Friday 25 April 2014

Three Songs For ANZAC Day


Eric Bogle:  And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
Eric Bogle: No Man's Land (The Green Fields Of France)
Redgum: I Was Only Nineteen
They tell us that at Gallipoli New Zealand came of age as a nation. Well, if that's true, why is it that in all the years since 25 April 1915 no Kiwi has ever penned a song to match even one of these three? It seems to me that the Brits and the Aussies have processed the tragedy and futility of their countries' wars far better than we have.
This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite.


Davo Stevens said...

And the song written by Johnny Cace "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" is a descriptive one. It's available out there.

Essentially we were in the shadow of Aussie in both wars.

paul scott said...

Not to intrude on your original post Mr Trotter another tribute to the Anzacs, We have had both royalty and our war effort here in our Country the last few days: a story little my father at his easy War

paul scott said...

It was a long time ago Mr Trotter. It is people like you and even me, who have been lucky to fight no War. The worst you can do and you do sometimes is refuse my contribution.. I would like to have heard your father's experience of War, before you were even born. Here is my contribution

Kat said...

Ha! When asked about NZ culture in the 70's Muldoon said we have Howard Morrison, what more do we need.

Music in NZ was mostly left to the Irish, Scots and English.

And then along came Johnny Cooper and the Range Riders in 1952.......and war was not the rhythm.

Anonymous said...

Nice songs.

Also try my cover of Lemme's "1916",

Don Franks Music Wellington Access Radio 783

Guerilla Surgeon said...

It was a sad day when Redgum split up. They attacked right-wing politics and attitudes with a humour rarely seen. But were still quite nationalistic, which probably avoided a little vitriol from that direction. :-)

J Bloggs said...

NZ composed ANZAC songs

Chris Trotter said...

That's a fine song, J Bloggs, and very nicely performed, but it perpetuates all the "solemn falsehoods" that my previous posting condemns, and which the three songs posted above so powerfully challenge.

It's the challenge that we've shirked and the myths that we've embraced, J Bloggs. And it's a New Zealand song that challenges our New Zealand myths that I'm still waiting to hear.

J Bloggs said...

The problem with a NZ version of Eric's songs is the time passed. Eric wrote both those his masterpieces (and they are masterpieces) in the early 70's, before the great mythologisation of ANZAC Day, both in Australia and NZ. He was able to do so without having to contend with the myth that has sprung up since he wrote those songs. Indeed, you could argue that it's Eric's songs, along with the movie "Gallipoli", that helped bring the events of 1915 to the forefront of our collective consciousness (and so contributing to the mythmaking...)

Any NZ songwriter is going to have to feel very strongly about challenging the ANZAC mythos, a mythos that has only grown stronger since the 70's, to write a song such as Eric's.

As an aside (and following your own WW1 book recommendation), have you read "The Long Shadow: the Great war and the 20th Century" by David Reynolds?

Anonymous said...

pretty nice blog, following :)