heart remembers you,
Each tender look, each word I used to know,
Come back to me from out the long ago.

When the great red dawn is shining,
When the waiting hours are past,
When the tears of night are ended,
And I see the day at last;
I shall come down the road of sunshine,
To a heart that is food and true,
When the great red dawn is shining,
Back to home, back to love, and you!

“When the Great Red Dawn is Shining” is a song about a soldier’s experience of being away from home, a loved one, and his eventual return home. Popular in the Royal Canadian Newfoundland Regiment, the song was published in the U.S. in 1917.

The composer Evelyn Sharpe was born in 1884 and died in 1969. She composed songs, carols, church music and piano pieces for children.


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (59)

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (60)


1. There’s an old fashioned house in an old fashioned street
In a quaint kittle old fashioned town;
There’s a street where the cobble stones harass the feet,
As it straggles up hill and then down;
And, though to and fro, through the world I must go,
My heart while it beats in my breast,
Where e’er I may roam,
To that old fashioned home
Will fly back like a bird to its nest.

2. In that old fashioned house in that old fashioned street
Dwell a dear little, old fashioned pair.
I can see their two faces, so tender and sweet,
And I love ev’ry wrinkle that’s there.
I love ev’ry mouse in that old fashioned house,
In the street runs up hill and down,
Each stone and each stick,
Ev’ry cobble and brick,
In that quaint little, old fashioned town.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (61)


1. When the golden sun sinks in the hills,
And the toil of a long day is o’er
Though the road may be long, in the lilt of a song
I forget I was weary before.
Far ahead, where the blue shadows fall,
I shall come to contentment and rest;
And the toils of the day will be all charmed away
In my little grey home in the west.

2. There are hands that will welcome me in,
There are lips I am burning to kiss
There are two eyes that shine just because they are mine,
And a thousand things other men miss.
It’s a corner of heaven itself
Though it’s only a tumble down nest
But with love brooding there, why, no place can compare
With my little grey home in the west.

The Annotated Army Song Book Part 6

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (62)


I have always been a wand’rer,
Over land and sea,
Yet a moonbeam on the water
Casts a spell o’er me,
A vision fair I see,
Again I seem to be:

Back home again in Indiana,
And it seems that I can see
The gleaming candle light still shining bright
Thru the sycamores for me,
The new mown hay sends all its fragrance
From the fields I used to roam,
When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,
Then I long for my Indiana home.

The song was introduced as a “Tin Pan Alley” pop song in January 1917 with a musical quotation from the official state song, “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away” which was already well known when “Indiana” was published. Given its popularity as an immediate hit, this song was selected by Columbia Records to be recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band which later on became a jazz standard. Louis Armstrong would adopt this song in his succeeding career as his opening number in his performances.

James Hanley, the composer, who had served in World War I, is evidently “longing for my Indiana home.” The song’s fidelity to Indiana can be seen from repeated key words associated with the state: moonlight, candlelight, fields, new-mown hay, sycamores, and of course the Wabash River. The song continues to be a well-known song in Indiana.

Hanley’s other popular standard compositions are “Second Hand Rose” and “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart”for Ziegfeld Follies.


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (63)


Joan of Arc, Joan of Arc,
Do your eyes, from the skies, see the foe?
Don’t you see the drooping Fleur de lis?
Can’t you hear the tears of Normandy?
Joan of Arc, Joan of Arc,
Let your spirit guide us through;
Come lead you France to victory;
Joan of Arc, they are calling you.

“Joan of Arc, They are Calling You” is a song by for the war effort composed by Jack Wells and lyrics written by Al Bryan and Willie Weston. Although Joan of Arc was not canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church until 1920, it was common for French soldiers to carry an image of her for protection when going to battle. The lyrics seem to be a soldier's call for his heroine.

The image of Joan of Arc evoked both medieval chivalric values and suggested a critique of aristocratic authority. Joan of Arc's defiance against the papacy and the French monarchy led her to being burned at the stake in 1431. Her reputation was very popular in America prior to our involvement in the Great War. A sculpture of her was unveiled in New York at 93rd St. and Riverside Drive on December 6, 1915 with military bands playing and speeches rendered in her honor. Copies of the sculpture were also unveiled in San Francisco, Gloucester, Mass., and Blois, France. In an attempt to rouse people for the war effort, Haskell Coffin drew a fund-raising poster in 1917 depicting a fully armored Joan of Arc confronting the audience with the words “Joan of Arc Saved France, Women of America Save Your Country!” Her depiction appealed to both men and women. While women would have idolized her for displaying symbols of power, depicting a beautiful woman with open arms and a raised sword would have evoked a sense of erotic vulnerability to male audiences. Joan of Arc's heavily feminized portrayal played an important factor that incentivized young male soldiers to join the war. Was this the reason why this song was included in the songbook?

