Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag

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"Pack Up Your Troubles"
Song
Published1915
GenreMarch
Composer(s)Felix Powell
Lyricist(s)George Henry Powell

"Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile" is the full name of a World War I marching song, published in 1915 in London. It was written by Welsh songwriter George Henry Powell under the pseudonym of "George Asaf", and set to music by his brother Felix Powell.[1][2]

It was featured in the American show Her Soldier Boy, which opened in December 1916.[3]

Performers associated with this song include Edward Hamilton, the Victor Military Band, James F. Harrison, Murray Johnson, Reinald Werrenrath, and the Knickerbocker Quartet.[4]

A later play presented by the National Theatre recounts how these music hall stars rescued the song from their rejects pile and re-scored it to win a wartime competition for a marching song.[5] It became very popular, boosting British morale despite the horrors of that war. It was one of a large number of music hall songs aimed at maintaining morale, recruiting for the forces, or defending Britain's war aims. Another of these songs, "It's a Long Way to Tipperary", was so similar in musical structure that the two were sometimes sung side by side.[6]

The Peanuts cartoon character Snoopy sometimes listened to the song as he fantasized about being a WWI flying ace. In the Halloween special, Schroeder plays a series of WWI songs on his piano, one of which was "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag". In multiple comics Snoopy can also be seen on his doghouse, singing "It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary", "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag" and "Over There". He then concludes saying "We World War I flying aces are very sentimental."[7] In another strip, he also questions how can you pack up your troubles in a kit-bag.[8]

Lyrics[edit]

The song is best remembered for its chorus:[9]

Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,
And smile,smile,smile
Don't let your laughter hit the snag,
Smile boys, that's the style.
What's the use of worrying?
It never was worth while, so
Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,
And smile,smile,smile

Don't let your laughter hit the snag,just smile,smile,smile

In other languages[edit]

The Dutch version goes:

Pak al je zorgen in je plunjezak en fluit, fluit, fluit!
Aan alle moeilijkheden heb je lak, fluit man en 't is uit!
Waarom zou je treuren, het helpt je niet vooruit,
Dus: pak al je zorgen in je plunjezak en fluit, fluit, fluit.

The Spanish version

Guarda tus penas en el fondo del morral y rie ya!
Ponte contento y así venceras la dificultad!
Siempre estarás alegre, nunca triste estaras, jamás!
Guarda tus penas en el fondo del morral y rie ya.!

The German version:

Weit ist der Weg zurück ins Heimatland, so weit, so weit
Dort bei den Sternen über'm Waldesrand liegt die alte Zeit
Jeder brave Musketier sehnt heimlich sich nach dir
Weit ist der Weg zurück ins Heimatland, ja weit, so weit!

The Norwegian translation "Legg dine sørger i en gammel sekk" (possibly 1916) and the Swedish "Lägg dina sorger i en gammal säck" (1917) were by written by Karl-Ewert Christenson (1888–1965) and recorded by singer Ernst Rolf.

Other performances[edit]

Florrie Forde performed it throughout the United Kingdom in 1916.[10]

Other performers associated with this song include Helen Clark, Reinald Werrenrath, and Oscar Seagle.[11]

Cilla Black performed the song as a comedy/singing sketch on her variety television series Surprise Surprise.

The original version was sampled in and inspired the song "Pack Up" by English musician Eliza Doolittle.

In movies[edit]

The song appears in several movies, including Pack Up Your Troubles (1932) with Laurel & Hardy, High Pressure (1932), and The Shopworn Angel (1938).[11] It is also featured in For Me and My Gal (1942) starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.

The song also featured briefly in the 1979 film All That Jazz, sung between Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider) and a hospital orderly.

Literary references[edit]

  • The title of Wilfred Owen's bitter anti-war poem "Smile, Smile, Smile" (September 1918) was derived from the song.[12]
  • Richard Thompson, famous for often dark and gloomy themes in his music, released an album in 2003 titled 'The Old Kit Bag'.[13][better source needed]
  • In John Dickson Carr's novel novel "The Devil in Velvet", the protagonist—a WWI veteran—hears the song in a nightmare of his war experiences: "He heard a great noise of voices singing to music. It was a cheerful song, roared out with mighty cheerfulness, yet underneath every word ran a strain of heartbreak." (Ch.XIV).

Video game usage[edit]

  • A female splicer can be heard singing the song in Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Part 2
  • The character Probst Wyatt III, from 2014's Wolfenstein: The New Order sings this song as part of a diversionary tactic during the game's prologue.
  • Edwards, McManus and Townsend can be heard singing this song in the chapter "Through Mud and Blood" in the Battlefield 1 campaign. It can be heard at random after the final tank battle.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Indiana University Sheet Music". Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag and smile, smile, smile. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  2. ^ Pegler, Martin, Soldiers' Songs and Slang of the Great War. Osprey Publishing, 2014, ISBN 9781427804150, pages 263–264.
  3. ^ Paas, John Roger (2014). America Sings of War: American Sheet Music from World War I. Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 38, ISBN 9783447102780.
  4. ^ Paas, John Roger (2014). America Sings of War: American Sheet Music from World War I. Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 38. ISBN 9783447102780.
  5. ^ "Productions : Pack Up Your Troubles". National Theatre. Retrieved 2007-08-23.
  6. ^ Malone, Gareth. "The Importance of WWI Songs". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  7. ^ Schulz, Charles. "Peanuts by Charles Schulz, July 6, 1966 Via @GoComics".
  8. ^ Schulz, Charles. "Peanuts by Charles Schulz, January 9, 1968 Via @GoComics".
  9. ^ Scott K. Williams (September 1, 2001). "Old Kit Bag". Retrieved 2007-08-22.
  10. ^ Tyler, Don (2016). Music of the First World War. ABC-CLIO. p. 18. ISBN 9781440839962.
  11. ^ a b Tyler, Don (2016). Music of the First World War. ABC-CLIO. p. 19. ISBN 9781440839962.
  12. ^ http://www.wilfredowen.org.uk/poetry/smile-smile-smile, accessed February 7, 2018
  13. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Old_Kit_Bag "The Old Kit Bag by Richard Thompson"

External links[edit]