Monday, November 11, 2013

At the Music Hall: Oh, It’s a Lovely War, 1917

Oh! Oh! Oh! it's a lovely war, 
Who wouldn't be a soldier eh? 
Oh! It's a shame to take the pay. 
As soon as reveille is gone 
We feel just as heavy as lead, 
But we never get up till the sergeant brings 
Our breakfast up to bed 
Oh! Oh! Oh! it's a lovely war, 
What do we want with eggs and ham 
When we've got plum and apple jam? 
Form fours! Right turn! 
How shall we spend the money we earn? 
Oh! Oh! Oh! it's a lovely war.

Written in 1917 by J.P. Long and Maurice Scott, “Oh, It’s a Lovely War,” was popularized during the First World War by male impersonator and music hall star Ella Shields. The song with it’s rousing and patriotic overtones was a humorous and effective means of raising moral during the grisly war and remained popular well into World War II.

The song has been featured in many musicals and films, not the least of which was the 1969 film, 
Oh, What a Lovely War which was based on the 1963 musical of the same name. “Oh, It’s a Lovely War’ was the centerpiece of Oh, What a Lovely War and served as a show-stopping number.

Here’s a clip of the song from the 1969 film. 


Java Bean Rush said...

I first heard it in STAR!, the Julie Andrews film about Gertrude Lawrence.

Joseph Crisalli said...

One of my favorites!