History of Music in Canada

First World War Era

History of opera performance in Canada

First World War Era

The First World War was a turning point in Canadian history. It was also an important era in the development of the music and recording industries in Canada. The Great War saw an outpouring of patriotic songs and sentimental ballads urging support for soldiers, sailors, and airmen, combined with heart-felt concern for the families waiting on the home front. This era also marked the beginning of great changes in popular music, with the rise of vaudeville, the song-writing of Tin Pan Alley, the start of the dance-band craze, and the rise of jazz. Canadian singers and songwriters were leaders of this musical generation.

Popular songs, 1914-1918

A by-product of the First World War was the great number of popular songs, so well-received in North America. The following list is a selection of some of the best-known popular songs written or recorded during that era. The list is not comprehensive. Some of these pieces were well-known before 1914 but have been included because they continued to be popular afterwards.

Popular songs, 1914

  • The Aba Daba Honeymoon (Arthur Fields, Walter Donovan)
  • Alexander's Ragtime Band (Irving Berlin) 
  • All Aboard for Dixieland-Turkey Trot (George L. Cobb, music; Jack Yellen, lyrics)
  • Are We Downhearted? No! (Lawrence Wright, Worton David)
  • By the Beautiful Sea (Harry Carroll, music; Harold Atteridge, lyrics)
  • Can't You Hear Me Callin', Caroline? (Caro Roma, music; William H. Gardner, lyrics)
  • Everybody Rag with Me (Grace LeBoy, music; Gus Kahn, lyrics)
  • Fido Is a Hot Dog Now (Raymond Walker, music; Charles McCarron, Thomas Gray, lyrics)
  • Goodbye, Girls, I'm Through (from Chin-Chin) (Ivan Caryll, music; John Golden, lyrics)
  • He's a Devil in His Own Home Town (Irving Berlin, music; Grant Clarke, lyrics)
  • I Love the Ladies (Jean Schwartz, music; Grant Clarke, lyrics)
  • I Want to Go Back to Michigan (Irving Berlin)
  • In the Town Where I Was Born (Al Harriman, music; Dick Howard, Billy Tracey, lyrics)
  • It's a Long Way to Tipperary (Jack Judge, music; Harry Williams, lyrics)
  • I've Got Everything I Want but You (from The Passing Show) (Marshall)
  • A Little Bit of Heaven, Shure They Call It Ireland (Ernest R. Ball, music; J. Keirn Brennan, lyrics)
  • Love's Own Sweet Song (Sari Waltz) (Emmerich Kalman, music; C.C.S. Cushing, E.P. Heath, lyrics)
  • Mary, You're a Little Bit Old-Fashioned (Henry I. Marshall, music; Marion Sunshine, lyrics)
  • The Merry Widow Waltz (Franz Lehar, music; Adrian Ros, lyrics)
  • Minstrel Parade
  • Missouri Waltz (Frederick Knight Logan, music; J.R. Shannon, pseud. of James Royce, lyrics)
  • On the 5:15 (Henry I. Marshall, music; Stanley Murphy, lyrics)
  • Peg o' My Heart (Fred Fisher, music; Alfred Bryan, lyrics)
  • Play a Simple Melody (Irving Berlin)
  • Silver Threads Among the Gold (Hart Pease Danks, music; Eben Rexford, lyrics)
  • St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy)
  • Sylvia (Oley Speaks, music; Clinton Scollard, lyrics)
  • Syncopated Walk (Irving Berlin)
  • A Tango Dream
  • Tennessee, I Hear You Calling Me (Geoffrey O'Hara)
  • That's A-Plenty (Lew Pollack)
  • They Didn't Believe Me (from The Girl from Utah) (Paul Rubens, Sydney Jones, Jerome Kern)
  • Tip Top Tipperary Mary (Harry Carroll, music; Ballard MacDonald, lyrics)
  • Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral (That's an Irish Lullaby) (James Royce Shannon)
  • Twelfth Street Rag (Euday L. Bowman)
  • Watch Your Step (Irving Berlin)
  • When You're a Long, Long Way from Home (George W. Meyer, music; Sam M. Lewis, lyrics)
  • When You're Away (from The Only Girl), (Victor Herbert)
  • When You're Wearing the Ball and Chain (Victor Herbert, music; Harry B. Smith, lyrics)
  • When You Wore a Tulip and I Wore a Big Red Rose (Percy Wenrich, music; Jack Mahoney, lyrics)
  • You Planted a Rose in the Garden of Love (Ernest Ball, music; J. Will Callahan, lyrics)
  • Your Eyes Have Told Me What I Did Not Know (Geoffrey O'Hara)

