Saturday, May 11, 2013

At the Music Hall: Roses of Picardy, 1916

Roses are shining in Picardy
In the hush of the silver dew
Roses are flowering in Picardy
But there's never a rose like you
And the roses will die with the summer time
And our roads may be far apart
But there's one rose that dies not in Picardy
'Tis the rose that I keep in my heart

Written by lyricist Frederick Weatherly, a military officer, and set to music by Haydn Wood in 1916, this popular ballad became a sentimental favorite during the Great War. British soldiers were known to sing the tune in unison as they embarked on their first voyages to France. The ballad was so beloved that even German soldiers had been recorded as singing it on their own way to France.

Some believe that the song was conceived after Weatherly developed an affection for a beautiful French widow in whose home he had sought sanctuary. So enduring was the song that it became a favorite swing number and has been recorded well into this century. 

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