Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Close-up Of Break The News To Mother

This is a close up view of the photo and drum on the cover.

Break The News To Mother

If Overthere was the #1 Song of World War I, "Break the News to Mother" was #2.
The publisher placed this note on the cover of the music:
This song was originally published in 1897 during the Spanish American War, when it was virtually taken up and sung by the entire nation.
The Author and Composer Mr Chas K Harris who is also Author of the world’s famous song "After the Ball", since the outbreak of the present war, has been beseiged by requests for copies of this one-time famous song, the human heart-appeal of which has kept it alive for these any years.
In response to this appeal he has issued the new edition.
The song remains unchanged with the exception of the title page and will undoubtedly take its place as an immortal classic with such song as "Home Sweet Home" and "The Vacant Chair."

Don't Forget The Lyrics

While the shot and shell were screaming upon the battle field
The boys in blue were fighting their noble flag to shield.
Came a cry from the brave Captain ""Look boys! Our flag is down;
Who’ll volunteer to save it from disgrace?
" I will, a young voice shouted, I’ll bring it back or die,"
Then sprang into the thickest of the fray;
Saved the flag but gave his young life
All for his country’s sake,
They brought him back and softly heard him say..

Chorus: Just break the news to mother
She knows how dear I love her
And tell her not to wait for me
For I’m not coming home;
Just say there is no other
Can take the place of mother,
Then kiss her dear sweet lips for me
And break the news to her.

From afar a noted Gen’ral had witnessed this brave deed,
Who saved our flag/ speak up lads,
Twas noble, brave indeed.
There he lies Sir said the Captain,
He’s sinking very fast,
Then slowly turned away to hide a tear.
The gen’ral in a moment,
Knelt down beside the boy,
Then gave a cry that touched the hearts that day;
It’s my son, my brave young hero, I thought you safe at home.
"Forgive me father for I ran away."

Chorus: Just break the news to mother,
She knows how dear I love her
And Tell her not to wait for me
For I’m not coming home;
Just say there is no other
Can take the place of mother,
Then kiss her dear sweet lips for me
And break the news to her.

America, Here's My Boy

America, Here's My Boy

Here is a song that is just the opposite of the previous song. A song with lyrics that indicates that a mother's willingness to give her son to the cause of war.

Don't Forget The Lyrics

There’s a million mothers knocking at the nations door,
A million mothers yes and there’ll be millions more,
And while within each mother heart they pray---
Just hark what one brave mother has to say

Chorus: America, I raised a boy for you,
America, You’ll find him staunch and true,
Place a gun up on his shoulder,
He is ready to die or do
America, he is my only one;
My hope my pride and joy,
But if I had another, he would march beside his brother;
America, Here’s my boy.

There’s a million mothers waiting by the fireside bright,
A million mothers, waiting for the call tonight.
And while within each heart there’ll be a tear,
She’ll watch her boy go marching with a cheer.

I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier

A Protest Song

In the 1970’s we would have called this a "war protest song". It was meant to appeal to the millions of mothers who didn’t want to see their sons go to war. And, as the war progresses there are numerous songs meant to appeal to the support of women (mothers) for the war. We have to wonder, why the emphasis on the support of women? Or, was it just a marketing ploy targeting women because they were more likely to be the consumers of sheet music?
It’s good to remember that while this war-era music was often used to sway the political climate of the day, it’s real purpose was to make money. Music was then, and still is, an industry. Yes, singers and musicians will call themselves "artists", but the bottom line is money. And, song writers will write what people will buy. This song had a strong appeal to the anti-war crowd. Notice the illustration, a mother clutching her son while dreams of war swirl in her head.

Don't Forget the Lyrics

Ten million soldiers to the war have gone,
Who may never return again
Ten milllion mothers hearts must break
For the ones who died in vain.
Head bowed down in sorrow in her lonely years I hear a mother mumur thro’ the tears:

Chorus: I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier,
I brought him up to be my pride and joy
Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder
To shoot some other mother’s boy?
Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,
It’s time to lay the sword and gun away
There’d be no war today,
If mothers all would say, " I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.

What victory can cheer a mother’s heart
When she looks at her blighted home?
What victory can bring her back
All she cared to call her own.
Let each mother answer In the years to be,
Remember that my boy belongs to me!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wake Up America!

This song was written in 1916, one year before America entered World War I. It is a strong pro-war song. The illustration on the cover is a great depiction of how the country must get ready for war. We see Uncle Sam putting ships, submarines and supplies out to sea. Canons are being prepared. The airplane was invented 8 years ago, and yet it is already conceived as a weapon of war. Soldiers are marching, commanders are on horseback. This song was meant as a rallying cry. Read the lyrics and you will see that the lyrics try to shame people for not supporting the war, and not remembering the sacrifices of our forefathers.