Popular songs, 1915

  • Alabama Jubilee (George L. Cobb, music; Jack Yellen, lyrics)
  • Along the Rocky Road to Dublin (Bert Grant, music; Joe Young, lyrics)
  • America, I Love You (Archie Gottler, music; Edgar Leslie, lyrics)
  • Auf Wiedersehen (Sigmund Romberg, music; Herbert Reynolds, lyrics
  • Babes in the Wood (Jerome Kern, Schuyler Greene)
  • Back Home in Tennessee (Walter Donaldson, music; William Jerome, lyrics)
  • Burlington Bertie from Bow (William Hargreaves)
  • Canadian Capers (Gus Chandler, Bert White, Henry Cohen)
  • Don't Bite the Hand That's Feeding You (James Morgan, music; Thomas Hoier, lyrics)
  • Down Among the Sheltering Palms (Abe Olman, music; James Brockman, lyrics)
  • Fascination (Sigmund Rombert, music; Harold Atteridge, lyrics)
  • Hello, Frisco! (Louis A. Hirsch, music; Gene Buck, lyrics)
  • Hello, Hawaii, How Are You? (Jean Schwartz, music; Bert Kalmar, Edgar Leslie, lyrics)
  • If We Can't Be the Same Old Sweethearts, We'll Just Be the Same Old Friends (James V. Monaco, music; Joe McCarthy, lyrics)
  • In a Monastery Garden (Albert W. Ketelbey)
  • Ireland Is Ireland to Me (Ernest R. Ball, music; Fiske O'Hara, J. Keirn Brennan, lyrics)
  • It's Tulip Time in Holland (Richard A Whiting, music; Dave Radford, lyrics)
  • Jelly Roll Blues (Fred Morton)
  • Just Try to Picture Me Down Home in Tennessee (Walter Donaldson, music; William Jerome, lyrics)
  • Keep the Home Fires Burning (Ivor Novello, music; Lena Guilbert Ford, lyrics)
  • Love Is the Best of All (Victor Herbert, music; Henry Blossom, lyrics)
  • Memories (Egbert Van Alstyne, music; Gus Kahn, lyrics)
  • M-O-T-H-E-R, A Word that Means the World to Me (Theodore Morse, music; Howard Johnson, lyrics)
  • My Little Girl (Albert Von Tilzer, music; Sam M. Lewis, Will Dillon, lyrics)
  • My Mother's Rosary (George W. Meyer, music; Sam M. Lewis, lyrics)
  • My Sweet Adair (L. Wolfe Gilbert, Anatol Friedland)
  • Neapolitan Love Song (Victor Herbert, music; Henry Blossom, lyrics)
  • Norway (Fred Fisher, Joe McCarthy)
  • The Old Grey Mare, She Ain't What She Used to Be (Frank Panella)
  • On the Beach at Waikiki (Henry Kailimai, music; G.H. Stover, lyrics)
  • Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag (Felix Powell, music; George Asaf, lyrics)
  • Ragging the Scale (Edward B. Claypoole)
  • She's the Daughter of Mother Machree (Ernest R. Ball, music; Jeff T. Nenarb, lyrics)
  • Siam (Fred Fisher, music; Howard Johnson, lyrics)
  • Some Little Bug Is Going to Find You (Silvio Hein, music; Benjamin Hapgood Burt, Roy Atwell, lyrics)
  • The Sunshine of Your Smile (Lilian Ray, music; Leonard Cooke, lyrics)
  • There's a Broken Heart for Every Light on Broadway (Fred Fisher, music; Howard Johnson, lyrics)
  • There's a Little Lane Without a Turning on the Way to Home Sweet Home (George W. Meyer, music; Sam M. Lewis, lyrics)
  • Underneath the Stars (Herbert Spencer, music; Fleta Jan Brown, lyrics)
  • When I Get Back to the U.S.A. (Irving Berlin)
  • When I Leave the World Behind (Irving Berlin)
  • You Know and I Know (Jerome Kern, music; Schuyler Greene, lyrics)
  • You'll Always Be the Same Sweet Girl (Harry Von Tilzer, music; Andrew B. Sterling, lyrics)

Popular songs, 1916

  • All Heaven Is Calling Mavourneen (Geoffrey O'Hara, music; Katherine Ward, lyrics)
  • Any Time Is Kissing Time (from Chu Chin Chow) (Frederic Norton)
  • Baby Shoes (Al Piantadosi, music; Joe Goodwin, Ed Rose, lyrics)
  • A Broken Doll
  • Bugle Call Rag (J. Hubert Blake, Carey Morgan)
  • The Chicken Walk (Irving Berlin)
  • La Cumparsita (G.H. Matos Rodrigues, music; Carol Rowen, lyrics)
  • Dixieland, My Home (Geoffrey O'Hara)
  • Down Home in Tennessee
  • Down in Honky Tonky Town (Charles McCarron, Chris Smith)
  • Every Little While (from Some) (Lee White)
  • Everybody Loves an Irish Song
  • Everybody's Crazy on the Fox Trot (Bennett Scott, A.J. Mills)
  • Good-bye, Good Luck, God Bless You (Ernest R. Ball, music; J. Keirn Brennan, lyrics)
  • Hawaiian Sunshine (Carey Morgan, music; L. Wolfe Gilbert, lyrics)
  • The Honolulu Blues (James V. Monaco, music; Grant Clarke, lyrics)
  • How's Every Little Thing in Dixie? (Albert Gumble, music; Jack Yellen, lyrics)
  • I Ain't Got Nobody (Spencer Williams, music; Roger Graham, lyrics)
  • I Can Dance with Everyone but My Wife (from Sybil) (John Golden, music; Joseph Cawthorn, lyrics)
  • I Love a Piano (Irving Berlin)
  • If I Knock the "L" Out of Kelly (Bert Grant, music; Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young, lyrics)
  • If You Had All the World and Its Gold (Al Piantadosi, music; Bartley Costello, Harry Edelheit, lyrics)
  • If You Were the Only Girl in the World (Nat D. Ayer, music; Clifford Grey, lyrics)
  • Ireland Must Be Heaven, for My Mother Came from There (Fred Fisher, music; Joe McCarthy, Howard Johnson, lyrics)
  • Joe Turner Blues (W.C. Handy, Walter Hirsch)
  • Kentucky Home
  • Li'l Liza Jane (Ada De Lachau)
  • Ma Li'l Starlight (Geoffrey O'Hara)
  • Mammy's Little Coal Black Rose (Richard A. Whiting, music; Raymond Egan, lyrics)
  • M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I (Harry Tierney, music; Bert Hanlon, Benny Ryan, lyrics)
  • Missouri Waltz (Frederick Knight Logan, music; James Royce Shannon, lyrics)
  • My Mother's Rosary
  • Nola (Felix Arndt, music; James F. Burns, Sunny Skylar, lyrics)
  • Oh How She Could Yacki, Hacki, Wicki Wacki, Woo (Albert Von Tilzer, music; Stanley Murphy, Charles McCarron, lyrics)
  • Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag (Felix Powell, music; George Asaf, lyrics)
  • Poor Butterfly (from The Big Show), (Raymond Hubbell, music; John Golden, lyrics)
  • Pretty Baby (from The Passing Show of 1916) (Tony Jackson, Egbert Van Alstyne, music; Gus Kahn, lyrics)
  • Roses of Picardy (Haydn Wood, music; Frederick E. Weatherly, lyrics)
  • There's a Little Bit of Bad in Every Good Little Girl (Fred Fisher, music; Grant Clarke, lyrics)
  • There's a Long, Long Trail (Zo Elliott, music; Stoddard King, lyrics)
  • There's a Quaker Down in Quaker Town (Alfred Solman, music; David Berg, lyrics)
  • They Made it Twice as Nice as Paradise (And They Called it Dixieland) (Richard A. Whiting, music; Raymond Egan, lyrics)
  • Throw Me a Rose (Emmerich Kalman, music; P.G. Wodehouse, Herbert Reynolds, lyrics)
  • Turn Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday (Ernest R. Ball, music; J. Keirn Brennan, lyrics)
  • Wake Up, America! (Jack Glogau, music; George Graff, lyrics)
  • What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For? (Joe McCarthy, Howard Johnson, James V. Monaco)
  • When You're in Love with Someone Who's Not in Love with You (Grant Clarke, Al Piantadosi)
  • Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go with Friday on a Saturday Night? (George W. Meyer, music; Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young, lyrics)
  • Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula (Pete Wendling, music; E. Ray Goetz, Joe Young, lyrics)
  • You Belong to Me (from The Century Girl) (Victor Herbert, music; Harry B. Smith, lyrics)

