Tag Archives: jane hill
Some songs about the Great War
Something I thought would be good to share are some songs from/about the Frist World War that have affected me in one way or another.
The first song is “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye,” a song about an Irish veteran returning home from the home, missing both physical and spiritual parts of himself as he’s completely run down by the war. It ends on the theoreitcally optimistic note that, although he’s missing an arm, a leg, his innocence, and will likely be begging for food for the rest of his life; he still is alive, so that’s something.
The second song is a reading of “In Flanders Fields,” probably the most famous poem of the War. The poem itself probably needs no introduction, but here is a link to it regardless.
The third song is “Wo alle Straßen enden,” a song disputedly attributed in part to a German soldier in WWI, although I feel like it hits the feeling of utter hopelessness quite well. A very fitting song for All Quiet on the Western Front, as it describes this hopelessness from a German perspective with the knowledge of the impending losing of the war in mind.
The fourth song is “Green Fields of France,” a Scottish folksong written in the 1970’s about the narrator considering the grave of a soldier who died in 1916, and wondering if the soldier left anyone behind when he died or if he was properly honored. The narrator then starts wondering if the war was fought for anything at all.
The fifth and final song I wanted to share in this post is “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda,” and it’s one of my favorite songs about the war and a song that almost always make me cry. It’s a play on the classic ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) song Waltzing Matilda, a song played often in the ANZAC army bands and a marching song of the era. And the Band Played is hardly about the original subject matter of Waltzing Matilda, as And the Band Played focuses on the experience of an Australian Conscript sent to fight in the meatgrinder of a campaign known as Gallipoli. Eventually, this conscript return homes short a leg, with nobody to go home to and considers how pointless the whole war was. Waltzing Matilda is used to help the theme of being lied to by those in power to die in this war. To make it short, it’s a very good song.
I hope you all enjoy (or maybe that’s not the right word) these songs and get something out of them. I’d love to know y’alls thoughts on them!