Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" is a song which became a major hit for The Andrews Sisters and an iconic World War II tune that was written for the Abbott & Costello comedy film, Buck Privates. It reached number six on the U.S. pop singles chart in early 1941. The song is ranked No. 6 on Songs of the Century. Bette Midler's 1972 recording of the song also reached the top ten on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
|"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"|
|Single by The Andrews Sisters|
|B-side||"Bounce Me, Brother, with a Solid Four"|
|Recorded||January 2, 1941|
|Studio||Decca, Hollywood, California|
|Songwriter(s)||Don Raye, Hughie Prince|
|The Andrews Sisters singles chronology|
Storyline of the songEdit
According to the lyrics, a renowned Chicago, Illinois, trumpet player is drafted into the U.S. Army but is reduced to blowing the wake up call (Reveille). Restrained from playing boogie-woogie, he was depressed until other musicians were drafted, after which the bugler played reveille in his own style, which had a positive effect on the rest of the company.
Abbott and Costello's first starring film for Universal pictures, "Buck Privates," was designed to capitalize on the recent Peacetime Draft. The studio added the Andrews Sisters, who were also under contract at the studio, for musical relief, and hired Don Raye and Hughie Prince to compose songs for the film. (The sisters also performed songs written by others in the film.) Raye and Prince had previously composed the hits “Rhumboogie” and “Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar” for the Andrews Sisters. The songwriters turned in "You're a Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," and "Bounce Me Brother, With a Solid Four," while also composing a novelty tune, "When Private Brown Becomes a Captain", for Lou Costello. "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" closely follows the template of "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar," which is about a famous syncopated piano player. However, in its earliest stages, the song was originally conceived for Lou Costello, but reworked for the Andrews Sisters, while a separate song was composed for the comedian.
People who claim to have inspired the songEdit
Articles published in Stars & Stripes on 19 March 1943, as well as Billboard Magazine and The Christian Science Monitor during World War II credit Clarence Zylman of Muskegon, Michigan, as the original Boogie Woogie Bugler. The lyrics in the song agree with several aspects of Zylman's life. Drafted at age 35, Clarence had been performing for 20 years, beginning with radio station WBBM in Chicago and moving on to several big bands, starting with Paul Specht and Connie Connaughton, and most recently with the Tommy Tucker Orchestra. He brought his playing style to England where he was a bugler for an engineer company, using his trumpet for Taps and Reveille, eventually being transferred to an army band. Articles in Billboard and The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) support this, including the fact that Clarence was sent to teach other buglers his techniques. However, Clarence Zylman did not enlist in the Army until June 9, 1942, and thus did not play his new style of Reveille until well after the "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" was written and recorded. A sculpture of Clarence Zylman as the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy has been dedicated in his hometown of Muskegon, Michigan, at the LST-393 Veterans Museum. The sculpture was created by artist Ari Norris.
Another claimant to the title—though he seldom mentioned it—would be Harry L. Gish, Jr. (1922–2005). At age 17, after a meteoric rise in the mid 1930s based out of the Ritz Hotel in Paducah, Kentucky, he ventured to New York City where he appeared (studio only) with the Will Bradley "All Star Orchestra" with highly regarded solos on the Raye-Prince songs "Celery Stalks at Midnight," "Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat," and "The Boogilly Woogilly Piggie." He also performed with the Olsen & Johnson (of Hellzapoppin' fame) band, Ray Anthony and was popular in the Plattsburgh, New York (Lake Placid) area before returning to Decca Records in Chicago. He also had a "summer replacement" radio show there for CBS from WBBM radio.
In the 1980s and 1990s, he honored many requests to play at services for veterans' funerals, and in 1995, in the character of The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (still able to fit in his World War II uniform: he enlisted in the Army Air Corps) he opened the combined service units (American Legion, VFW and others) celebration of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he opened with "Reveille" and closed the ceremony with "Taps."
Bette Midler versionEdit
|"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"|
|Single by Bette Midler|
|from the album The Divine Miss M|
|Genre||Traditional pop, vocal jazz|
|Songwriter(s)||Don Raye, Hughie Prince|
|Bette Midler singles chronology|
Bette Midler included the song on her 1972 The Divine Miss M album, and released it as the B side of the album's second single, "Delta Dawn." However, faced with the near-simultaneous release of Helen Reddy's version of the same song, the single was quickly flipped, with "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" becoming the new A side. Midler's version peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in mid-1973, introducing it to a new generation of pop music fans. The single was produced by Barry Manilow. The track was also a number-one single on the Billboard easy listening chart.
|Canada RPM Top Singles||8|
|Canada (RPM) Adult Contemporary||3|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||8|
|U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary||1|
|U.S. Cash Box Top 100||6|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||71|
|U.S. Cash Box||78|
|U.S. Billboard Top Easy Listening Singles||7|
Other versions of the songEdit
- The Andrews Sisters have recorded at least 3 different versions on different labels. The Original on Decca Records in 1941, Capitol Records in 1956, and Dot Records in 1962.