Popular songs, 1917

  • All the World Will Be Jealous of Me (Ernest R. Ball, music; Al Dubin, lyrics)
  • America, Here's My Boy
  • American Patrol (F.W. Meacham)
  • Any Time's Kissing Time (from Chu Chin Chow) (F. Norton)
  • Arizona (Melville Gideon)
  • Baby (You're the Sweetest Baby I Know) (Nat D. Ayer)
  • Beale Street Blues (W.C. Handy)
  • The Bells of St. Mary's (A. Emmett Adams, music; Douglas Furber, lyrics)
  • Bring Back My Daddy to Me (George W. Meyer, music; William Tracey, Howard Johnson, lyrics)
  • Darktown Strutter's Ball (Shelton Brooks)
  • Deep River (spiritual, arr. H.T. Burleigh)
  • Dixieland Jazz Band One-Step
  • Down Honolulu Way (Burnett & Burke)
  • Everybody's Gone Crazy 'Bout the Doggone Blues (Turner Layton, music; Henry Creamer, lyrics)
  • For Me and My Gal (George W. Meyer, music; Edgar Leslie, E. Ray Goetz, lyrics)
  • Give a Man a Horse He Can Ride (Geoffrey O'Hara, music; James Thomson, lyrics)
  • Goodbye Broadway, Hello France (Billy Baskette, music; C. Francis Reisner, Benny Davis, lyrics)
  • Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here (William Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan; adapted by Theodora and Theodore F. Morse)
  • Hawaiian Butterfly (Joseph Santly, Billy Baskette, music; George A. Little, lyrics)
  • Hindustan (Oliver G. Wallace, Harold Weeks)
  • I May Be Gone for A Long, Long Time (Albert Von Tilzer, music; Lew Brown, lyrics)
  • I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (from Oh Look!) (Harry Carroll, music; Joseph McCarthy, lyrics)
  • Indiana (James F. Hanley, music; Ballard Macdonald, lyrics)
  • It's a Mighty Good World After All (Geoffrey O'Hara, music; Robert Service, lyrics)
  • Johnson Rag (Guy Hall, Henry Kleinkauf)
  • Jump Jim Crow (Sigmund Romberg, music; Rida Johnson Young, lyrics)
  • Just My Love (from Three Cheers) (H. Darewski)
  • Leave It to Jane (Jerome Kern, music; P.G. Wodehouse, lyrics)
  • Lily of the Valley (Anatole Friedland, music; L. Wolfe Gilbert, lyrics)
  • Livery Stable Blues (Original Dixieland Jazz Band)
  • Lorraine, My Beautiful Alsace Lorraine (Fred Fisher, music; Alfred Bryan, lyrics)
  • MacNamara's Band (Shamus O'Conner, music; John J. Stamford, lyrics)
  • Mademoiselle from Armentières (Hinky Dinky Parlay Voo) (trad.; Lieutenant Gitz Rice, lyrics)
  • Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh! (Abe Olman, music; Ed Rose, lyrics)
  • Over There (George M. Cohan)
  • Sailin' Away on the Henry Clay (Egbert Van Alstyne, music; Gus Kahn, lyrics)
  • Send Me a Curl (Geoffrey O'Hara)
  • Send Me Away with a Smile (Al Piantadosi, music; Louis Weslyn, lyrics)
  • The Siren's Song (Jerome Kern, music; P. G. Wodehouse, lyrics)
  • Smiles (Lee S. Robert, music; J. Will Callahan, lyrics)
  • Some Sort of Somebody (from Vanity Fair) (Jerome Kern)
  • Someone Else May be There (While I'm Gone)
  • Sweet Little Buttercup (Herman Paley, music; Alfred Bryan, lyrics)
  • There's a Little Bit of Bad in Every Good Little Girl (from Three Cheers) (Fred Fisher, music; Grant Clarke, lyrics)
  • There's a Long, Long Trail (Zo Elliott, music; Stoddard King, lyrics)
  • They Go Wild, Simply Wild Over Me (Fred Fisher, music; Joseph McCarthy, lyrics)
  • Till the Clouds Roll By (Jerome Kern, music; P.G. Wodehouse, lyrics)
  • Wait Till the Cows Come Home (from Jack O'Lantern) (Ivan Caryll, music; Anne Caldwell, lyrics)
  • When Shall I Again See Ireland? (Victor Herbert, music; Henry Blossom, lyrics)
  • Where the Morning Glories Grow (Richard Whiting, music; Gus Kahn, Raymond B. Egan, lyrics)
  • Will You Remember? (from Maytime) (Sigmund Romberg, music; Rida Johnson Young, lyrics)