Visions of the Maid: Joan of Arc in American Film and Culture by Robin Blaetz

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (64)


1. Dear face that holds so sweet a smile for me,
Were you not mine how dark the world would be.
I know no light above that could replace,
Love’s radiant sunshine in your dear, dear face.

Give me your smile,
The lovelight in your eyes,
Life could not hold a fairer Paradise!
Give me the right to love you all the while,
My world forever, the sunshine of your smile!

2. Shadows may fall upon the land and sea,
Sunshine from all the world may hidden be,
But I shall see no cloud across the sun,
Your smile shall light my life till life is done.

The British songwriter and lyricist Leonard Cooke and composer Lilian Ray, wrote this song in 1913 just before World War I. The song became popular in America in 1916 after John McCormack recorded it for the Victor recording company.

The lyrics capture the feelings of separated sweethearts during the war. The first verse is formal and reserved: “Dear face that holds so sweet a smile for me, were you not mine, how dark the world would be.” The second verse is more free and expressive: “Shadows may fall upon the land and sea, Sunshine from all the world may hidden be, But I shall see no cloud across the sun, Your smile shall light my life, Till life is done.

Music of the First World War by Don Tyler p. 71 with recording

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (65)

There’s a girl I love who waits on Lookout Mountain,
With a mountain of love for me,
On the winding path where first we found each other
That is where I long to be,
She is sweeter than the songs the birds are singing
Back home in Tennessee,
There’s a girl I love who waits on Lookout Mountain,
With a mountain of love for me.

Another love song from the songbook, this piece was composed by composer Halsey K. Mohr and lyricist Joe Goodwin. Soldiers from Tennessee would have appreciated this song about their home state.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (66)


I’se got a gal an’ you got none,
Li’l Liza Jane.
I’se got a gal an’ you got none,
Li’l Liza Jane.

Ohe Liza, Li’l Liza Jane.
Ohe Liza, Li’l Liza Jane.

Come my love an’ live with me
Li’l Liza Jane.
I will take good care uv thee
Li’l Liza Jane

Liza Jane done cumter me,
Li’l Liza Jane
Bof as happt as can be
Li’l Liza Jane.

House an’ lot in Baltimo’
Li’l Liza Jane
Lots of chilluns roun’ de do’
Li’l Liza Jane

“Li’l Liza Jane” is a song that can be traced back to the early 1900s, but only published in 1916 in San Francisco as a composition by Countess Ada de Lachau. In Lucy Thurston’s interview, she remembers hearing slaves singing this tune in Covington, Louisiana before the Civil War. The song has been a standard in jazz, folk music, bluegrass, and rock and roll. It was also adopted by the New Orleans brass band tradition and featured in the 1916-1917 show “Come Out of the Kitchen.”

In September 1917, Earl Fuller’s Jazz Band, featuring Ted Lewis on clarinet, recorded an instrumental arrangement of this song for Victor Records. The recording sold well and established itself as a standard in early jazz repertory. A year later, Harry C Browne recorded the song with singing and banjo for Columbia Records. The recording was essential in popularizing the song to old time country music repertory.

“Lil’ Liza Jane” is a fairly unique song, having been covered in so many musical genres, from jazz to rock ‘n’ roll. There is a famous call-and-response section where the lead singer sings two bars of the melody, exclaiming, “Oh, Lil’ Liza!” and the band or audience responds, “Lil’ Liza Jane!” It is one of the most recognized songs in the world, which makes it a perfect sing-along.

Thurston, Lucy. "WPA Slave Narratives: Lucy Thurston Age 101". Mississippi Slave Narratives. Works Progress Administration.

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K-K-K-Katy, beautiful Katy,
You’re the only g-g-g-girl that I adore;
When the m-m-m-moon shines,
Over the cowshed,
I’ll be waiting at the k-k-k-kitchen door.

Canadian-American composer Geoffrey O’Hara composed this song in 1917 and published it in 1918. O’Hara was a song leader at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia when he wrote this song. After its publication, the song became an instant hit and was especially popular with American, Canadian, and British servicemen. Billy Murray recorded this song in 1918 for the Victor company.

The song was advertised as “The Sensational Stammering Song Success Sung by the Soldiers and Sailors.” The lyrics tells us of a young soldier who stutters when he tries to speak to girls, but finally manages to talk to “beautiful Katy.” Although the song has an upbeat and happy feel to it, the line, “I’ll be waiting at the k-k-k-kitchen door,” clearly makes this a “goodbye” song. From the rhetorical aspect, the repeated letters may also imitate the rapid machine gun fire that awaited the soldiers.


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There’s a spot in me heart which no colleen may own,
There’s a depth in me soul never sounded or known;
There’s a place in my mem’ry, my life, that you fill,
No other can take it, no one ever will.
Sure, I love the dear silver that shines in your hair,
And the brow that’s all furrowed
And wrinkled with cure,
I kiss the dear fingers, so toilworn for me,
Oh, God bless you and keep you, Mother Machree!

