Fight Songs: The Search for the American World War II Anthem and National Unity Through Song
Coffey, Thomas E., 1987-
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Initially, I had actually planned to do something different with my SIP. I started out with the idea of looking into the roots of American folk and blues music and throughout this past summer I was researching this topic. I had checked out a comprehensive book on the History of Music in the United States. I was just looking through it one day, and I came across a short section on American war music. I read it through and was intrigued by a passage mentioning a meeting of the Songwriters Protection Agency in the 1940's during WWII, whose president had gotten up and given a very concerned speech about the lack of a unifying, morale boosting war song. The solution was to urge or commission any songwriter for the purpose of writing this song. Two things struck me about this. This idea of a kind of mass production, industrial approach to songwriting or art in general, a kind of sweepstakes for American unity. I think for most, in at least some capacity, listening to music is an emotional experience and presumably creating it is as well. With that in mind, this very structured, mechanical approach to writing this potential song that would hopefully incite such strong emotions in the listener seemed odd to me. Second, what were these songs like and why hadn't WWII had its own notable, popular war song? So that was my jumping off point for this project and what follows is what it became.