Popular songs, 1918

  • After You've Gone (Turner Layton, music; Henry Creamer, lyrics)
  • At the Jazz Band Ball (Edwin Edwards, James La Rocca, Anthony Sbarbaro, Larry Shields)
  • Beautiful Ohio (Mary Earl (pseud. of Robert A. King), music; Ballard MacDonald, lyrics)
  • The Caissons Go Rolling Along (The U.S. Field Artillery March
  • Dallas Blues (Hart A. Wand, Lloyd Garrett)
  • The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady (Walter Donaldson, music; Monty C. Brice, lyrics)
  • Dear Old Pal of Mine (Lieutenant Gitz Rice, music; Harold Robé, lyrics)
  • Down Texas Way (Godfrey, Mills and Scott)
  • Everything Is Peaches Down in Georgia (George W. Meyer, Milton Ager, music; Grant Clarke, lyrics)
  • For Me and My Gal (from Here and There) (George W. Meyer)
  • A Good Man Is Hard to Find (Eddie Green)
  • Hello, Central, Give Me No Man's Land (Jean Schwartz, music; Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young, lyrics)
  • Hindustan (Harold Weeks, Oliver G. Wallace)
  • I'd Like to See the Kaiser with a Lily in His Hand (Henry Leslie, Howard Johnson, Billy Frisch)
  • If He Can Fight Like He Can Love, Good-Night Germany (George W. Meyer, music; Grant Clarke, Howard E. Rogers, lyrics)
  • I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (from Oh, Look!) (Harry Carroll, music; Joseph McCarthy, lyrics)
  • I'm Sorry I Made You Cry (N.J. Clesi)
  • Ja-Da (Bob Carleton)
  • Just a Baby's Prayer at Twilight (M.K. Jerome, music; Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young, lyrics)
  • K-K-K-Katy (Geoffrey O'Hara)
  • Mickey (silent film theme, from Mickey)
  • My Belgian Rose (George Benoit, Robert Levenson, Ted Garton)
  • My Mammy (Walter Donaldson, music; Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young, lyrics)
  • Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning (Irving Berlin)
  • Oh, How I Wish I Could Sleep Until My Daddy Comes Home (Pete Wendling, music; Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young, lyrics)
  • Oh! Oh! Oh! It's a Lovely War (Long and Scott)
  • On the Road to Calais
  • On the Road to Home, Sweet Home (Van Alstyne)
  • Original Dixieland One-Step (Joe Jordan, James La Rocca, J. Russell Robinson)
  • Ostrich Walk (Edwin Edwards, James La Rocca, Anthony Sbarbaro, Larry Shields)
  • Oui, Oui, Marie (Fred Fisher, music; Alfred Bryan, Joe McCarthy, lyrics)
  • Over Yonder Where the Lilies Grow (Geoffrey O'Hara)
  • Peter Pan (Noel Coward)
  • Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody (Jean Schwartz, music; Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young, lyrics)
  • The Rose of No Man's Land
  • Smiles (from The Passing Show of 1918) (Lee M. Roberts, music; J. Will Callahan, lyrics)
  • Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child (trad. Spiritual; arr. Harry Burleigh)
  • That Tumble-Down Shack in Athlone (Alma Sanders and Monte Carlo, music; Richard W. Pascoe, lyrics)
  • They Were All Out of Step but Jim (Irving Berlin)
  • Tickle Toe (from Going Up) (Louis A. Hirsch, music; Otto Harbach, lyrics)
  • Tiger Rag (Original Dixieland Jazz Band)
  • Till We Meet Again (Richard Whiting, music; Raymond B. Egan, lyrics)
  • Waters of Venice (Floating Down the Sleepy Lagoon) (Albert Von Tilzer, music; Neville Fleeson, lyrics)
  • We Don't Want the Bacon, What We Want Is a Piece of the Rhine (Howard Carr, Harry Russell, Jimmie Havens)
  • When You Come Back (George M. Cohan)
  • When You Look in the Heart of a Rose (Florence Methven, music; Marian Gillespie, lyrics)

Songs of the First World War

A by-product of the First World War was the great number of popular and patriotic songs and recordings, so well-received in North America.

The following list is a selection of some of the best-known songs written or recorded during that era, as well as some lesser-known songs. The list is not comprehensive. We have also included some older pieces, such as patriotic songs and marches, which were revived when the war broke out.

The songs are grouped by subject:

Patriotic songs - Canada

  • Be British
  • La Brabançonne
  • Canada, I hear You Calling
  • The Canadian Guns
  • Un Canadien Errant
  • For the Glory of The Grand Old Flag
  • Freedom For All Forever
  • God Save The King
  • Good Luck to The Boys of The Allies
  • Hats Off To The Flag and the King
  • Hearts of Oak
  • Here's to Tommy
  • Highlanders! Fix Bayonets!
  • The Homes They Leave Behind
  • I love You, Canada
  • Joan of Arc, They are Calling You
  • Keep Your Head Down, Fritzie Boy
  • Land of Hope and Glory
  • Land of The Maple
  • Laurentian Echoes
  • The Made in Canada Campaign Song
  • Maple Leaf Forever
  • La Marseillaise
  • Rule, Britannia
  • Soldiers of The King
  • Strike For The Grand Old Lag
  • Take Me Back To Dear Old Canada
  • Take Me Back To The Land of promise
  • They Sang God Save The King
  • Three Cheers For The Army and Navy
  • Tommy Atkins
  • Valcartier
  • We'll Never Let The Old Flag Fall
  • We're From Canada

Patriotic songs - United States

  • America I Love You
  • Belgium Put The Kibosh On The Kaiser
  • Dixiel And Volunteers
  • For The Freedom Of the world
  • I'd Like To See The Kaiser With A Lily In His Hand
  • I'm Gonna Pin My Medal On The Girl I Left Behind
  • It's Time For Every Boy To Be A Soldier
  • Just Like Washington Crossed The Delaware, General Pershing Will Cross The Rhine
  • Liberty Bell, It's Time To Ring Again
  • My Country, I Hear You Calling Me
  • My pwn United States
  • Our Country's In Town
  • Over There
  • The Red, White And Blue
  • The Star Spangled Banner
  • Stars And Stripes Forever
  • There's Only One Little Girl And One Little Flag For Me
  • They'll Be Mighty Proud In Dixie Of Their Old Black Joe
  • Wake Up America
  • What Kind Of An American Are You?