An Irish-American song from 1910, “Mother Machree” was written by composer Ernest Ball and lyrics added by Rida Johnson Young and Chauncey Olcott for the show Barry of Ballymoore. Trying to bolster their Irish heritage, Rida Johnson Young also wrote a screenplay bearing the same name in 1928 that tells about a poor Irish immigrant in America. This ballad was a favorite among English-speaking troops. Writing years later, Lily McCormack, the wife of the popular Irish tenor John McCormack, wrote

“One summer in World War II we met General Victor Odlum … of the Canadian Army…. General Odlum told John he had taken his records Ave Maria and Mother Machree everywhere with him during World War I; and neither John nor I had dry eyes when he described what these records meant to him and to his men.”

The American Magazine - Volume 90 - Page 34; 1920

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Darling, I am growing old,
Silver threads among the gold
Shine upon my brow today,
Life is fading fast away;
But, my darling you will be, will be
Always young and fair to me,
Yes! my darling you will be
Always young and fair to me.

Darling, I am growing, growing old,
Silver threads among the gold
Shine upon my brow today;
Life is fading fast away.

“Silver Threads Among the Gold” was first published in 1873 but remained popular through the early 20th century. Today, it is considered a standard in barbershop quartet singing. A New York Times article from October 1930 gives some background on the lyrics of the song:

"Silver Threads Song Traced to Poet’s ‘Re-Hash’ on Order"

Shiockton, Wis. (AP).—The love ballad, “Silver Threads Among the Gold,” which has stirred the hearts of more than one generation, was not the inspiration of an aging poet but a “re-hash” produced on order.The story developed after the unveiling of a monument here in honor of the author of the words, Eben E. Rexford, who died in 1916.Rexford made a living by writing verse and flower and garden articles for magazines. When he was 18, he wrote and sold for $3 some verses entitled “Growing Old.”Later, H. P. Danks, composer of the music for “Silver Threads,” wrote to him requesting words for a song. Rexford dug into his scrapbook and revised “Growing Old.”

During his lifetime, Rexford explained that he worked his way through writing it. Danks then sent him a request for lyrics. Further, he remembers that he first heard the melody from a company of Oneida Indians giving a concert in Shiocton, Wisconsin. The song proved to be a hit. Richard Jose recorded the song in 1903 and New York regiments sang it before being sent off to France in 1917. The popularity of the song can be seen by news stories which continued to reference it for many years after it was first published. In 1932, the song won a popularity poll conducted by WABC (AM) New York.

The New York Times, October 19, 1930, section 3, page 6

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (70)


Once in the dear, dead days beyond recall,
When on the world the mists began to fall,
Out of the dreams that rose in happy throng,
Low to our hearts Love sang an old sweet song;
And in the dusk where fell the firelight gleam,
Softly it wove itself into our dream.

Just a song at twilight, when the lights are low,
And the flick’ring shadows softly come and go,
Tho’ the heart be weary, sad the day and long,
Still to us at twilight, comes Love’s old song,
Comes Love’s old sweet song.

In Derek B. Scott’s book, The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlour, he comments that “Love’s Old Sweet Song” was a commercially successful ballad by Irish composer, James Molloy. It was first sung by American contralto Antoinette Sterling and was featured in James Joyce’s book, Ulysses.The song is also referenced in the 1917 British silent drama film “Love’s Old Sweet Song.”

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (71)


How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood,
When fond recollection presents them to view!
The orchard, the meadow, the deep tangled wildwood,
And ev’ry loved spot which my infancy knew.
The wide spreading pond, and the mill that stood by it,
The bridge and the rock where the cataract fell.
The cot of my father, the dairy house nigh it,
And e’en the rude bucket that hung in the well.

The old oaken bucket, the ironbound bucket
The moss covered bucket that hung in the well.

The lyrics can be traced back to Samuel Woodworth’s 1826 poem and later set to music by Kiallmarck. This song has been sung by generations of American schoolchildren and would have been very familiar to the young American soldiers during the war. The song was first recorded in 1899 by The Haydn Quartet, the most famous barbershop quartet at the time, and released on the Berliner Gramophone. Thus, Germans would have also heard this song before encountering the Americans on the battlefield in 1917.

The song was later parodied by American soldiers by renaming it “The Old Company Tooth brush.” https://secondhandsongs.com/work/166631/all

The Annotated Army Song Book Part 7

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1. O Genevieve,
I’d give the world
To live again the lovely past!
Thy rose of youth was dewimpearl’d
But now it withers in the blast.
I see thy face in ev’ry dream,
My waking thoughts are full of the;
Thy glance is in the starry beam
That falls along the Summer sea.

