Monday, August 8, 2011

War Time Jamboree - Where's our National Pride?

I was looking through the old song charts from the early 1900's recently ( and I noticed that during World War 1 over half of the top hits were war songs,  like these, in 1917 when America declared war against Germany:

                                                                                                  Send me Away with a Smile -
                                                                                                   John McCormack
       Over There - Nora Bayes

During the Great Depression, they had Pennies From Heaven, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and They Can't Take That Away From Me.
When America joined the second World War in 1941, everything I've found was naturally more "Hollywood", but not any less patriotic:

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy -
                                                                                                    Andrews Sisters

Praise the Lord, Pass the Ammunition -
                                                                                                       Kay Kyser

Even during Vietnam during the greatest generation gap before or since, this was the first time Ive noticed that pop culture beat out traditional media, and also the first time anti-war songs were heavy in the charts.  Anti-war, but still about society at the time:

Buffalo Springfield - What its Worth

Ssgt Barry Sadler - Green Berets

Looking through the song charts for each year you can get a pretty decent handle of what was going on in the country, when America joined a war, when the economy wasn't doing so hot, same goes for film.  But then, and I'm looking right at a chart of top 100 songs from 1991 (Desert Storm), ( something had changed. Granted not the intensity of the previous 3, but a war none the less.  Not a single mention of conflict.  The only thing I can really gather looking at that list is that we were really horny.  Fast forward to the current war, the month after 9/11... nothing.  Whole year of 2002 . . . nothing.  2007, the US most massive insurgence yet . . . sex, drugs, loss of vocabulary as we know it, but nothing in the top charts about the war, the depression, the government take over...   I think maybe one or 2 one hit wonders came out as a shameless grab for publicity (oh Rascal Flatts, Im going to rip you a new one in the near future for that ridiculous Casey Anthony song),  a couple of rednecks singing about putting boots in asses, but no camaraderie, no chart toppers.. Where's the Bob Hope of my generation?  The Cohans? The Andrews Sisters?  Everyone wants to talk so much but seems no one is saying much of anything.  And every day more freedoms get ripped from us and more tax dollars leave my pocket...


  1. Great questions. patriotism in the younger generations seems to be "uncool"; not for the hipsters. Why sing and write about love of country when love of booty is so much more profitable. Look at the movies,what sells? G-Rated movies consistently outdraw more risque fare,but what gets all the awards? The garbage. keep asking though, maybe they'll get a hint. Great Column, something to think about.

  2. Thanks Mike! Hell, Im in my late 20's, i just dont understand where my generation and younger went wrong. Its a shame. Not to mention, all those great bands would never even have a chance today.

  3. To be self involved is to self destruct.