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In The Good Old Summertime: 1900-1909

By oldwinebottle in Culture
Tue Jan 16, 2007 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: music, ragtime, old, k5 aint dying (all tags)

Standing on the threshold of the 20th century, the world seemed so young and carefree. In the warm summer air, the songs of birds could be heard and at times drowned out by the whir of the lawn mower. The clip clop of horses' hooves could be heard along the unpaved streets where children played their games.

In the cool evenings, the lamplighter made his rounds. Shadows danced off buildings and sidewalks. There were those who enjoyed swinging lazily in the hammock or lazily gliding their canoe on some moonlit lake.

Everything seemed settled and comfortable in familiar patterns, but there were changes in the wind. In a little more than 15 years, there would be almost three quarters of a million Model T Fords on the roads in North America.

Telephones were found mainly in business offices. The first airplane in the British Empire was McCurdy's Silver Dart. This same year, the first Grey Cup was played and University of Toronto defeated Parkdale.

In the first decade of the 20th century, the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were created, the Northwest Passage was trasversed. and Enrico Caruso made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera House and Florenz Ziegfled produced his first Follies.

Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home

This is one of the most popular of all ragtime songs. It was first sung in 1902 in Town Topics, a musical by Johnny Queen. Hughie Cannon was the composer of "Bill Bailey." This song became a standby for any singer who wanted a lively opening number or a grande finale.

This hit was written to publicize the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis. Others say it was for the real Bill Bailey, whose wife apparently kicked him out for his fooling around.

The popularity of this song was renewed when Judy Garland sang it in her movie Meet Me in St. Louis.

Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider

This song was written by Eddie Leonard, the last of the great minstrels. He was on the verge of losing his job with Primrose and West's Minstrels in 1903 when he sang "ida" in place of the song he was assigned. Reaction by the crowd not only guaranteed his job but was the beginning of his stardom in minstrels in vaudeville.

I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now

A great success for Joe. E. Howard for fifty years after he introduced it in 1909 in The Prince of Tonight. Harold Orlob wrote the song but Howard was given the credit for forty years. Much later, Orlob was also given credit as co-composer with Howard.

Sweet Adeline

Composed and written by a barbershop quartet enthusiast, Harry Armstrong. This type of musical form was encouraged by the appearance of songs giving themselves to enthusiastic, ad libbing harmonizing.

John F. Kennedy, used it as his campaign song when he ran for mayor of Boston.

Under the Bamboo Tree

A ragtime song that came out in 1902, and adapted from two different sources - the Negro spiritual "Nobody Knows the Trouble I See" and "The Flatterer" - by a vaudeville team of  Bob Cole and J. Rosamond Johnson.

While walking down the street one night, Johnson kept humming the lyrics to "Nobody Knows the Trouble I See" when Cole exclaimed that was what they needed for their act. Johnson protested, saying it was a spiritual song and it couldn't be done. The tune was changed somewhat and some catchy words were written. Johnson then composed a verse. The song was not a hit until Marie Cahill sang it in her musical "Sally In Our Alley.

Memories, Memories: 1910-1919

 The First World War, which started in 1914, ending on the 11th hour of the 11th day on the 11th month in 1918. The final Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th, 1919. Despite the somberness and the agony of the day, the lighter side of life kept rising to the top.

Ragtime was the rage, bringing with it such lively named dances as the turkey trot and the grizzly bear. Dance bands led by Paul Whiteman, Vincent Lopez and Isham Jones began to be heard. Bobbed hair was a new fashion that was welcomed by women when the war ended. The hats of Queen Mary of Great Britain inspired the ladies turban.

Fashionable people discovered Ping-Pong, movies, which had been shown in cramped nickelodeons, were now acquiring theaters of their own. Charlie Chaplin began making two-reel comedies, Theda Bara was battling her black-ringed eyes, Mack Sennett introduced his bathing beauties and the first wave of great movies stars was arriving - Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, William S. Hart, Wallace Reid.

By 1919, jazz was taking over from ragtime. Prohibition had been decreed in the United States and women's skirts had already risen six inches above the ground. Women were also given the right to vote in federal elections.