O Genevieve, sweet Genevieve!
The days may come, the days may go,
But still the hands of mem’ry weave
The blissful dreams of long ago.

2. Fair Genevieve, my early love,
The years but make thee dearer far!
My heart shall never, never rove:
Thou art my only guiding star.
For me the past has no regret,
What e’er the years may bring to me;
I bless the hour when first we met
The hour that gave me love and thee!

The melancholic lyrics of this song were written by George Cooper who wrote this poem a short time after his wife died. Needing money, Cooper sold the poem to Henry Tucker who set the words to music. Later on, Cooper would produce the successful “Rose of Killarney” in 1876. Tucker composed “Weeping, Sad, and Lonely” with the alternate title “When This Cruel War is Over” around the same time. Due to the pessimism of Tucker’s “When This Cruel War is Over,” Union soldiers were forbidden to sing it.

This song was also included in Songs for the Rotary Club.

The Rotarian Dec 1945

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1. Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea;
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea;
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me,
While my little one, while pretty one sleeps.

2. Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest on mother’s breast,
Father will come to thee soon;
Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west,
Under the silver moon.
Sleep my little one, sleep my pretty one sleep.

In 1863, Joseph Barnby set this 1849 poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson to music. “Sweet and Low” has been set to music more than thirty times.

The lyrics picture a quiet evening perhaps by a window overlooking the sea, with the new moon above the rich glow of the sunset sky and distant ships approaching the shore. The scene is peaceful and quiet while the mother lulls the baby to sleep by the gentle lullaby of the song. Soldiers serving on the front would have remembered their childhood, home, and their own mothers.

Near the turn of the 20th century, a source reports that this song was played by brass instruments. Brass instruments have the versatility to express the soft tender passages and the loud passages as required by the song making them the perfect alternative to singing this piece.

The 1914 American silent short film, Sweet and Low, was based on this song and poem.

The Musical Times, Volume 33
The Grafonola in the Class Room: Graded Catalog of Educational Records

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In the evening when I sit alone a dreaming
Of days gone by love to me so dear,
There’s a picture that in fancy ‘oft appearing,
Brings back the time love when you were near;
It is then I wonder where you are my darling,
And if your heart to me is still the same,
For the sighing wind and nightingale a singing
Are breathing only your own sweet name.

Sweet Adeline,
My Adeline
At night,
Dear heart
For you I pine,
In all my dreams
Your fair face beams,
You’re the flower of my heart,
Sweet Adeline

First published in 1903, “You’re the Flower of My Heart, Sweet Adeline” is a ballad and best known as a barbershop standard. The lyrics were written by Richard Gerard and set to music by Harry Armstrong from a melody he had written in 1896. According to a 1928 newspaper article, Gerard was inspired to write the lyrics after meeting “a girl who worked at the music counter of a New York department store.” The song was initially entitled, “You’re the Flower of My Heart, Sweet Rosalie” but Gerard changed it to its present title after failing to find a willing publisher. The song was well received after it was published and The Haydn Quartet first performed the song in 1904.

America's Songs II: Songs from the 1890s to the Post-War Years by Michael Lasser

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I’m coming back to you, my Hula Lou,
Beside the sea at Waikiki,
You’ll play for me.
And once again you’ll sway my heart your way,
With your yaaka hula hickey dula tune.
I’m coming.

First sung by Al Jolson in his show Robinson Crusoe, Jr. in February 1916, this Hawaiian love song is a product of the cultural appropriation of Tin Pan Alley in response to the surge of interest in exoticism. Hawaiian music captured the imagination of the American public. Indeed, Edison Phonograph Monthly of July 1916, announced that “the biggest popular hits of this season are all Hawaiian songs.” Further, “You’ve made our poorest of families/Dance to your beautiful melodies/Our millionaires are playing ukuleles too….Up in Boston where they eat those beans/They know what Yacki Hula means.”

Hawaiian musicians developed a unique style of combining of their native music and instruments brought by European travelers. Charles Hiroshi Garret described in his book, Struggling to Define a Nation: American Music and the Twentieth Century, how Hawaiian music influenced the mainland through Broadway musicals such as The Bird of Paradise that featured “the weirdly sensuous music of the island people.” Popularization of Hawaiian music began with the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco where the Hawaiian delegation built a themed pavilion that “exceeded in beauty, interest, and educational value anything hitherto attempted by Hawaii.” The exposition featured the Royal Hawaiian Quartette led by steel guitarist George E.K. Awai. America’s encounter with Pacific exoticism seemed to parallel that of Debussy’s Javanese gamelan at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1889.

In an interview, Amy K. Stillman, an expert on Hawaiian songs, explains that during the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, “so many people saw it [the Royal Hawaiian Quartette], and they wanted to either buy a record, or buy a guitar and take lessons.” “That’s when Tin Pan Alley songwriters looked at this and saw money to be made, and started churning out all of these silly, nonsense songs.”