Recruiting songs

  • America Needs You Like A Mother-Would You Turn Your Mother Down?
  • By Order Of The King
  • Call Of The Motherland
  • Courage
  • For Your Country And My Country
  • Take Me Back To Canada
  • Your Country Needs You Now
  • Your King And Country Want You

Anti-War/Pacifist songs

  • Don't Take My Darling Boy Away
  • I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier

The Troops Depart for the Fighting

  • America, Here's My Boy
  • Au Revoir, But Not Goodbye, Soldier Boy
  • En Avant
  • Goodbye Broadway, Hello France
  • Good-Bye, Good Luck, God Bless You
  • Good-Bye, Mother Dear
  • (Good Luck and God Be With You) Laddie Boy

A Soldier's Life/Real Events

  • The Army Of Today's Alright
  • The Company Sergeant Major
  • Fun in Flanders, Part 1
  • Fun In Flanders, Part 2
  • Life In A Trench In Belgium, No. 1
  • Life In A Trench In Belgium, No. 2


  • Les Alliés
  • British Grenadiers
  • The Caissons Go Rolling Along (Over Hill, Over Dale), The U.S. Field Artillery March
  • Canadian Patrol
  • Colonel Bogey March
  • Dominion of Canada March
  • Hands Across The Sea
  • Here's to Tommy
  • In Old Quebec
  • Jock O'York (Regimental March Of Les Fusilliers Mont Royal)
  • March Past Of The Scottish Regiments
  • Marching Along
  • Men of Harlech
  • Regimental Marches Of The Coldstream Guards
  • Regimental Marches Of The Royal Canadian Regiment
  • Semper Fidelis March
  • Somewhere In France Is The Lily
  • Under The Double Eagle March
  • The United Empire March
  • Vive la Canadienne (March Of The Royal 22nd Regiment)
  • Wait For The Wagon (Regimental March Of The Royal Canadian Army Service Corps)

The Lonely, Homesick Soldier

  • Dear Old Pal Of Mine
  • Don't Try To Steal The Sweetheart Of A Soldier
  • Hello, My Dearie
  • Home Sweet Home, For You We're Fighting
  • If I'm Not At The Roll Call, Kiss Mother Goodbye For Me
  • It's A Long Way To Tipperary
  • Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty
  • Watch, hope and wait, little girl, til I come back to you (as performed by the Sterling Trio); (as performed by Henry Burr)

Songs Sung by the Soldiers

  • Abide With Me
  • Carry Me Back To Old Virginny
  • Dear Old Pal Of Mine
  • The Dumbell Rag
  • Hinky Dinky Parlez-Vous (Mademoiselle from Armentières)
  • Home Sweet Home
  • It's a Long, Long Way To Tipperary
  • K-K-K-Katy
  • Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag
  • Roses of Picardy
  • Sweet Adeline

Humorous songs

  • Doughboy Jack And Doughnut Jill
  • Hinky-dinky-parlez-vous (Mademoiselle from Armentières)
  • I don't Want To Get Well (I'm in love with a beautiful nurse)
  • I Know Where The Flies Go in Wintertime
  • I'm Glad My Wife's In Europe
  • K-K-K-Katy
  • They Were All Out Of Step But Jim
  • Those Wild, Wild Women Are Making A Wild Man of Me

The Proud Folks Back Home

  • For Your Boy And My Boy
  • Hip, Hip Hooray For The Boys That Went Away
  • If He Can Fight Like He Can Love, Goodnight Germany
  • I'm Proud Of You Laddie
  • My Sweetheart Is Somewhere In France

The Home Front/Women's Role

  • Fortifying The Home Front (from Business as Usual)
  • He Will Always Remember The Little Things You Do
  • The Homes They Leave Behind
  • I'd Be Proud To Be The Mother Of A Soldier
  • Jolly Good Luck To The Girl Who Loves a Soldier
  • Kitty the telephone girl
  • Mother (her soldier boy)
  • Mother's Sitting Knitting Little mittens for the navy
  • The Rose Of No Man's Land
  • Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts For Soldiers
  • That's A Mother's Liberty Loan
  • There Is A Service Flag Flying At Our House
  • There's A Vacant Chair In Every Home Tonight
  • We'll Do Our Share While You're Over There
  • What Are You Going To Do To Help The Boys

The Child Left Behind

  • Bring Back My Daddy To Me
  • Hello Central, Give Me France
  • Hello, Central, Give Me No Man's Land
  • I Want To Kiss Daddy Goodnight
  • Just A Baby's Prayer At Twilight
  • Oh, How I Wish I Could Sleep Until My Daddy Comes Home
  • Somewhere In France Is Daddy

Songs Referring to the European Front

  • Battle In The Air
  • Bing! Bang! Bing 'Em On The Rhine
  • Chimes of Normandy
  • Lorraine, My Beautiful Alsace Lorraine
  • Ma Normandie
  • My Belgian Rose
  • Over Yonder Where The Lilies Grow
  • Somewhere In France
  • Somewhere In France With You Three Cheers For Little Belgium (from Business as usual)
  • Up In The Air, Over There
  • We Don't Want The Bacon, What We Want Is A Piece Of The Rhine
  • We Stopped Them At The Marne
  • When Alexander Takes His Ragtime Band To France
  • When It's Night Time Down In Burgundy
  • When Yankee Doodle Learns To Parlez-Vous Français
  • You Keep Sending 'Em Over And We'll Keep Knocking 'Em dDown

Looking Forward to the Troops Returning Home

  • Because You're Here
  • Hit The Trail That Leads To Mother
  • Homeward Bound
  • I Think I'll Wait Until They All Come Home
  • It'll Be Nice To Get Back Home Again
  • Keep The Home FIres Burning (Till The Boys Come Home)
  • Now All The World's At Peace

Those Lost in Battle

  • Christ In Flanders
  • Have You News Of My Boy Jack?
  • In Flanders Felds
  • There's A Green Hill Out Iin Flanders


  • Bugle Call Rag
  • Chimes Of Normandy
  • The Cobbler's Song, (From Chu Chin Chow)
  • Hello My Soldier Boy - A Wireless Novelty
  • Our Hearts Oo Out To You, Canada
  • Say a Prayer For The Boys Out There
  • Soldier Boy
  • Soldier Boy I Kiss Before You Go
  • Would you rather be a colonel wWth An Eagle on Your Shoulder or a Private With a Chicken On Your Knee?