Don't Forget the Lyrics
Have we forgotten America__ The battles our fathers fought?
Are we ashamed of our history___In the peace that fighting brought?
Must we be laughed at America__while our swords turn weak with rust?
Is the blood of our fathers wasted__And how have we treated their trust?
Is Columbia the Gem of the Ocean?__Is Old Glory the pride of the Free?
Let's forget every selfish emotion,__United let's forever be!
Wake up, America
If we are called to war,
Are we prepared to give our lives
For our swethearts and our wives?
Are our mothers and our homes worth fighting for?
Let us pray, God, for peace, but peace with honor,
But let's get ready to answer duty's call,
So when Old Glory stands unfurled, Let it mean to all the worldd, America is ready, that's all!
Do you remember George Washington, __That winter at Valley Forge?
Jackson and Custer and Farragut, __ And Perry at Fort George
McKinley and Lincoln were fighting men, and the heroes our country knew
Simply crowd through our hist'ry pages__Just think what they've done all for you!
Made Columbia the Gem of the Ocean, made Old Glory the pride of the free,
Shall we fail in our test of devotion?__Oh! what is our history to be?

The Early Birds "Daddy's Land"

The Early Birds
"Daddy’s Land" – An Incident of the Great European War
World War I started in Europe in 1915. Of course at that time it was not called World War I because no one knew that it would be followed by another massive world-wide war. The war was often referred to as the "Great War" or the "Great European War." America did not enter the war until 1917. During the two years in-between, Americans were sharply divided, some were for the war, some were against it. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
There was a group of people who felt so strongly about helping the allies, (England, France & Italy), that they went off to war before America officially declared war. They joined the foreign armies against the evil Kaiser of Germany. These people were called the "Early Birds". "Daddy’s Land" is a song written in 1915, it pleads with people to join the fight to save "Daddy’s Land". This song was published two years before America declared war. The lyrics are filled with sentiment and a sense of duty for saving the land of our forefathers. It’s strong pro-war message appealed to many men who became the war’s "Early Birds".
The Early Bird phenomena is also evident in the famous novel by Ernest Hemingway "A Farewell To Arms". The main character of this novel was an Early Bird fighting as part of the Italian army.

Don't Forget The Lyrics

It's night in the trenches
The fighting is done
The battle is stopped for the day
There 'mongst the wounded is somebody's son
Who's life blood is ebbing away
The Captain's surprise as he knelt by his side
Was a story he heard from the lad
How he came away from his dear U. S. A
To fight for the land of his dad.
I fought for the land of my daddy
For Daddy fought for mine
When Lincoln called for volunteers
Why he was there in line
I've just one wish he whispered before the last command
May God help the United States
Bring peace to Daddy's land.
My dad left his birth place when only a boy
To fight for the land of the free
He fought with "Grant" said the lad with a sigh
Sherman he marched to the sea
Now I've done the same for his country and name
And its all that he'd me to do
Please tell them at home how I died here alone
And prayed for the Red, White and Blue.
I fought for the land of my daddy
For Daddy fought for mine
When Lincoln called for volunteers
Why he was there in line
I've just one wish he whispered
Before the last command
May God help my United States
Bring peace to Daddy's land.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Sweetheart Went Down With The Ship

The Titantic

In 1912 the great ocean liner "The Titantic" struck an iceberg in the Atlantic ocean and within a few hours over a thousand people perished in the icy waters because there were not enough lifeboats to accommodate all of the passengers and crew members. It was a great tragedy.
It was common in the early 1900's to write songs to commemorate the events of the day. This song was inspired by the loss of the Titantic and the people on board.
The man's photo on the cover is unidentified but is most likely the "plugger". A plugger was a professional singer that would take the song to music halls, saloons and social gathering places and sing the song. In other words...give it a plug. Pluggers were an important part of the music industry. Their photo was often included on the cover of the music. A popular singer could increase the sales of a particular song.

Gracie Allen's Platform

Gracie Allen For President!
Here is her platform!

Vote For Gracie

Vote For Gracie!

  • Heads up Sarah Palin!

  • Check this out Hillary Clinton!

  • Want to run for president?
Well the first thing that you need is a good campaign song. Take a lesson from a woman who has been there - done that....Gracie Allen!

Gracie Allen ran for president in 1940. She lost to a guy named Franklin Roosevelt. Well, things happen for a reason. But, no doubt about it, Gracie had the best campaign song.

Gracie Allen and George Burns had a weekly comedy radio show. One of their sponsors was "Hinds Honey and Almond Hand Lotion". Gracies's song promoted her as the best candidate because she had the softest hands. Everyone would want to shake her nice soft hands because she used Hinds Honey and Almond Hand Lotion. Check out her platform, it includes soft hands for everyone.

Don’t Forget the Lyrics!

