Hitler's hit parade
December 10, 2005 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Nazi swing music from the 30s. FMU's terrific blog presents mp3s of songs by Charlie and His Orchestra, a big band assembled by Hitler's minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, to spread the Nazi message abroad even while trying to stamp out jazz and swing domestically. "Leave it to Goebbels to take the music of The Andrews Sisters, Paul Whiteman and Irving Berlin and fill it with venomous rants against Jews, America and the British." Vol. 1 is here. Some history. And now I want to see this movie about the band. via BB
posted by CunningLinguist (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
More background. "The band members themselves, curiously enough, were not particularly sympathetic to the Nazi cause. Schwedler may have been in it for the money, and some of the band members, who spoke little English, would later say they did not even realize what the lyrics said. But playing in the band paid well and exempted the members from military service. More importantly, it may have saved the lives of some members. Drummer Fritz Brocksieper, for example, had a Jewish grandmother, and so would have been considered Jewish according to Nazi reckoning."
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:10 AM on December 10, 2005

in this model camp there was jazz and other forms of music (in fact an opera was produced here and has been now turned in to a children's book), and there is (or was) one surviving jazz musician, as noted

The nazis were "funny" in that they liked (in many instances) that which publicly they distained: drugs, homosexuality, jazz etc
posted by Postroad at 7:19 AM on December 10, 2005

The second link (via the blog) has an excellent example of "evil genius" and a pretty decent argument as to why information wants to be free (libre).
"An idea always lives in individuals. It seeks an individual to transmit its great intellectual force. It becomes alive in a brain, and seeks escape through the mouth. The idea is preached by individuals, individuals who will never be satisfied to have the knowledge remain theirs alone. You know that from experience. When one knows something one does not keep it hidden like a buried treasure, rather one seeks to tell others. One looks for people who should know it. One feels that everyone else should know to, for one feels alone when no one else knows. For example, if I see a beautiful painting in an art gallery, I have the need to tell others. I meet a good friend and say to him: "I have found a wonderful picture. I have to show it to you." The same is true of ideas. If an idea lives in an individual, he has the urge to tell others. There is some mysterious force in us that drives us to tell others. The greater and simpler the idea is, the more it relates to daily life, the more has the desire to tell everyone about it." --Joseph Goebbels
posted by wah at 8:05 AM on December 10, 2005

Such timeless classics as.."Gotta Ganda in my Goose Step" "Rockin Rommel" "Brown Shirt Riot...Riot! Throw back a couple a beers" "There's a Party in my Panzas" and who can forget "Hitler's Herpes got me scratchin".

So that completes our top 10 list for this week here in Cor-de-Lain , Idaho. (All Love ID really)
posted by Mr Bluesky at 8:53 AM on December 10, 2005

I need to remember this, next time I want to play a prank on a friend who likes swing. :)
posted by jeffburdges at 9:27 AM on December 10, 2005

There was a BBC radio documentary about this, years ago. I particularly remember Charlie and his Orchestra's version of Cole Porter's 'You're the Tops': You're the tops! You're a German flyer. You're the tops! You're machine-gun fire ..

All very entertaining, or so I thought, until I heard another song with a refrain that went something like, 'and it's all because of the jew', delivered in a tone of real venom. Not so funny, really.
posted by verstegan at 9:31 AM on December 10, 2005

This is such a great post.
posted by LarryC at 9:46 AM on December 10, 2005

Wow. Those are some talented musicians. The lyrics are really strange though.

Now I'm wondering what artists to listen to to hear authentic recreations of this genre in a modern recording studio, in full digital stereo. i.e. what it would sound like in person...
posted by rolypolyman at 11:44 AM on December 10, 2005

This is such a great post.

