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Popular Songs of World War I

Posted by UCSB Library on April 5, 2007

In commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the American entry into
World War I (April 6, 1917) the UCSB Libraries have made available
online over 100 cylinder recordings of popular songs from the First
World War.

World War I resulted in the creation of a remarkably large body of
popular music devoted to wartime themes. Thousands of songs were written
about the war–some to boost soldier morale, others to mourn losses,
generate homefront support, or call for an end to the conflict. Songs
such as George M. Cohan’s “Over There” were hits in their day and are
still known by many people today.

The recordings are available for streaming and downloading on the
library’s Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project website
(http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/wwi.php). A streaming radio program
features 21 important songs of the era with accompanying commentary. A
list of print and online resources about popular song during World War I
is provided for further research.

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