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Aloha oe,
Aloha oe,
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo
A fond embrace a hoi ae au
Until we meet again.

Farewell dear friend,
I love you so,
That to say goodbye brings grief no words can tell,
My love is yours for weal or woe,
Dear friend of mine farewell.

While “Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula” tells about a lover’s return to a beloved, “Aloha Oe” tells about a “farewell.” It is said that Queen Liliuokalani was inspired to write this song after witnessing James Boyd, a colonel from Honolulu, receive a lei and aloha from a young Hawaiian girl. There are numerous versions who the girl was but Helena G. Allen, author of The Betrayal of Liluokalani, Last Queen of Hawaii, claims that the girl was Liluokalani’s sister Princess Likelike.

While this song is about a separation of lovers, it may also be considered a lament for a lost country when Hawaii lost its independence in 1898 from the United States. This is often overlooked because Tin Pan Alley romanticized Hawaii as a romantic Eden as seen in the Hawaiian themed American compositions and often Hawaiian women were portrayed as amorously inclined to foreign visitors.

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“Madelon” first graced the Parisian café concerts in early 1914 and from the lyrics, it seemed that the intended audience for this song was primarily for soldiers.

In the first three verses, soldiers tell of a nice young waitress serving them wine in a tavern. They always think of her while remembering their sweethearts back home. Soldiers on the frontlines criticized the nationalistic military songs that their military leaders wanted them to sing as propaganda. Although these love songs were not popular at first, "Madelon” became popular among French troops in 1916 and it became a hit in Paris the following summer and fall of 1917. Civilian audiences enjoyed “Madelon” and were able to identify with the mindset of a relic from a pre-World War I peacetime army. During a critical time in the war, the beloved waitress’ choice of placing her heart with the regiment rather than a single person such as marriage, suggests patriotic devotion and feminine independence. While the lyrics may initially have sensuous references, a closer look reveals that the lyrics contain patriotic overtones.

Over the years, “Madelon” inspired numerous parodies that remained with the public as the symbol of lightheartedness during the hardships of the war.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (78)


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1. Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

2. Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

3. I need Thy presence ev’ry passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord abide with me.

4. I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

5. Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

A Christian hymn based on Luke 24:29 of the Bible, "Abide With Me" was composed and set to music by Scottish Anglican cleric Henry Francis Lyte. However, it is often sung to the melody of William Henry Monk’s “Eventide.” The hymn was popular in many Christian denominations and was said to be a favorite of King George V, the king of England during World War I. The song was also often used in funerals.

It is said that “Abide with Me” was very popular with soldiers serving in the trenches during the war and was sung by the British nurse Edith Cavell the night before Germans executed her for helping British soldiers escape occupied Belgium. While the words speak of comfort and consolation, the soldier singing this song implores God for help and protection against the horrors of trench warfare. Were soldiers really comforted with these words? Only faith can tell.

Trevor Beeson: In Tuneful Accord: The Church Musicians, SCM Press 2009, p. 37.

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1. Come, Thou Almighty King.
Help us Thy name to sing,
Help us to praise!
Father all glorious,
O’er all victorious,
Come and reign over us,
Ancient of days!

2. Come, Thou Incarnate Word,
Gird on Thy mighty sword,
Our prayer attend!
Come, and Thy people bless,
And give Thy word success:
Spirit of holiness,
On us descend!

3. Come, Holy Comforter,
Thy sacred witness bear,
In this glad hour!
Thou, Who almighty art,
Now rule in ev’ry heart,
And ne’er from us depart,
Spirit of pow’r!

“Come, Thou Almighty King” remains a favorite with Methodists. Often attributed to Charles Wesley, the song was first sung with the same melody of the British national anthem, “God Save the King.” However, it was later set to the “Italian Hymn” by Felice de Giardini.

Following the idea of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, this song seems to consolidate this idea by letting each verse describe the role of the Trinity while focusing on the Christian’s desire for God’s might and power to reign over His people. But further inspection reveals something interesting.

The first verse describes the “almighty King” that references God the Father. The second verse references the “incarnate Word” which is another name for Jesus Christ, the Son. The third verse tells of the “holy Comforter” which can be associated with the Holy Spirit as seen in John 14:26 of the Bible. However, the songbook omits the fourth verse which consolidates all Three Persons of the Trinity:

To Thee, great One in Three,
Eternal praises be
Hence evermore.
Thy sov’reign majesty
May we in glory see,
And to eternity
Love and adore.

Could this have been a deliberate omission by the CTCA who designed this book?

