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Life Arts    H4'ed 2/25/11

How the Best Loved Song of WW I Was Retrieved...(from a waste basket!)

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        How the Best Loved Song of WW I Was Retrieved"                              (from a waste basket!)


Richard Whiting was one of the great American songwriters.*   He began his career on the staff of Remick Music, a Detroit-based publishing firm.   One of his earliest collaborating lyricists was Raymond Egan.


During World War I, he and Egan decided to try their hand at writing a song which would relate to the War, and some of the emotions it engendered.   They completed the song, but were mutually unhappy with their effort.   So they crumpled the sheet and tossed it into an office wastebasket.   A secretary spotted it and played a bit of it on the piano.   She was so impressed, she told the boss, Jerome Remick, about the tune and he summoned the two collaborators to his office.    He asked Richard what the song was, and Whiting replied "Oh, it's really nothing, sir."


Remick disagreed, and stated that he thought the song was very good.   He asked Whiting to play it on the piano for him. Upon hearing the complete song, their boss became enthusiastic, and exclaimed that they would enter it in the war-song contest which was to occur the next week in the Michigan Theater!   He then asked what the title of the song was.


The answer:   "Auf Wiedersehen."


Remick observed that a German title wasn't exactly appropriate when America was at war with Germany!   He then asked "By the way"what does it mean?"

Whiting replied: "Till We Meet Again."


And Jerome Remick exclaimed:   "That's it!   We'll call it "Till We Meet Again!"


When the song was introduced at the Michigan Theater, the reaction was instantaneous.   The audience rose to its feet and demanded that it be performed again"and again!   Within a month, the whole nation was singing the song.


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I have spent a long and interesting life involved in music, as a performer (piano,) educator (at every level from elementary to graduate school,) solo pianist, bandleader, composer/songwriter; entertainer, storyteller and humorist. In my final (more...)
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