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Music as Propaganda in World War I

OVER-THERE copyAll year long, we’ve been commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. In the fall of 1914, battles were already raging in Europe, but the United States remained on the sidelines. Still, pressure was building for the nation to help its European allies. The federal government soon began formulating a plan to use the media to convince Americans that the country should get involved. KPR’s Tom Parkinson has this report on how popular music was used to sell Americans on the war.

Music scholar Michael Lasser will be presenting a program on American songs from the World War I era this Sunday, Oct. 12, at the Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch.


The Voices and Music of World War I

World War I Sheet Music Art

World War I Museum, Kansas City

World War I Centennial Commemoration at the Univerisity of Kansas


Songs Heard in This Story:

“I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier” - composed by Alfred Bryan and Al Piantadosi. Recorded by Morton Harvey. January, 1915.(Victor 17716)

America, Here's My Boy" - composed by Andrew B. Sterling and Arthur Lange. Recorded by the Peerless Quartet. May, 1917 (Columbia)

"Over There" - composed by George M. Cohan. Recorded by Billy Murray. July, 1917 (Edison Blue Amberol Cylinder)

“I’m Going to Follow the Boys" – composed by James Monaco and Howard Rogers in 1917. Contemporary version recorded by vocalist Ann Gibson & pianist Frederick Hodges in 2010. 

"K-K-K-Katy" - composed by Geoffrey O'Hara. Recorded by Billy Murray. August, 1918. (Edison Blue Amberol Cylinder 3498) 

“Tramp, Tramp, Tramp” - composed by George F. Root. Recorded by the
Knickerbocker Quartet. October, 1914 (Edison Blue Amberol Cylinder)

“How Ya Gonna Keep' em Down On The Farm (After They've Seen Paree?)” - composed by Walter Donaldson. Recorded by Arthur Fields, July 1919. (Victor 18537A)

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