We're Going to Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line
|"We're Going to Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line"|
"We're Going to Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line" is a popular song by Ulster songwriter Jimmy Kennedy, written whilst he was a Captain in the British Expeditionary Force during the early stages of the Second World War, with music by Michael Carr. It was first published in 1939.
Background and composition
At the first big wartime variety concert organized by ENSA, which was broadcast by the BBC from RAF Hendon in North London on 17 October 1939, Adelaide Hall performed the song accompanied by Mantovani and his orchestra. A rare newsreel of this concert exists, and the footage is thought to be the earliest surviving film of a performer singing the song.
We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line.
Have you any dirty washing, mother dear?
We're gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line.
'Cause the washing day is here.
Leslie Sarony (1897–1985) and Leslie Holmes added some possibly unofficial lines. The Sarony and Holmes version put "Mother dear, I'm writing you from somewhere in France" at the start and then, after the main section, added four lines starting "Everybody's mucking in and doing their job".
Yeah, my boy, you thought it would be so easy
At the great Washing Day on the German Rhine.
Oh, and you really filled your trousers, didn't you?
And when the German Washing Day is over,
Man, you won't need any more washing.
- Rubinstein (ed.), William D. The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. p. 143.
- Mantovani: A Lifetime in Music by Colin MacKenzie, page 78: ISBN 978-1905226191
- "We`re Gonna Hang Out Our Washing On The Siegfried Line". YouTube. 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
- Sheldon Winkler, The Music of World War II: War Songs and Their Stories, Merriam Press, 2013, p.98
- "Wir trocknen uns're Wäsche an der Siegfried-Linie".
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