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1. Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

2. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

“Holy, holy, holy” is another song that references the Trinity and has been specifically written for use on Trinity Sunday. Written by the Anglican Bishop, Reginald Heber, the song would be set to music later on by John Bacchus Dykes who composed the tune Nicaea for this hymn in 1861. Nicaea paid tribute to the First Council of Nicaea which formalized the doctrine of the Trinity in 325 A.D.

During the war, numerous hymn tunes including “Holy, holy, holy” were parodied by soldiers to express discontent. This may indicate that hymn tunes were very popular during that time. Soldiers transformed this hymn into:

Raining, raining, raining,
Always bloody well raining.
Raining in the morning,
And raining in the night.

Marching, marching, marching,
Always bloody well marching;
Marching all the morning
And marching all the night.

Grousing, grousing, grousing
Always bloody well grousing
Grousing at the rations,
And grousing at the pay.

Marching, marching, marching
Always bloody well marching,
When the war is over,
We’ll damn well march no more.

Daily Telegraph Book of Hymns by Ian Bradley

The Annotated Army Song Book Part 8

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1. How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in his excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled,
You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

2. Fear not, I am with thee; O, be not dismayed!
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand. Amen.

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1. Nearer, my God to Thee,
Nearer to Thee,
E’en tho’ it be a cross
That raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee
Nearer to Thee. Amen

2. Through like a wanderer,
Weary and lone,
Darkness comes over me,
My rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God to Thee,
Nearer to Thee. Amen

3. Or if on joyful wing,
Cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon and stars forgot.
Upward I fly;
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee. Amen

A popular 19th-century Christian hymn written by Sarah Flower Adams, "Nearer, My God, to Thee" recounts the story of Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28:11-12. Although sung to the hymn tune “Horbury” in the United Kingdom, Americans usually associate this hymn to 1856 tune “Bethany” by Lowell Mason. Some Methodists also prefer setting the text to “Propior Deo” written by Gilbert and Sullivan in 1872. This hymn continues to be popular in the Methodist Church and is included in the United Methodist Hymnal.

“Nearer, My God, to Thee” is also associated with the sinking of the Titanic. As the vessel sank, survivors reported that the ship’s music ensemble continued playing and chose this hymn as their last piece while attempting to calm down the panic-stricken passengers. It is said that the ensemble chose this hymn because it was one that appealed to all. This hymn was also sung on the battlefield by the retreating Confederate soldiers during Pickett’s Charge in the Civil War.

Bradley, Ian. (2005). Daily Telegraph book of hymns, London: Bloomsbury Academic, p. 294 (2006 paperback ed.)
Turner, Steve (2011). The Band that Played On. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson., p. 194

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1. O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home:

2. Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

3. Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

4. A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

5. Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

6. O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while life shall last,
And our eternal home. Amen

Published in 1719 as part of The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament, “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past” is a hymn by Isaac Watts that paraphrases the 90th Psalm of the Book of Psalms. It is often paired with the hymn tune “St. Anne” composed by William Croft in 1708.

Popular among British and Canadian soldiers, it is often sung as part of the Remembrance Day service in Canada as well as festive occasions in England. Its popularity led Baroque composers such as Handel and Bach and modern composers such as Sullivan and Ruggles to incorporate the melody in their own works.

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1. Onward Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before!
Christ, the royal Master,
Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
See, His banners go.

Onward, Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus,
Going on before.

2. Like a mighty army
Moves the Church of God:
Brothers, we are treading
Where the saints have trod;
We are not divided,
All one body we,
One in hope, in doctrine,
One in charity.

3. Crowns and thrones may perish,
Kingdoms rise and wane,
But the Church of Jesus
Constant will remain;
Gates of hell can never
‘Gainst that Church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise,
And that cannot fail.

4. Onward, then, ye people,
Join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices
In the triumph song;
Glory, land, and honor
Unto Christ the King!
This thro’ countless ages
Men and angels sing.

“Onward, Christian Soldiers” is an English hymn written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865 for children marching to one village to another in observance of Whitmonday. Arthur Sullivan composed the music in 1871 and initially named the tune “St. Gertrude” after composing the song in the home of his hostess, Gertrude Ker-Seymers. The hymn’s theme is based on 2 Timothy 2:3 that discusses the qualities of a soldier for Christ. First published in December, 1874, “Onward, Christian Soldiers" became Sullivan’s most popular hymn among his collection of seventy hymns. The Salvation Army adopted the hymn as its processional.

Later on, the hymn was used as a battle song for Roosevelt’s Progressive campaign in 1912, Billy Sunday's Tabernacle Meetings, and General Feng Yu-Hsiang’s Eleventh Division of Chinese Christian soldiers as they advanced on Peking in May 1922.

While this Christian hymn contains lyrics contrary to its teachings, song leaders may have used this hymn to remind soldiers that Scripture itself contained plenty of warfare imagery such as the Armor of God in the Book of Timothy. Both church and state exhorted Christians to view their duty to the state as a fight for the faith. This idea runs parallel to the concept of leading a crusade for democracy.


