Songs from the Home Front

I can still hear them

– they  provided the background of the era

by Bob Saulnier   b. 1928

Reflecting on the subject of the WWII home front and what we who were there remember most vividly, I suddenly realized that one of the features that meant so much to me was – the music – the many great songs that were produced by the dozen, played and sung by the “big bands” and vocalists – the milkman – the barber – and me. I seem to remember them all. They played a big part in boosting public morale, making the “war effort” more personal and acceptable; inspiring us to fight the enemy, and softening the pain of personal separations. Here are some of those that come to mind easily:

The war – the enemy – the effort:

“They started something – we’re gonna end it – right in their own backyard…”

“We did it before and we can do it again – and we will do it again….”

“The Victory Polka”

“Remember Pearl Harbor”

“Right in der Feuhrer’s Face”

“Goodby, Mama, I’m Off to Yokohama”

“There’ll be a Hot Time in Berlin”

“Any Bonds Today?”

“White Cliffs of Dover”

“Comin’ in on a Wing and a Prayer” (though there’s one motor gone, we can still carry on….”

“We’ll Fill the Air With Eagles (we’ll fill the clouds with men…)

“Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition”

“Private Roger Young” (fought and died for the men he marched among)

The boys — life in military:

“This is the Army, Mr. Jones (no private rooms or telephones…”

“Dear Mom (the weather today was cloudy and damp….miss you)

” I Have Your PIcture by my Bed…..”

“Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else But Me”

“Some Day I’m Gonna Murder the Bugler….

“Move it Over” (said the private to the sergeant, ‘ all the buttons on my coat are gone – said the sergeant to the private, ” I will sew them on….”

Home – personal – future:

“We’ll Meet Again (don’t know where, don’t know when…”

“Bell Bottom Trousers, Coat of Navy Blue”

“A Boy in Khaki, a GIrl in Lace”

“Three Little Sisters (one loved a a soldier, one loved a sailor and one loved a guy in the Marines)

“PS – I Love You”

“He Wears a Pair of Silver Wings”

“I Came Here to Talk for Joe”

“The Stage Door Canteen”

Others:

“Johnny Doughboy Found a Rose in Ireland”

“There’s a Star-spangled Banner Waving Somewhere” (crippled boy begging recruiter to take him)

“How’re You Gonna Keep ’em Happy Down on the Farm after they’ve seen Paree?”

………………..

These and other colorful, stimulating tunes ‘struck a note’ – even now, running the lyrics through my mind, the memories return… a ‘paperboy’ who delivered the war news door-to-door – and became a veteran of WW II, fresh from high school.

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