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The Andrews Sisters and Popular World War II Music

The last of the Andrews Sister, Patty, died this week.  31andrews-trio-articleLargeHow iconic they and their music was and will continue to be!  Songs like “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen (Means That You’re Grand)” and, of course, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” are part of the panoply of the world’s music.  They also sang with Bing Crosby and his light baritone was jazzily accompanied by their energetic rhythms.  You can read the obituary of Patty here.


I like to think that their work in World War II, boosting morale, selling war bonds, entertaining troops overseas, also extends to their wearing uniforms.  I’m sure many a girl was inspired to join the forces:  “If the Andrews Sisters look so attractive in their smart uniforms, maybe I can.”

My mother writes about the one of the songs they were known for, a funny novelty song named “Mister Five By Five,” about a man who is five feet tall and five feet wide!  You can hear it here.

One of the poems of my mother, Joan Wehlen Morrison, was written about a year after the United States entered the war, in February 1943.  Joan references popular music, including some by the Andrews Sisters.  Read, listen, and enjoy!

….The songs that are trite to us now

May make us weep sometime because they bring back

Days that were when everything was yet to be done

And the world lay far below us—

Still to be ventured.

I don’t want to walk without you, baby” . . .

I left my heart at a stage-door canteen” . . .

This is worth fighting for. . . .”

We may even cry because we remember

That “Mr. Five by Five” made us smile once

And the “Strip Polka” will seem quaint and old-fashioned….

6 responses »

  1. mishmish3000

    My parents both served during WW2, in the Navy. Mom loved to sing and I can still remember her singing many Andrews Sisters’ songs. She always had music on the radio, or the stereo. Thanks for the blog–it brought back great memories.

  2. I’m so glad it brought back memories! The book is marketed for young adults, since my mom was a young adult when she wrote it–but older folks who lived through the war may have the same memories! So glad you like it!

    • mishmish3000

      I love reading about your Mom’s memories! I’ve been researching my Dad’s experiences during WW2––and have always treasured the stories both he and Mom told me about growing up then. You have an EXCELLENT blog, I must say!

      • That is amazing! Just read your dad’s story–and I love how he met your mom who was a WAVE! I will have an upcoming post on WAVES–I would love to hear her story too! 🙂

      • mishmish3000

        How neat! I’ll write something up soon and post it on my blog. Feel free to share. I’ve been very surprised at the number of folks my Dad served with in the Navy who have enjoyed my USS Thomas Stone entry. He did 6 years Navy, then 24 active duty Army, followed by 33 Army reserve years. Mom worked on the Navy’s first computer system in the WAVES and remembered meeting Admiral Grace Hopper.

  3. Please let me know when your post about your mom’s experiences are up and I can share them! How neat! Keep in touch!


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