by Alice Faye
Fox Publicity Department
Back in New York all Tin Pan Alley is beating its brains out under the prodding of Oscar Hammerstein II, trying to find a war song.
How about a love song?
What’s the matter with love, and since when hasn’t the best fighting song to come out of a war been a love song? Oscar Hammerstein, who’s written the lyrics to some of the best songs we’ve ever had—“Show Boat” for instance—ought to have a great new one under his belt, himself. For every “Over There” there’s 20 songs about the girl back home, all-time greats like “K-K-Katy,” “Smile a While,” and all right—even “Mademoiselle from Armentieres.”
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I guess I know a smattering about love songs. I’ve gotten 2000 very special letters. These special letters all had the same thing to say: some song I’d sung had brought a couple together, or made a marriage or held one together. Of course, it wasn’t MY love song. The men who write the words and music were really the ones who should have gotten the letters. Anybody can sing a love song. It takes a Leo Robin and Harry Warren to give a singer the kindof hitslike “No Love, No Nothing, ‘Til My Baby Comes Home,”—one of six of their hits in “The Gang’s All Here,” which happens to be my last picture for 20th Century Fox until after a certain blessed event.
I wouldn’t trade all the corny drum beaters in the world for the chances of just one love song to go down in history as the song of World War II.
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I’ve always been a pushover for sentimental songs. So has almost anyone I know. These are tough, martial times, all right, but “You’ll Never Know” which I had the luck to introduce in ”Hello Frisco, Hello,” is still topping the Hit Parade for soldiers, sailors, marines and fighting John and Joan Civilian. That happened to be by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon, both of whom ought to be dashing off a few lines to Oscar Hammerstein, come to think of it.
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As long as there’s someone left on the planet to sing, they’re going to favor love songs three to one—war, peace, depression or slaunchwise [?].
Martha Raye and Carole Landis, who did five months overseas entertaining the boys in foxholes and Army camps, told me they never got one single request for martial music. All the boys wanted to hear was a love song and they didn’t care how old the song was or how new or how sad or how happy. What they wanted was a song to fight with—it could be any kind of song just so it was about love.
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They want to sing “don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with anyone Else But Me,” and “In My Arms” and songs as great as “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” was, and songs like that have their place and a big place too, it’s the love songs, that the boys are hungry fro [sic] and that’s the song they’ve got to have.
Maybe the great love song of this war will come out of one of those Warren and Robin hits in “The Gang’s All Here.” Maybe it’ll come out of Paramount or Metro, or Warners or one of the others.
But wherever it comes from, Please Mr. Hammerstein and please, Tin Pan Alley, put away the tommy guns and pass the ammunition to Cupid.
Stop looking for war songs.
Give us a love song.
And watch our smoke.