For Me and My Gal

This song has remained one of the most popular of all songs for half a century. Al Jolson, Sophie Tucker, Belle Baker, Eddie Cantor and other favorites of the day all sang For Me and My Girl

Composer Meyer made it clear as to what girl he had in mind in writing this tune: He had the title inscribed on the tombstone of his wife.


This was one of the great cheerup songs of World War 1. There is no reference to the war in it, but it was the kind of song people were looking for in those bleak war days.

Lee Roberts, jotted down his smiling tune on the back of a cigarette package and sent it to a friend, J. Will Callahan, who wrote the lyric. They couldn't find a publisher, so published it themselves and within six months reaped the profits from the sale of 2,000,000 copies of sheet music.

Waiting for the Robert E. Lee

This ragtime song was composed by Lewis F. Muir, and portrayed the full flavor of life on the Mississippi River. Muir was a ragtime pianist who got his start playing in the honky-tonks of St. Louis during the Exposition in 1904.

"Waiting for the Robert E. Lee" was actually the product of an unfavorable review of another of Muir's songs, "When Ragtime Rosy Rags the Rosary." L. Wolfe Gilbert, in his newspaper column, called it a sacrilege. "If you know much about music," Muir wrote to Gilbert in reply, "why don't you write a song with me? Maybe you'd like to see your name on the cover." Gilbert took up the challenge, basing his lyrics on his memories of Negroes unloading freight on the levee at Baton Rouge.

Al Jolson introduced the song at a Sunday evening concert at the Winter Gardens in 1912. Eddie Cantor and Belle Baker also helped to popularize its high-spirited tune and catchy lyrics.

Lewis F. Muir could only play in one key but he had a mechanism on his piano which enabled him to play in any key he wanted to.

My Melancholy Baby

This became, like "Three O'Clock in the Morning," a classic expression of an end of the evening feeling. When it was first popularized by Paul Whiteman's orchestra, it was played at a lively tempo. But later the mood-setting, atmospheric qualities of the song were brought out by singers who performed it with an intimate touch. Tommy Lyman, a singer who usually went to work at midnight and sang into the very small hours of the morning, helped to popularize this treatment of the song in the '30s and '40s.

These are but a few of the memories of our time.


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Related Links
o McCurdy's Silver Dart.
o Grey Cup
o Florenz Ziegfled
o Bill Bailey,
o "ida"
o Harry Armstrong.
o Marie Cahill
o The First World War
o Muir
o L. Wolfe Gilbert,
o Also by oldwinebottle

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In The Good Old Summertime: 1900-1909 | 44 comments (28 topical, 16 editorial, 2 hidden)
ragtime is great (2.66 / 3) (#1)
by trane on Tue Jan 16, 2007 at 11:10:58 PM EST

jazzers like to play maple leaf rag.

ragtime has syncopation and sophisticated harmony but lacks improvisation and doesn't swing as hard as the stuff coming out of new orleans...

Greatest American Composer (none / 0) (#42)
by mike3k on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 03:42:40 PM EST

The composer of Maple Leaf Rag, Scott Joplin, was America's greatest composer. He even wrote an opera, which was performed for the first time in the 1970s.

[ Parent ]
Most people don't (2.66 / 3) (#7)
by mybostinks on Tue Jan 16, 2007 at 11:59:43 PM EST

realize it but Ragtime when it first came out was as radical and controversial as Rap and Hip Hop are today.

Oh for sure it was. There always seems (none / 0) (#8)
by oldwinebottle on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 12:03:26 AM EST

to be some type of music with each generation that is different and causes concerns, mainly for parents.

[ Parent ]
It was Beethoven in his time and (none / 1) (#23)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 03:45:15 PM EST

various other classical artists in their own. Music is always controversial for the stupidest of reasons.


Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

The Maple Leaf rag was the first million-seller (2.66 / 3) (#11)
by MichaelCrawford on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 12:39:07 AM EST

But back in those days, you had to make your own music: it sold a million copies of its sheet music.