Vote for Gracie… Vote for Gracie!…
She’s the best little skipper in the land…
Vote for Gracie… Vote for Gracie…
Won’t you please give this little girl a hand? (That’s me)
Even big politicians don’t know what to do…
Gracie doesn’t know either… But neither to you.
So vote for Gracie…To win the presidential racie…
A hundred million strong, That’s right you can’t go wrong …
Vote for Gracie, keep voting all day long.
Vote for Gracie!… Vote for Gracie!…
'Cause her hands are the softest in the land…
Vote for Gracie!… Vote for Gracie!….
'Cause she stands for a lotion that is grand…
Why don’t you be like Gracie? Be fair to yourself…
Keep Hinds Honey and Almond right there on the shelf…
No more chapped hands…Let’s get together now and clap hands…
And for a thrill that’s new… I’ll tell you what to do…
Vote for Gracie and she’ll shake hands with you.

Vote for Gracie!… Vote for Gracie!…
If the country’s goin Gracie so can you…
Vote for Gracie!…Vote for Gracie!…
Uncle Sam let me paddle your canoe…
I’m just like Joan of Arc, I hear destiny call…
It’s a call to the ball park to throw out the ball…
Vote for Gracie!…To win the presidential racie…
A hundred million strong…That’s right you can’t go wrong…
Vote for Gracie! (Isn’t this fun?) Keep voting all day long!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Yankee Bird

Yankee Bird was a musical piece written with no lyrics. It's main selling point was the illustration on its cover. The illustration is Wilbur Wright, one of the Wright brothers, flying in his "Flyer". This was 1908. In this era, it was common to recognise historical events by publishing a musical piece about the event. Notice in the illustration that the "Flyer" does not have wheels or tires. This invention of the Wright Brothers had runners like a sled. A track was laid on the ground and the runners placed in the track for take-off. No wonder their first flight was on the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, South Carolina. The sand helped to provide a soft landing for the Flyer.

Come Take A Trip On My Airship

"Come Take A Trip On My Airship" was published in 1903. Several years before man learned how to fly. The song expresses man's dream of flying and the romance associated with it. Before the days of real aviation, people dreamed of flying for the sheer joy of flying. They weren't trying to get from one destination to another. They just wanted to fly like the birds. The lyrics of this song invite a friend, lover perhaps, to come take a trip to the stars, to Jupiter and Mars.
This song has an enduring melody. In recent years it was used as the background music for a televison commercial produced by the GE Corporation.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Flight of the Airship

Imagine that you are living in the year 1900. You see birds fly. You would like to fly too. Airplanes have not been invented or designed. How would you fly? Attach wings to your body? Build a flying ship? What would it look like? How would it work? Where could it take you? To visit the moon? The stars?

"The AeroShip" is a musical piece with no lyrics but the cover of the sheet music illustrates a flying contraption that looks like an invention of Dr. Suess.....wings, balloons, a boat-like body, .....could it possibly get off the ground?
The key to understanding the significance of this piece of sheet music is knowing how to read the copyright years written in Roman numerals. this was copyrighted in 1903. Humankind is still in the dreaming stage of flying. This sheet music gives us an insightful glimpse of their dreams. These dreams of human flight are what eventually led to the invention of the airplane. If you can dream it, you can do it.
It would be a decade or more before the word "airplane" became part of our vocabulary. The Wright brothers (Orville & Wilbur) learned how to fly before the word "airplane" became part of the English language. Orville & Wilbur referred to their first invention as a "Flyer". At the time that this sheet music was published, the Wright Brothers' "Flyer" had not gotten off of the ground.
Thanks for your interest.

Scott Joplin - Maple Leaf Rag

Music became an industry when Scott Joplin composed and published the Maple Leaf Rag. This piece of sheet music sold over 1 million copies and gave birth to music as an industry. From piano rolls and sheet music to modern day ipod downloads, music has been an industry from the early 1900's. Music reflects the culture and history of our nation. The sheet music business was the primary source of musical sales in the early 1900's. It is a treasure chest of information about history and historical events. The purpose of this blog site is to highlight the historical sheet music the reflected the events of the first half of the 20th century....the birth of aviation, World War I and World War II. and disasters such as the sinking of the Titantic, and the very first female to run for President, did you know it was Gracie Allen. It's all in the music.

Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" was the spark that ignited the music industry. During the time of Scott Joplin music was recorded on piano rolls. These piano rolls still exist and they allow us to hear the music as it was played by the composer's own hands. If you ever have the opportunity to visit St. Louis, you can go to the Scott Joplin House on Delmar Ave. Here they have several piano rolls made by Scott Joplin, the rolls are inserted into the player the piano, you pump the pedals to make the rolls turn, the music starts playing and the keys are moving up & down and actually recreating the music as it was played by Scott Joplin himself. If you can't make it to St. Louis, you can go to YouTube. There is a posting there of a Scott Joplin piano roll playing the Maple Leaf Rag. This was posted in 2006 and it has over 1,057,443 hits. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMAtL7n_-rc