Agreed. A rare find. Adds a whole new personal perspective to the main players.
posted by DirtyCreature at 5:13 PM on December 10, 2005

Very interesting, CL. Thanks.
posted by Miko at 7:44 PM on December 10, 2005

Is there a page with the lyrics to these songs?
posted by dgaicun at 9:36 PM on December 10, 2005

Ok, I googled part of a verse looking for written lyrics and there was but one hit. Just a heads up though, it is a neo-nazi website so view at your own discretion, NSFW, etc. , etc.
posted by dgaicun at 9:50 PM on December 10, 2005

Also, am I the only who can't help thinking 'Monster Mash' when that guy jumps in for the spoken word part on every song?
posted by dgaicun at 10:05 PM on December 10, 2005

To those that don't want to click on StormFront, here is a comment from the WFMU blog with my response (with some lyrics):

I don't hear any venomous rants against jews, America, and Britain. Am I missing something? Is this explicitly Nazi or music by Germans who some happened to be National Socialist party members?

Posted by: HRD | December 10, 2005 at 09:54 PM

"I don't hear any venomous rants against jews, America, and Britain. Am I missing something?"

Yes. A lot in fact:

You're Driving Me Crazy

Here is Winston Churchill's latest tearjerker:
Yes, the Germans are driving me crazy.
I thought I had brains, but they shattered my planes.
They've built up a front against me, it's quite amazing
Clouding the skies, with their planes.
The Jews are the friends who are near me to cheer me, believe me they do.
But Jews are the kind that will hurt me, desert me and laugh at me too.
Yes, the Germans are driving me crazy, my last chance I'll pray, to get in this muddle the U.S.A.
This new pact also is driving me crazy, Germany, Italy, Japan, it gives me a pain.
I'm losing my nerve, I'm getting lazy
A prisoner forced to remain in England to reign.
The Jews are the friends who are near me, that still cheer me, believe me they do.
But Jews are not the kind of heroes who would fight for me, now they're leaving me too.
Yes, the Germans are driving me crazy, by Jove, I pray, come in U.S.A.


F.D.R Jones

It's a Hebrew holiday everywhere,
All the Jewish family has a brand new heir,
He's their joy heaven sent,
And they proudly present,
Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jones,
He's grown up, but I'm afraid he will stray,
With a name like the one he's got today,
He sends the boys to Iceland's shore, to engage in foreign wars,
Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jones,
Non-intervention, how he shows it,
His decision to send troops along,
Oh what a jam and I bet he knows it,
But the folks in the world all agree,
He's aggressive, aggressive as he can be,
If he could he'd like to be, known to those in history,
As the big Emperor D. Roosevelt Jones,


Who's Afraid Of the Big Bad Wolf

Listen to the BBC, BBC, BBC,
Listen to the BBC, tra-la-la-la,
Who's preaching world democracy, democracy, democracy?
Who wants to make free people free? tra-la-la-la
First they won the war in France,
Then they said they no chance,
Each time the Germans did advance,
How could they have a chance?

They told stories so divine,
Oft'n marched across the Rhine,
Germans eat only rats and mice,
But in England all was fine,
Bye-Bye Churchill, BBC, BBC, BBC
Your tricks won't work with Italy, tra-la-la-la,
Why not give us different news, different news, different news,
Skip those Soviets, skip those Jews, tra-la-la-la

Posted by: dgaicun | December 11, 2005 at 01:36 AM
posted by dgaicun at 10:41 PM on December 10, 2005

Uh Oh!!
Wouldn't those lyrics still be under copyright protection?
The RIAA can now sue metafilter for tons of cash!
posted by Iax at 11:02 PM on December 10, 2005

Goebbels - one very creepy guy. And then there's United Air Man ....

Let's go shelling
Where they're dwelling
Let's shell Churchill's women, children too
Let us go to it
Oh let's do it
Let's bomb neutrals too
Let's go bombing
It's becoming
Quite the thing to do.

Would be interesting to know if this was written before or after Dresden.
posted by DirtyCreature at 11:21 PM on December 10, 2005

Would be interesting to know if this was written before or after Dresden.
posted by DirtyCreature at 11:21 PM PST on December 10 [!]

1930s? I'm going to go with before.
posted by mek at 5:08 AM on December 11, 2005

1930s? I'm going to go with before.

Churchill wasn't PM until 1940.
posted by DirtyCreature at 9:05 AM on December 11, 2005

There's a good CD compilation as well.
posted by ktoad at 1:23 PM on December 11, 2005

Was that a shiver that just went down my spine?

Yes it was. Spooky, this.

Smashing post.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:22 AM on December 12, 2005

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