I don't know the numbers, but I'm sure that back then far more people were taught to play an instrument than today. Why, even as late as the 1940's, Grandpa Crawford bought a piano from a door-to-door piano salesman!

(It's the piano I used for my album.)


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

I found a link you might be interested in. (none / 1) (#12)
by oldwinebottle on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 12:58:12 AM EST

It is Scott Joplin and Maple Leaf Rag.

[ Parent ]
Much obliged! (none / 0) (#14)
by MichaelCrawford on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 01:23:47 AM EST

You should link it from your story.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

[ Parent ]

key part (none / 0) (#15)
by trane on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 01:41:18 AM EST

"1918 Young pianists like James P. Johnson and Jelly Roll Morton are studying and performing Joplin's works, but introduce elements of rhythmic drive, showmanship, and improvisation. New styles are being created: stride piano, and jazz, which will eclipse ragtime as a popular trend."

Like i said, improvisation and more swing makes jazz more interesting than ragtime...

[ Parent ]

*Every*body had a piano (none / 1) (#43)
by rhdntd on Fri Jan 19, 2007 at 06:41:56 PM EST

Technology would change everything later, but back then as a songwriter you absolutely "went platinum" (not that they had ever heard the term) on millions of copies of sheet music. Any middle-class family had a piano and any educated person could sight-read at least the harmony off the latest hit. Interesting history in this book if you run across it. (You'll have to buy it if you like my review.)

"book chicks really seem to like anal"
  — Lady 3Jane
[ Parent ]
We find it outrageous (2.00 / 3) (#13)
by United Fools on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 01:02:30 AM EST

that Global Warming was not mentioned. How could such a crisis be ignored?
We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
that always pissed me off (1.11 / 9) (#16)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 01:44:40 AM EST

"ending on the 11th hour of the 11th day on the 11th month"

you realize of course, that these assholes postponed the end of the war by a few days so they could have this magic number right?

and what happened in those few days? well, there was a war: guys got killed

so for the sake of cutesy numerology by politicians and generals eating poptarts far from the battlefield, men's lives were lost

seriously, i swear, they should pick the name of the guy who proposed this 11th of the 11th of the 11th bullshit out of the history books and ruin his good name and spit on his grave, as an anal retentive evil asshole who killed men for the sake of cutesy number games school kids play

yeah real fucking cute, lots of 11s

lets let dozens of guys die for that, right?

fucking evil pricks

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Absolute bullshit. (3.00 / 11) (#24)
by TDS on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 03:54:51 PM EST

The Armistice occurred 6 hours after the final revised terms were accepted by Matthias Erzberger, the leader of German delegation.

Fighting on the 10th November, 1918, specifically the advance of the 163rd Infantry Division was designed to put pressure on the German delegation who had been refusing to sign since the terms were put to them on the 8th.

Fighting continued on the 11th sporadically after the armistice was signed at 5am (well, 5.05am actually) but that was attributable to poor communications. In any case, the front lines ceased firing at 10am, which doesn't match your conspiracy theory anyway.

Still why let the facts get in the way huh.

And when we die, we will die with our hands unbound. This is why we fight.
[ Parent ]

but F. Scott Fitzegerald (none / 1) (#21)
by l1ttledrummerb0y2 on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 12:37:20 PM EST

didn't put it on k5, did he?

Uhhhh...I think that would Canadiana, douchebag (none / 1) (#22)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 03:23:02 PM EST


Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.

BEAUT-1FUL (2.50 / 2) (#35)
by Psychology Sucks on Thu Jan 18, 2007 at 04:25:59 AM EST

how i voted (2.50 / 2) (#36)
by CAIMLAS on Thu Jan 18, 2007 at 05:33:00 AM EST

I voted -1 because just as I was trying to get into the flow of what you were saying, and thought I had a pretty good idea at that, you changed the fucking topic like some sort of household cat tripping on a psychosomatic drug plays with toys.

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.

i love it .. easy to, follow! ++ (2.50 / 2) (#39)
by spidy on Thu Jan 18, 2007 at 03:50:27 PM EST

In The Good Old Summertime: 1900-1909 | 44 comments (28 topical, 16 editorial, 2 hidden)
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