Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

Popular Song Goes to War

A look at the music of World War II, featuring topical songs, radio broadcasts, and an interview with historian Michael McGerr.

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Songs That Got Us Through World War II

Photo: CD cover

World War II inspired songs about everything from the draft to rationing.

On this edition of Afterglow we’ll be playing songs from the World War II, talking with cultural historian Michael McGerr, and hearing a few newscasts and radio spots from the wartime years as well. Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Johnny Mercer, Dinah Shore, Peggy Lee, and Gene Krupa with Anita O’Day are some of the featured performers.

Music Heard On This Episode

There Are Yanks
Glenn Miller AAF — G.I. Jukebox (Hindsight Records, 1944)
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There Are Yanks
Glenn Miller AAF — G.I. Jukebox (Hindsight Records, 1944)
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Gone With the Draft
Nat King Cole — Hit That Jive, Jack (Decca, 1940)
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He's 1-A in the Army and He's A-1 In My Heart
Helen Forrest/Harry James — Complete Helen Forrest With Harry James (Sony Music, 1941)
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Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
Andrews Sisters — Songs That Got Us Through World War II (Rhino, 1941)
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Remember Pearl Harbor
Sammy Kaye — Wartime Anthems (Direct Source, 1942)
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Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition
Kay Kyser — Best of Kay Kyser and His Orchestra (Sony Music, 1942)
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He Wears a Pair of Silver Wings
Dinah Shore — The Victory Collection (RCA/BMG, 1942)
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That's What the Well-Dressed Man in Harlem Will Wear
Fats Waller — The Victory Collection (RCA/BMG, 1942)

Notes: Irving Berlin song from THIS IS THE ARMY.

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Harlem on Parade
Gene Krupa/Anita O'Day — Let Me Off Uptown! (Columbia/Legacy, 1942)
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A Slip of the Lip
Duke Ellington — Big Band Jazz: the Jubilee Sessions (Hindsight, 1944)

Notes: Live broadcast with Ray Nance on vocals.

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Wartime Blues
Jazz Gillum — The Victory Collection (RCA/BMG, 1941)
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That Russian Winter
Ray McKinley — Freddie Slack Mosaic Select (Mosaic, 1942)

Notes: Irving Berlin song.

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Stalin Wasn't Stallin'
Golden Gate Quartet — Testify! The Gospel Box (Rhino, 1943)
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Jukebox Saturday Night
Glenn Miller — Glenn Miller: a Legendary Performer (Bluebird/RCA, 1942)

Notes: Live broadcast with Harry James on trumpet.

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The Song Is You
Tommy Dorsey/Frank Sinatra — Sentimental Gentleman of Swing (Sony/BMG, 1942)

Notes: Sinatra's farewell broadcast with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra.

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G.I. Jive
Johnny Mercer — Capitol Collectors Series (Capitol, 1943)
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They're Either Too Young or Too Old
Jimmy Dorsey/Kitty Kallen — 1942-43 Broadcasts (Soundcraft, 1943)

Notes: Frank Loesser song.

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You Can't Get That No More
Louis Jordan — Let the Good Times Roll (Bear Family, 1944)
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Convoy
Sam Donahue — Convoy--1945--V. 1 (Hep, 1945)

Notes: V-Disc recording.

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In Times Like These
Harry James — Harry James & His Orchestra (Jazz Hour, 1944)

Notes: Kitty Kallen on vocals. Broadcast interrupted by news that the Allies had begun the D-Day invasion.

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There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town of Berlin Tonight
Woody Herman — G.I. Jukebox (Hindsight, 1944)

Notes: Woody Herman on vocals.

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Accentuate the Positive
Bing Crosby/the Andrews Sisters — Legendary Years 1931-1957 (MCA, 1945)

Notes: Johnny Mercer-Harold Arlen song.

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Long Ago and Far Away
Bing Crosby/Glenn Miller AAF — Bing Crosby With Glenn Miller and the American Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces Orchestra
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I'll Walk Alone
Martha Tilton — The Liltin' Miss Tilton (Collectors' Choice Music, 1944)
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Saturday Night (is the Loneliest Night in the Week)
Frank Sinatra — Portrait of Sinatra (Columbia/Legacy, 1944)
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bond promo
Duke Ellington — Treasury Shows V. 10 (D.E.T.S., 1945)
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I Wonder
Louis Armstrong — Songs That Got Us Through World War II (Rhino, 1945)
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Waiting for the Train to Come In
Peggy Lee — The Singles Collection (Capitol, 1945)
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It's Been a Long, Long Time
Harry James/Kitty Kallen — Songs That Got Us Through World War II (Rhino, 1945)
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I'll Be Seeing You
Tommy Dorsey & the Sentimentalists — G.I. Jukebox (Hindsight, 1944)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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