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God Bless America : Tin Pan Alley Goes to War - Kathleen E.R. Smith

God Bless America

Tin Pan Alley Goes to War


Published: 28th March 2003
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" After Pearl Harbor, Tin Pan Alley songwriters rushed to write the Great American War Song -- an "Over There" for World War II. The most popular songs, however, continued to be romantic ballads, escapist tunes, or novelty songs. To remedy the situation, the federal government created the National Wartime Music Committee, an advisory group of the Office of War Information (OWI), which outlined "proper" war songs, along with tips on how and what to write. The music business also formed its own Music War Committee to promote war songs. Neither group succeeded. The OWI hoped that Tin Pan Alley could be converted from manufacturing love songs to manufacturing war songs just as automobile plants had retooled to assemble planes and tanks. But the OWI failed to comprehend the large extent by which the war effort would be defined by advertisers and merchandisers. Selling merchandise was the first priority of Tin Pan Alley, and the OWI never swayed them from this course. Kathleen E.R. Smith concludes the government's fears of faltering morale did not materialize. Americans did not need such war songs as "Goodbye, Mama, I'm Off To Yokohama," "There Are No Wings On a Foxhole," or even "The Sun Will Soon Be Setting On The Land Of The Rising Sun" to convince them to support the war. The crusade for a "proper" war song was misguided from the beginning, and the music business, then and now, continues to make huge profits selling love -- not war -- songs.

-This fascinating history looks at how radio and the music business geared up for total war, and how the government unnecessarily invented a committee to solve a problem that didn't exist.- -- WTBF Radio

Prefacep. ix
What this Country Needs Is a Good Five-Cent War Song!p. 1
"Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition"p. 12
"There's Nary an 'Over There' in the Lot"p. 18
War Songs in Boy-Girl Termsp. 26
War Is Good for the Music Businessp. 39
"Yearnful Bellowings"p. 50
Recipes for War Songsp. 62
Just Love Songs with a Once-Over-Lightly War Backgroundp. 68
The National Wartime Music Committeep. 81
"From Cantata to Outright Corn"p. 96
Tin Pan Alley's Music War Committeep. 114
Tin Pan Alley Still Seeks the "Proper" War Songp. 128
Even Stale Music Sells Like Nylonsp. 143
Jitterbugs and Bobby-Soxersp. 153
"Meet Soozie Cue"p. 160
Notesp. 179
Bibliographyp. 201
Selected Discographyp. 225
Indexp. 255
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780813122564
ISBN-10: 0813122562
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 28th March 2003
Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.64