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1. Rise, crown’d with light, imperial Salem, rise
Exalt thy towering head and lift thine eyes!
See heaven its sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a flood of day.

2. See a long race thy spacious courts adorn:
See future sons, and daughters yet unborn,
In crowding ranks on every side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies.

3. See barbarous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend:
See thy bright altars thronged with prostrate kings,
While every land its joyous its joyous tribute brings.

4. The seas shall waste, the skies to smoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountain melt away;
But fixed His word, His saving power remains
Thy realms shall last, thy own Messiah reigns. Amen

Alexander Pope wrote the words for “Rise, Crowned with Light, Imperial Salem, Rise” based on Isaiah 60:1 as part of his longer poem “Messiah.” The words were later set to the well-known "Russian Hymn" by Alexei Lvov. This hymn was popular during the war and was also included in several school and Christian hymn books.

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“The Song of God Goes Forth to War” is a hymn written by Reginald Heber in 1812 based on Zecharaiah 14:3. It is often sung to Henry Stephen Cutler’s 1872 melody “All Saints New.” The hymn was popular near the turn of the 20th century.

The English writer, Juliana Horatia Ewing, writes in her book Story of a Short Life, that the hymn was a favorite in the barracks and soldiers later called it a “tug of war” hymn. In John Telford’s book, he gives an explanation for why this hymn was called a “tug of war.” “The officer’s son, who had been crippled for life by an accident, begs just before his death that the soldiers sing it again. They go under his window, and when in the midst of the verse, ‘A noble army, men and boys,’ a hand is seen at the window pulling down the blind. The brave sufferer is gone. The story made the hymn widely popular among children as the ‘tug of war’ hymn.”

The reference to the Christian soldier would have reminded American soldiers about John Bunyan’s allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, a staple in American classrooms in the early 20th century. In the story, Christian, the protagonist, is armed with Piety, Prudence, Charity, and all necessary weapons to defeat the devil. Young soldiers serving on the front would have been familiar with this story.

Telford, John. The Methodist Hymn-Book Illustrated, fourth edition. London: William Clowes and Sons, Limited, 1924. P. 410
The Cambridge Companion to War Writing

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1. Eternal Father! strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep:
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

2. O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hush’d their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

3. Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood,
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.

4. O Trinity of love and pow’r!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go,
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee,
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea. Amen.

This hymn is traditionally associated with seafarers. It was first adopted by the British maritime armed services and later followed by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and the French navy in the late 19th century. The author, William Whiting was inspired to write this poem by envisioning the dangers of sea travel in Psalm 107. Whiting grew up near the sea and survived a violent storm at sea that almost wrecked the ship that he was traveling on. As a result, Whiting wrote this hymn to “anchor his faith.” Perhaps soldiers on land also felt this “anchor” to their faith while they endure the harsh conditions in the trenches and sailors would have tried to comfort themselves with this hymn. In 1861, another English clergyman, John B. Dykes who originally wrote the music as “Melita” (ancient name for the island of Malta), set the words to music.

The verses again reference the Trinity ideology. The first verse refers to God the Father forbidding the waters to flood the earth as in Psalm 104. The second verse refers to Jesus’ miracles of calming the storm in the Sea of Galilee. The third verse references the Holy Spirit’s role in creating the world as described in Genesis. The final verse refers back to Psalm 107 and unites the Trinity.

In 1879, the hymn was adopted by the U.S. Navy for use in worship services and benedictions. Lieutenant Commander Charles Jackson Train, a navigation instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and master of the Midshipman Choir began the practice of singing the hymn every Sunday after Divine Services. This practice eventually became a tradition in the academy and became later known as the Navy Hymn. The hymn has also been used in funeral services of naval service members.

"Eternal Father, Strong to Save". Center for Church Music.

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (89)


1. I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine
Can peace afford.

I need Thee, O I need Thee,
Ev’ry hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee! Amen.

2. I need Thee ev’ry hour;
Stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r
When Thou art nigh.

3. I need Thee ev’ry hour;
In joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide.
Or life is vain.

4. I need Thee ev’ry hour;
Teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises
In me fulfil.

5. I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed.
Thou blessed Son!

This hymn by Annie Sherwood Hawks portrays an intimate dialogue between the singer and the Savior. Robert Lowry, Hawk's pastor at Hanson Place Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, encouraged her to pursue her talent in poetry. Lowry added a refrain when Hawks finished setting the hymn to music.

Hawks’ personal account recounts how she composed this hymn. She writes, "One day as a young wife and mother of 37 years of age, I was busy with my regular household tasks during a bright June morning [in 1872]. Suddenly, I became so filled with the sense of nearness to the Master that, wondering how one could live without Him, either in joy or pain, these words were ushered into my mind, the thought at once taking full possession of me -- 'I Need Thee Every Hour. . . .'"