The music scene in Quebec, 1915-1920

By the late 1910s, the population in the province of Quebec had reached about two and a half million. Between 1911 and 1921, Montreal's population grew from 468,000 to 618,500 inhabitants. To a lesser extent, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières and Sherbrooke also experienced significant population growth. Montreal remained primarily Anglophone until the end of the 19th century, as did its cultural industry (auditoriums, promoters, etc.). However, the predominance of Anglophone culture was to be reversed by the arrival of more than 300,000 francophones within 20 years.

Drawn to the city by industrialization, rural migrants brought with them their traditional folk music, which began to rival urban music from France, the United States and the United Kingdom. Working in difficult conditions and finding it hard to adapt to city ways, these new arrivals often lived in the same neighourhoods, clinging to folklore to maintain their identity. Traditional music boomed in popularity.

At that time, radio did not yet exist, films were silent and the high cost of records and record players meant that sound recordings were reserved for the middle and upper classes. As a result, music spread mainly through live performance. With the outbreak of world conflict in 1914 came restrictions, but the war also gave rise to relative prosperity thanks to the war industry.

Classical and religious music

From time to time, touring groups performed operas and operettas in Montreal and Quebec City. In 1910, Albert Clerk-Jeannotte founded the Montreal Opera Company; this troupe gave over 300 performances, mainly with foreign soloists, at His Majesty's in Montreal and throughout Quebec. Local opera singers were confined to singing in Catholic churches, where attendance was high at that time. Most of these artists belonged to the Association des chanteurs de Montréal. Places of worship often became halls where hymns were performed. In 1917, under the direction of Honoré Vaillancourt and Albert Roberval, professional and semi-professional opera singers who were seeking new opportunities formed the Société nationale d'opéra comique, which became the Association d'art lyrique in 1918, then the Société canadienne d'opérette from 1923 to 1934. This marked the beginning of an operatic tradition of sorts for local artists at the Monument-National and other theatres in Montreal and Quebec City.

Variety Shows

After the Ligue de vertu successfully campaigned to shut down the "cafés-concerts" early in the century, variety shows found a new home in theatres such as the Canadien, the Chanteclerc, the National, the Nouveautés, the Arcade and the Family. Most such venues also presented popular theatre and silent films. In song, Blanche de la Sablonnière, Hector Pellerin and Alexandre Desmarteaux were no doubt the greatest stars to perform there. In Montreal, Sohmer Park and the Monument-National welcomed the greatest names in local and international performance. The large Anglophone and Yiddish communities were extremely active on the city's musical scene.

Folk Music

Considered a symbol of linguistic and cultural survival by the intellectual elite, traditional folk song was as much a part of the repertoire for opera singers as for variety performers. But traditional instrumental music was not found in mainstream urban theatres. It was only in the 1920s that Conrad Gauthier's "Veillées du bon vieux temps" brought folk song and music to metropolitan audiences.

Biographies of First World War Era Musicians

History of opera performance in Canada


Before the middle of the nineteenth century, opera was rarely performed in Canada. Most Canadian cities did not have adequate facilities or financial resources to produce local opera productions, and Canadian musicians in general lacked the training and expertise to mount a full-scale opera.

By 1839, however, opera companies and famous singers from abroad began to include Canada in their touring itinerary. On October 21 and 23, 1851, the legendary Swedish soprano Jenny Lind sang arias from Donizetti's L'Elisir d'amore, Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda, Weber's Der Freischütz, and Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable in St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto. Spanish opera diva Adelina Patti sang in Toronto in 1855 and 1860. The Metropolitan Opera visited Montréal with the stellar Emma Calvé in Carmen in 1899 and 1901, and again in 1911 with Emmy Destinn in the title role of Aida conducted by Toscanini.

The Russian Grand Opera toured Canada in 1922 and 1923, presenting operas such as Mussorgski's Boris Godunov, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Rimsky-Korsakov's The Snow Maiden. Singers from the Royal Academy of Music and the Theatre Royal in London visited Montréal and Toronto several times between 1939 and 1949, performing excerpts from operas such as La Cenerentola, La Sonnambula and Il Matrimonia segreto.

As developments in steamship and railway travel progressed, foreign opera companies travelled to Canada on a regular basis, and began bringing their productions to the Western provinces. The Hess Opera from England performed Iolanthe in Winnipeg in 1883. Vancouver audiences heard Wagner's Lohengrin in 1891 performed by the Emma Juch English Opera from the United States. In 1899, a small group of singers from the Metropolitan Opera in New York performed The Chimes of Normandy in Winnipeg and Regina. The New York-based San Carlo Opera Company also visited Canada regularly between 1918 and 1945, presenting in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montréal and Toronto.

These foreign troupes often featured Canadian opera singers who had left Canada to pursue singing careers in Europe. Canadian diva Emma Albani and her company toured Toronto and Montréal in 1883; Montréal, Québec, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton and London in 1889-90; and Halifax, St. John's, Québec, Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria in 1896. Soprano Florence Easton visited Montréal in 1904 with the Savage English Grand Opera Company, appearing as Gilda in Rigoletto. Éva Gauthier visited Canadian cities several times, performing in her native Ottawa in 1924 and on July 1, 1927, when she sang for the sixtieth anniversary of Canada's Confederation.

