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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….

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