“The Annotated Army Song Book” (90)


1. Lead, kindly Light, amid th’en circling gloom,
Lead Thou me on:
The night is dark and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet! I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

2. I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garnish day; and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

3. So long Thy pow’r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile. Amen.

Written in 1833 by John Henry Newman as a poem entitled, “The Pillar and the Cloud,” this hymn is based on Exodus 13:21-22 and usually sung to the melody of “Lux Benigna” composed by John Bacchus Dykes in 1865. Newman recalls in his memoir how he began composing this hymn while suffering from fever and homesickness during his travels in the Mediterranean.

“Before starting from my inn, I sat down on my bed and began to sob bitterly. My servant, who had acted as my nurse, asked what ailed me. I could only answer, 'I have a work to do in England.' I was aching to get home, yet for want of a vessel I was kept at Palermo for three weeks. I began to visit the churches, and they calmed my impatience, though I did not attend any services. At last I got off in an orange boat, bound for Marseilles. We were becalmed for whole week in the Straits of Bonifacio, and it was there that I wrote the lines, Lead, Kindly Light, which have since become so well known.”

The hymn seeks comfort and guidance from God. It was an anthem of comfort for the British soldiers in World War I and their goal was to create a feeling of renewed hope after calling upon God for strength.

Characteristics from the Writings of John Henry Newman: Being Selections ...
By John Henry Newman p. 26

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (91)


1. Rock of Ages, cleft for me!
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy side, a healing flood
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath, and make me pure.

2. Should my tears for ever flow,
Should my zeal no languor know,
All for sin could not atone,
Thou must save, and Thou alone;
In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to Thy Cross I cling.

3. While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyelids close in death.
When I rise to worlds unknown.
And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee. Amen.

A popular Christian hymn by Rev. Augustus Toplady, “Rock of Ages” was written in 1763 with its first publication in The Gospel Magazine in 1775. The hymn is most typically set to Thomas Hastings’ “Toplady” in the United States and Richard Redhead’s “Redhead 76” in the United Kingdom.

Although Reverend Toplady was a Calvinist, the words “Be of sin the double cure, Save from wrath, and make me pure” subscribes to the Methodist teaching that taught “double cure” - the idea where a sinner is saved by the atonement of Christ, and cleansed from sin by the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Including a hymn in the songbook that explicitly describes a Methodist teaching seems to run parallel to the underlying theme of Methodist hymns in the Army Songbook.

The “Rock of Ages” refers to Christ. The word play in the first verse compares a smitten rock with the word cleft, a reference to Moses splitting the rock in the Sinai Desert to provide water for the Israelites, and Jesus’ smitten body, a reference to how Jesus’ body was broken for His people’s sins. Both references point to the idea of salvation or relief from hardships, elements the soldiers would have been more than happy to have.

The hymn was very popular during World War I. In one of the British soldier’s memoir, he recalls that

There was no necessity to have an accompaniment, for everybody knew the tunes. Once or twice a band was present, and now and then a small harmonium was used, but as a rule the hymns were sung unaccompanied, except by the thunder of the guns.

Maas, Johannes, "Comments on lyrics"
True Stories of World War 1, Complete: The World War

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (92)


1. All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.

2. Sinners, whose love can ne’er forget
The wormwood and the gall,
Go, spread your trophies at His feet,
And crown Him Lord of all!
Go spread your trophies at His feet,
And crown Him Lord of all.

3. Let ev’ry kindred, ev’ry tribe,
Before Him prostrate fall!
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And crown Him Lord of all!
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And crown Him Lord of all. Amen.

Popular among many Christian denominations, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” is also known as the “National Anthem of Christendom.” Written by Edward Perronet while serving as a missionary in India, the lyrics first appeared in the November 1779 issue of the Gospel Magazine edited by Augustus Toplady. The lyrics were set to music by Oliver Holden in 1793 and named the melody “Coronation.” The Unitarian Church altered the hymn extensively to fit their doctrine and renamed it, “All Hail the Power of Truth to Save from Error’s Binding Thrall.” The numerous revisions of this hymn revealed the concept of freedom of worship which is central to American religious life.

On the day of the Armistice, November 11, 1918, the front page of the Roanoke Times read, “Peace on Earth” that prompted locals to turn their attention to celebrating the end of the war. There were public gatherings, prayer and thanksgiving services in Elmwood Park while ministers preached. The band, Hobbie Brothers, supplied the crowd with three thousand songbooks and the crowd sang hymns and patriotic songs. They then concluded their celebration by singing “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.”

Edward Perronet; Christian History Institute
Hidden History of Roanoke: Star City Stories
By Nelson Harris

“The Annotated Army Song Book” (2024)
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