Concerts and opera productions that featured returning Canadian singers were well attended in general, but for the most part, Canadian singers enjoyed greater success outside of Canada -- in England, Italy, France and the United States. Before the middle of the twentieth century, prospects for opera singers in Canada were very limited. There were few qualified voice teachers and very few performing opportunities for aspiring singers.

Canadian Singers in Europe

Canadian singers benefited greatly when they moved to the rich cultural centres of Europe. They could attend opera productions of the highest calibre, study with the finest teachers, and perform regularly with talented musicians. Between 1900 and 1950, a considerable number of talented Canadians travelled to Europe to study and sing in some of the most prestigious opera houses in the world.

Soprano Emma Albani (1847-1930) was one of the first Canadian singers to pursue a career in Europe, achieving unprecedented international success and acclaim. During her 40-year career as a singer, she toured extensively, developed friendships with famous composers and performers, and was greatly favoured by Queen Victoria. Although she lived in Canada for only a few years as a youth, Albani regarded her birthplace with fondness. In her memoirs, she wrote, "I have married an Englishman, and have made my home in England, but I still remain at heart a French-Canadian" (Albani, 1911). Named Marie-Louise-Emma-Cécile Lajeunesse, Albani received her earliest training from her mother and father in Chambly, Quebec. She and her family eventually moved to Albany, New York, because she was unable to secure financial support for a musical career from the French Canadian community. Through funds raised by the citizens of Albany, Albani was able to move to Paris. Opera and recital engagements brought her all over the world, including Holland, Norway, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Australia, Tasmania, South Africa and India. Throughout her life, Albani generously supported other young Canadian singers who were beginning their careers in Europe, including sopranos Sarah Fischer and Éva Gauthier.

Like Albani and Edvina, Canadian singers Pauline Donalda, Rodolphe Plamondon, Sarah Fischer, Forrest Lamont and many others also left Canada, either temporarily or permanently, and made Europe their home.

Canadian Singers in the United States

The United States was another common destination for Canadian opera singers. Cultural life in cities in the United States was more developed than in Canada, opening up many opportunities in both training and performing for opera singers. New York was particularly attractive to many singers due to its proximity to Ontario and Quebec and its sophisticated cultural scene.

One Canadian singer who spent much of her life in the United States was mezzo-soprano Éva Gauthier (1885-1958). The Ottawa native travelled to Europe at the age of 17 to study music, and after years of tours and performances in London, Italy, Japan, China, Singapore and Malaya, she settled in New York City in 1915. In New York, she presented a number of unconventional performances that often featured Javanese music and premieres of works by contemporary composers Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie and George Gershwin. After retiring from the stage in 1937, she remained in New York, where she became a renowned voice teacher, published articles on music, wrote for radio, and supported the New York music scene through fund-raising efforts.

Tenor Edward Johnson (1878-1959) was born in Guelph, Ontario, but moved to New York early in his career to study and perform. He eventually became an American citizen. After marrying the daughter of Portuguese Viscount Jose d'Arnerio, he settled with his wife in Italy and studied with Vincenzo Lombardi. Under his italianized name Edoardo di Giovanni, he debuted in the title role of Giordano's Andrea Chenier in Padua. Johnson sang with La Scala in Milan from 1913 to 1919. After his wife's death in 1919, Johnson returned to the United States and joined the Chicago Opera, and then in 1922 the Metropolitan Opera. He sang at the Met for 13 years with great success, and in 1935 was appointed its general manager. He held this position until his retirement in 1950.

Operetta/Broadway singer Christie MacDonald (1875-1962) also enjoyed a successful career in the United States. While many Canadian singers came from Quebec or Ontario, MacDonald was an exception. Born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, she began studying music in Nova Scotia, but soon moved with her family to Boston where there were more opportunities for her to study and perform. She appeared in a number of popular operettas including Princess Chic, Miss Hook of Holland, The Toreador, Prince of Bohemia, The Sho-Gun and Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. Her first big hit in New York took place in 1910 when she appeared as Princess of Bozena in the operetta The Spring Maid, which ran for 192 performances at the Liberty Theatre. MacDonald made her home in the United States, and although she never returned to her hometown in Nova Scotia, a group of artists from Pictou presented the musical Christie, a tribute to Christie MacDonald's life, 30 years after her death.

Other Canadians also enjoyed careers in the United States; among them are Jeanne Gordon (1884-1952) and Emma Albani. Jeanne Gordon was principal contralto at the Metropolitan Opera for nine consecutive seasons. Emma Albani spent most of her life in England, but lived in the United States from 1852 to 1856 and from 1864 to 1868, as a member of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Canadian Singers in Canada

While the majority of Canadian opera singers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries studied and performed abroad, some artists returned to Canada later in life and contributed significantly to the development of opera and music in Canada.

Marie Hope Morgan (1862-1936) was the first Anglo-Canadian singer to perform in Europe and the first to return to make her home in Canada. A native of Toronto, she went to Paris in 1892 to study and appeared in several opera houses in Europe. Poor health forced her to retire from the stage and in 1906 she settled in Toronto, where she was responsible for training a number of outstanding Canadian singers.

Béatrice La Palme (1878-1921), a violinist and dramatic soprano who performed with the Opéra-Comique, Montreal Opera Company and houses in New York, also returned to Canada for health reasons, and established herself as a voice teacher.