- In 1990, pop/R&B group En Vogue did a shortened version of the song for their album Born to Sing, rewording it to sound more urban, i.e. "boogie woogie hip hop boy".
- In 1991, Marie Osmond recorded the song as an inspiration for the military and as part of her USO tour for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
- In 1995, UK dance act Two In A Tank produced a dance version called Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Don't Stop.
- In 1997, the Kidsongs Kids and the Biggles recorded the song for their Kidsongs video "I Can Do It!".
- In 2003, Brighton downtempo act Backini remixed a version called Company B Boy for their album Threads.
- In 2006, the Puppini Sisters recorded the song for their album Betcha Bottom Dollar.
- In 2007, R&B/Gospel group Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town recorded the song on their album Jerry Lawson Talk of the Town.
- On their 2008 Live in Concert DVD, the von Trapp Children sang this song.
- In 2010, on VH1 Divas Salute The Troops, the song was performed by Katy Perry, Keri Hilson and Jennifer Nettles.
- In 2015, Rebecca Ferguson, Pixie Lott and Laura Wright performed the song at VE Day 70: A Party to Remember in London.
- In 2015, Brazilian vocal trio Cluster Sisters recorded the song for their self-titled debut album.
- In 2017, Pentatonix published an a cappella cover of the song as part of their Classics EP. They had previously included a fragment of the song their medley "Evolution of music"
- The song was rearranged by Diana Rock and Mia Yamasaki on the album "Bop Mille Donte You Doo?" and the film "Company B Would Be There".
- The song inspired the 1941 cartoon Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B produced by Walter Lantz Productions.
- The song is referenced in the animated short Disney musical film, A Symposium on Popular Songs in the song, "The Boogie Woogie Bakery Man" written by Robert & Richard Sherman.
- The song was parodied on an early 1980s episode of Chicago-based horror movie show Son of Svengoolie as "The Boogie-Woogie Bogeyman of Berwyn".
- The Chipettes covered the song in the Alvin and the Chipmunks episode, Just One of the Girls.
- In the sitcom Dinosaurs, episode "Nuts to War Part 2", Earl, Roy, and Charlene dress up as USO girls and sing the song.
- In the 2nd-season episode "Flaming Forties" of Mama's Family, Thelma "Mama" Harper (Vicki Lawrence), Fran Crowley (Rue McClanahan), and Naomi Harper (Dorothy Lyman) impersonate The Andrews Sisters and sing the song to entertain the classmates of Thelma's grandkids Buzz & Sonia after the band Medication that was hired failed to show up.
- In the 2nd-season episode "Lucy & The Andrews Sisters" of Here's Lucy, Patty Andrews guest stars and sings a medley of Andrews Sisters hits which includes this song with Lucille Ball playing LaVerne Andrews, Lucie Arnaz playing Maxene Andrews and Desi Arnaz, Jr. playing Bing Crosby
- Christina Aguilera and Linda Perry wrote "Candyman" (released as a single in 2007) from Aguilera's hit album Back to Basics, as a tribute to the Andrews Sisters and their "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy".
- The Miami-based girl group Company B took their name from the song. They recorded their own version of the song in 1989.
- In the Sesame Street song "Dance Myself to Sleep", Ernie has Rubber Duckie play the bugle and calls him "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Duck of Sesame Street."
- On an episode of A Different World, Whitley, Kim, and Jaleesa dress up in military attire and sing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" to pay homage to their friend Zelmer (played by Blair Underwood), who is about to depart for war in the Persian Gulf.
- One championship winning clip featured on ABC's America's Funniest Home Videos was entitled "Boogie Woogie Booger Boy" which is a take off on the song's name.
- The song was featured in the miniseries, The Shining, with Stephen King as the conductor.
- Albert Ammons recorded a boogie-woogie piano elaboration of the Andrews Sisters original, released in February 1944, when the musicians' strike ended.
- The song is featured in the cafe scenes in the movie Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front.
- The Simpsons episode "Catch 'Em If You Can" features an elderly man listening to the song on a 1940s radio that he carries on his shoulder. Grampa Simpson struts along the beach in Miami as the song plays.
- An animatronic toy created by Gemmy Industries called the "Sing & Swing Bear" sung this song and danced to it.
- In May 2015, the movie Pitch Perfect 2 used it as reference to returning to basics and to help the "Barden Bellas" rediscover their original sound.
- In episode 14 of the first season of Starz's Outlander, Claire suggests to Murtaugh that they add a song to liven up the dance Murtaugh is performing along the road to attract Jamie's attention. The song she sings is "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," but since it is 1743, Murtaugh has obviously never heard the song. He likes the tune, however, and Claire ends up performing a traditional bawdy Scots song "The Reels o' Bogie" to the tune of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."
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