Keep the Home Fires Burning (1914 song)

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"Keep the Home-Fires Burning"
('Till the Boys Come Home)
KeepTheHomeFiresBurning1915.png
Sheet music cover (1915 edition)
Music by Ivor Novello
Lyrics by Lena Guilbert Ford
Written 1914
Language English

Keep the Home-Fires Burning ('Till the Boys Come Home) is a British patriotic First World War song composed in 1914 by Ivor Novello with words by Lena Gilbert Ford (whose middle name was sometimes printed as "Guilbert").

The song was published first as 'Till the Boys Come Home on 8 October 1914 by Ascherberg, Hopwood, and Crew Ltd. in London.[1] A new edition was printed in 1915 with the name Keep the Home-Fires Burning.[1] The song became very popular in the United Kingdom during the war, along with It's a Long Way to Tipperary.

James F. Harrison recorded Keep the Home-Fires Burning in 1915, as did Stanley Kirkby in 1916. Another popular recording was sung by tenor John McCormack in 1917, who was also the first to record It's a Long Way to Tipperary in 1914. (See External links below to hear these recordings of Keep the Home-Fires Burning.)

There is a misconception that Ivor Novello's mother wrote the lyrics for the song (propagated—for example—by patter in recorded performances of British musical comedy duo Hinge & Bracket) but Lena Ford (an American) was a friend and collaborator of Novello, not a blood relation.

Performed by Frederick Wheeler for Edison Records in late 1915

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They were called in from the glen,
And the country found
Let no tears add to their hardships
As the soldiers pass along,
And although your heart is breaking,
Make it sing this cheery song:
Keep the Home Fires Burning,
While your hearts are yearning.
Though your lads are far away
They dream of home.
There's a silver lining
Through the dark clouds shining,
Turn the dark cloud inside out
Till the boys come home.
Overseas there came a pleading,
"Help a nation in distress."
And we gave our glorious laddies -
Honour bade us do no less,
For no gallant son of Freedom
To a tyrant's yoke should bend,
And a noble heart must answer
To the sacred call of "Friend."
Keep the Home Fires Burning,
While your hearts are yearning.
Though your lads are far away
They dream of home.
There's a silver lining
Through the dark clouds shining,
Turn the dark cloud inside out
'Til the boys come home.[2]

Cultural references[edit]

  • In the 2002 film Gosford Park, the guests at a country house are entertained by Novello (played by Jeremy Northam), who performs the song on the piano
  • Featured in the Sean O'Casey play The Plough and the Stars.
  • The main chorus is sung by the cast of M*A*S*H in Episode 127 (Season 5) "War of Nerves" during a stress relief "bon-type-fire"
  • The song is briefly heard in a scene of new Army recruits marching in a parade in the 1930 film A Soldier's Plaything.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b home fire burning Fuld, James J. (2000). The book of world-famous music: classical, popular, and folk. Courier Dover Publications. p. 316. ISBN 0-486-41475-2. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Ford, "Keep The Home-Fires Burning" (Sheet music).

Bibliography[edit]

  • Ford, Lena Guilbert (w.); Novello, Ivor (m.). "Keep the Home-Fires Burning ('Till the Boys Come Home)"(Sheet music). New York: Chappell & Co. Ltd. (1915).

External links[edit]