In 1917 when President Wilson, a vaudeville fan, brought America into the Great War Tin Pan Alley, the New York song factory, was soon doing its duty, whipping up a patriotic zeal while conducting business as usual.
More songs were published during that brief war period than at any time before or since. The Alleymen both propagandized and humanized this War To End All Wars.
Rallied by a government intent on a unified republic (where no question would be asked), the newish music industry contributed pell-mell, covering every aspect of the conflict both at home and at the front. Mostly the song product was politically correct ("Let's All Be Americans Now") but sometimes the Alleymen went too far ("I Don't Want To Get Well--I'm in Love With A Beautiful Nurse"). To create a patriotic spirit the government sent song leaders around the country armed with approved material. Even so, the songwriters generally viewed the war as one big vaudeville show.
The legacy of this flood of music is a library whose hits throw light on the average American's feelings at the time, albeit through the prism of a mass-marketing business. There are songs that have lasted-- from the romantic "Till We Meet Again" to the comically sociological "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm?". And, of course, Sergeant Irving Berlin tried out "God Bless America" in his All-Soldier revue. Dropped from the show the patriotic ballad would find a sympathetic market two decades later when European war clouds again gathered.
| ||The War In Snider's Grocery Store|
| ||They're Wearing 'Em Higher In Hawaii|
(1916) Joe Goodwin (w) Halsey Mohr (m)
| ||Over There|
(1917) Louis Delamarre (fr) (w) George M. Cohan (w/m)
| ||We Don’t Want The Bacon (What We Want Is A Piece Of The Rhine)|
(1918) Jimmy Havens, "Kid" Howard Carr, Harry Russell (w/m)
| ||When Alexander Takes His Ragtime Band To France|
(1918) Edgar Leslie, Alfred Bryan, Cliff Hess (w/m)