Photograph of Raoul Jobin in military uniform, 1935

Raoul Jobin, 1935

Pauline Lightstone Donalda (1882-1970) achieved international success as an opera singer, but also did much for Canada as a teacher and administrator. Her music studies began in Montréal with her father, Michael Lightstone. She was accepted to the Royal Victoria College on full scholarship, and later studied in Paris with Edmond Duverney of the Paris Conservatoire. She joined Covent Garden in 1905 and during her first season performed with opera greats such as Emmy Destinn, Antonio Scotti and Nellie Melba. After Donalda retired from the stage in 1922, she opened a studio in Paris, but she began to think about ways to develop a tradition of first-rate opera performance in Montréal. Upon her return to Canada in the late 1930s, she opened a teaching studio, and in 1941, founded The Opera Guild, which presented operas by composers such as Mozart, Puccini, Mussorgsky and Verdi for 28 consecutive seasons. Donalda was active in the Montréal music scene for over 30 years, and was recognized with many honours, including the Medal of the Order of Canada in 1967.

Another French-Canadian singer, Raoul Jobin (1906-1974) began his musical studies in Canada at Laval University under Émile Larochelle. His studies continued in Paris, and at the age of 24, he debuted at the Paris Opera as Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette. Nicknamed "the Golden Voice of Quebec" and "the Caruso of Canada", Jobin appeared publicly in over 3,000 performances during his career. Upon his retirement from the stage in 1957, he established a school for vocal studies in Montréal and became the president of Youth and Music of Canada.

Non-Canadian Singers in Canada

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, emigrants from many European countries arrived in Canada. Although most of these emigrants were not professional musicians, a few noteworthy singers made Canada their home, and due to their extraordinary talents as teachers and performers, Canadian opera lovers claimed these singers as their own.

Mezzo-soprano Sarah Fischer (1896-1975) was born in Paris, but came to Canada with her family in 1909. Her earliest education took place in Montréal, and in 1917, she won the prestigious Strathcona Scholarship, which allowed her to study at the Royal College of Music in London. Due to the First World War, Fischer delayed her journey to London, and her first operatic appearances took place in Montréal and Québec, including Micaëla in Carmen, Philine in Mignon, and the leading role in Délibes' Lakmé. Fischer went to London in 1919 to continue her studies, and subsequently enjoyed successes at Covent Garden and the Opéra Comique in Paris. When musical activity in Europe came to a halt due to the Second World War, Fischer returned to Canada, opened a teaching studio and established a scholarship program for talented Canadian musicians. She also organized the Sarah Fischer Concerts in Montréal, an annual four-concert series that promoted new and established Canadian talent, making possible the debut of over 650 musicians including contralto Maureen Forrester (who debuted as a soprano), pianist André Laplante and composer Violet Archer.

Tenor Hubert Eisdell (1882-1948) spent his early years in Hampstead, England but settled in Canada later in life. He came to Canada for the first time at the age of 23 to visit his cousin Sir William Mortimer Clarke, who at the time was the lieutenant-governor of Ontario, and to teach at what is now called Lakefield College in Lakefield, Ontario. Although much of his operatic career took place in England, he settled in Toronto in 1933, taught at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (now the Royal Conservatory of Music), and performed as a soloist with Toronto groups such as the Conservatory String Quartet and the Toronto Bach Choir. He married a woman from Peterborough, and from 1936 to 1947, he taught French, English and Latin and was the organist and choirmaster at Lakefield College.

The nationality of soprano Florence Easton (1882-1955) has been disputed by Canadians, Americans and the British, all who claim her as their own. Born in Yorkshire, England, Easton came to Toronto with her family at the age of six. She began her career in England, and then moved to the United States where she joined the Society of American Singers and taught in New York at the Juilliard School of Music. She toured regularly in Canada and settled in Montréal for several years as a voice teacher. Although she spent the last years of her life in New York, she was buried in Montréal.

Opera Recordings by Canadian Singers

With the invention of the phonograph in the late nineteenth century, recording became an important part of opera performance for Canadian singers and opera lovers alike. For Canadians who lived in isolated areas where live performances of opera were rare, the phonograph was a valuable invention that allowed them to listen to performances of famous singers that they would otherwise not have had the opportunity to hear.

A number of Canadian singers made recordings since 1904, and many have endured to this day.

Joseph Saucier (1869-1941) was one of the first Canadians, and perhaps the first French Canadian to record in Canada (around 1904). Specializing in the light concert repertoire, Saucier recorded "O Canada", "Minuit, chrétiens", and Tchaikovsky's Serenade de Don Juan, Op. 38, No. 1. Emma Albani made some of the earliest recordings (1904-5). Éva Gauthier recorded traditional French-Canadian songs on the Victor label in 1917 and 1918, and arias and songs by French composers on the Columbia label in 1918.

Repertoire for vocal recordings often consisted of popular parlour ballads, but performers such as Pauline Donalda, Sarah Fischer, Louise Edvina, Jeanne Gordon and Edward Johnson recorded a few operatic arias. Specializing in the light concert repertoire were Canadian singers Harold Jarvis, Craig Campbell, Paul Dufault, Geoffrey O'Hara and Hector Pellerin. Canadian tenors Henry Burr and Harry Macdonough were two of the world's most prolific recording artists.

Since 1950, opera performance in Canada has expanded considerably, and singers of international calibre continue to come out of Canada: Jon Vickers, Teresa Stratas, Maureen Forrester and Ben Heppner, to name a few. They continue the work of pioneers such as Emma Albani, Pauline Donalda and Sarah Fischer, who carved out a place in opera for Canadians through their inspiring performances and tireless devotion to opera.


  • Albani, Emma. Forty Years of Song. London : Mills & Boon, Ltd., [1911]. 285 p. AMICUS 11724047. Also published in French under the title Mémoires d'Emma Albani. L'éblouissante carrière de la plus grande cantatrice québécoise
  • Kallmann, Helmut. A History of Music in Canada 1534-1914. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1960. xiv, 317 p. AMICUS 12060681
  • Maheu, Renée. Liner notes. Les grandes voix du Canada, Volume 1 = Great voices of Canada, Vol. 1 [sound recording].  Outremont, Quebec : Analekta, [1992?]. AMICUS 127777157
  • "United States of America/Individuals with US careers/Singers (opera and concert)". Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Edited by Helmut Kallmann et al. 2nd ed. Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c1992. xxxii, 1524 p. AMICUS 12048560
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