This book looks at the role of popular music in constructing the myth of the First World War. Since the late 1950s over 1,500 popular songs from more than forty countries have been recorded that draw inspiration from the War. National Myth and the First World War in Modern Popular Music takes an inter-disciplinary approach that locates popular music within the framework of ‘memory studies’ and analyses how songwriters are influenced by their country’s ‘national myths’. How does popular music help form memory and remembrance of such an event? Why do some songwriters stick rigidly to culturally dominant forms of memory whereas others seek an oppositional or transnational perspective? The huge range of musical examples include the great chansonniers Jacques Brel and Georges Brassens; folk maestros including Al Stewart and Eric Bogle; the socially aware rock of The Kinks and Pink Floyd; metal legends Iron Maiden and Bolt Thrower and female iconoclasts Diamanda Galás and PJ Harvey.
Table of Contents
Introduction.- 1. National Myth and the First World War.- 2. Remembrance, Memory and Popular Music.- 3. Words and Music.- 4. The Voice of the People.- 5. Butcher’s Tales and Gunner’s Dreams.- 6. Shrill Demented Choirs.- 7. Football in No-Man’s-Land.- 8. The Gospel according to St Wilfred.- 9. Bombazine Dolls and Orders from the Dead.- 10. Conclusion: Music and the Centenary.