Music

Musical Propaganda

A pamphlet sold on the home front for 25 cents with sheet music and lyrics for the song "Hitler on the Run!" by Neil MacDonald.

The grandest war song ever written

The fortunes of Britain's war effort were low when this song was published in 1941, and they would get lower the following year - no matter how proud the world was of England.

"They fly, they sing, as they rise on the wing"

This song probably reached Canadian stores during the Battle of Britain in 1940, when the defence of the British Isles from German bombing attacks fell to fighter pilots from Britain and the Empire.

V for Victory

"Dot dot dot dash" became one of the most recognizable identifiers of the Allied war effort, and could be found on countless kinds of consumer goods - including sheet music.

From a mother to her son

In its sentiment and language, this sheet music could easily have come from the First World War - only the faint image of the tank on the cover places it in the Second World War.

"Hitler - you'll feel much littler"

This song version of the famous military march "Colonel Bogey" was recorded by the Happy Gang, one of the most popular entertainment acts in Second World War Canada.

View PDF: Good Luck.pdf

"We're off to finish Hitler"

Although it was probably written in 1939, this song, with its professed joy at the coming of war, sounds more like 1914.

View PDF: For Freedom.pdf

Music of the Cape Breton Highlanders

This collection of specialty pieces and old favourites includes songs in two languages - English and Gaelic.

Singing on the road to war

This songbook, donated to soldiers by a Hamilton, Ontario, businessman, including selections ranging from "Eternal Father, Strong to Save" to "Stop Yer Tickling, Jock."

Music of the New World

Broadcast on the CBC from 17 August to 5 October 1944, this weekly program highlighted the work of Canadian composers such as Healey Willan, J.J. Weinzweig, J.J. Gagnier, and Alexander Brott.

"Smiles will never be rationed"

The Happy Gang was one of the most popular entertainment groups of the 1940s, and considered its material to be ammunition for the "'second front' at home, the Fun Front."

View PDF: Happy Gang.pdf

How to listen to a military band

University professor John Daniel Logan offered a critical appraisal of the brass band of the 85th Battalion, surely the only First World War military band to receive such scholarly attention.

View PDF: 85th Bn band.pdf

Dominion Day in Ontario

This souvenir postcard included alternate Canadian lyrics to British standards, in honour of Canada's founding day.

Soldiers' Songs

This collection of songs for soldiers includes words and accompaniment.

Canadian Soldiers' Song Book

This collection of soldier's songs from the Y.M.C.A. provides the words for national anthems, local songs of regions from Scotland to Hawaii, and religious songs.

Patriotic Songs

A typical combination of song sheet and recruiting pamphlet, this leaflet included traditional anthems and hymns for which new lyrics had been written.

To the RCAF

The romance of flying was the central theme of this 1940 composition that was billed as "Canada's Air Song."

View PDF: Climbin' High.pdf

"God save our men"

With some careful re-wording, the British national anthem "God Save the King" was turned into a tribute to men at war.

"The power of the military band"

Community bands enjoyed a high profile during the First World War, in part through their support of battalion and regimental bands, which provided musical entertainment throughout the war years. This magazine also included notes from musicians in uniform, details of the latest patriotic tunes, and reflections on the value of music in a democratic society.

View PDF: Cdn Bandsman.pdf

A Canadian March Song

This very early patriotic song began with a stirring reference to bugle calls "from Niagara Falls to the coast of Halifax."

View PDF: Soldier Lad.pdf

Pages