Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (2:39)

Cover of The Andrews Sisters Greatest Hits

From The Andrews Sisters Greatest Hits and 260 other releases

“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, a wartime radio song about a virtuoso trumpet player, was a major hit for the Andrews Sisters and an iconic World War II tune.

The song was written by Don Raye and Hughie Prince, and was recorded at Decca’s Hollywood studios on January 2, 1941, nearly a year before the United States entered World War II but after the start of a peacetime draft to expand the armed forces in anticipation of American involvement. The flipside was “Bounce Me Brother With a Solid Four”. The Andrews Sisters introduced the song in the 1941 Abbott and Costello film Buck Privates, which was in production when they made the record. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song.

The song is ranked #6 on Songs of the Century.

It is closely based on an earlier Raye-Prince hit, “Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar,” which is about a virtuoso boogie-woogie piano player.

According to the lyrics of the song, a renown Illinois street musician is drafted into the U.S. Army during the Wartime Draft imposed by the Roosevelt Administration. In addition to being famous, the bugler was the “top man at his craft,” but the Army had little use for his talents and he was reduced to blowing the wake up call (Reveille) in the morning. This caused the musician to become dejected: “It really brought him down, because he couldn’t jam.” The commanding officer took note of the blues man’s blues and went out and conscripted more musicians to assemble a band to keep the bugler company.

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