Friday Five: World War I

Juli Thanki | June 6th, 2014

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, one of the most monumental events in history; but for this Friday Five, we’re going to go back a bit further in time: 2014 also marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Here are five songs that address the “war to end all wars.”

5. Jimmie Rodgers – “Soldier’s Sweetheart”

“Soldier’s Sweetheart,” the first song Rodgers recorded, is also one of his saddest.

 

4. Garth Brooks – “Belleau Wood”

This song from Brooks’ Sevens album, along with John McCutcheon’s “Christmas in the Trenches” and Collin Raye’s “It Could Happen Again” (featuring Johnny Cash), tells the story of the Christmas Truce of 1914.

3. Nora Bayes – “Over There”

The United States didn’t officially join the war until 1917, but the doughboys’ contributions were essential in assuring Allied victory. “Over There,” with its famous “the Yanks are coming” lyric, might be one of the most iconic songs to emerge from the Great War. (“It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” recorded by Gene Autry, Fiddlin’ John Carson, and many, many others, is another one.)

 

2. Slim Dusty – “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”

Aussie country singer Slim Dusty is one of several artists who’ve recorded this devastating song over the years.

 

1. Emmylou Harris & Linda Ronstadt – “1917”

David Olney wrote this heartbreaking song, which made even more devastating by Harris’ vocals as she sings, “They die in the trenches and they die in the air / In Belguim and France the dead are everywhere / They die so so fast there’s no time to prepare /A decent grave to surround them.”

  1. Barry Mazor
    June 6, 2014 at 10:12 am

    I would like to add to this fine lil list, “Belgium Put the Kaibosh on the Kaiser”–from the day:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckNsV4MP4nU

  2. bob
    June 6, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I remember “Over There” from watching the Cagney movie “Yankee Doodle Dandy” as a kid.

    Garth co-wrote his Christmas truce song, “Belleau Wood”, with the Joe Henry who wrote with John Denver in the 70’s, songs such as “Windsong” and “Shipmates and Cheyenne”.

  3. Jack WIlliams
    June 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Woods of Darney – Richard Thompson

  4. Dave D.
    June 6, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Robbie Fulks – Dancing on the Ashes

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