Sheet Music of the Week: Inauguration Day Edition

Inauguration Day.” Music by Al W. Brown, lyrics by Harold Richard Atteridge. New York: Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., 1913.

The following is a guest post by Retired Senior Cataloger  Sharon McKinley.

Everyone loves Inauguration Day! What’s not to like? Flags fly, people cheer, and federal employees in the Washington area get the day off, because no one wants to compete with them for seats on Metro.

We in the Music Division are joining in the celebration with a few presidential songs from the It’s Showtime database.

The Passing Show of 1913  included “Inauguration Day,” by Al Brown and Harold R. Atteridge. This little ditty is one of the few that addresses this festive event directly, and we are pleased to offer it in its entirety. Cover model Charlotte Greenwood was a noted dancer with long legs and a long career in Hollywood, which included  appearances in the Carmen Miranda classic The Gang’s All Here (1943) and Oklahoma (1959).

Kisses for my President was a 1964 movie comedy starring Polly Bergen as the first woman elected president, with Fred MacMurray as the first first-hubby. The good news about this ground-breaking movie is that Polly gets elected.  The bad news is that it’s 1964, and the minute she gets pregnant, she quits, taking on her rightful role as a stay-at-home mom.  Oh, well, it was a thought, anyway.

Irving Berlin’s final musical, Mr. President, starring Robert Ryan and Nanette Fabray, included “Once ev’ry four years” and “It gets lonely in the White House.” I’ll bet it does!

“Kisses.” Music by Bronislaw Kaper, lyrics by Ric Marlow. New York: M. Witmark & Sons, 1964.

Then there’s The Phantom President, a 1932 film with George M. Cohan, Claudette Colbert, and Jimmy Durante. It features a plot device some of our candidates could put to good use: a totally boring candidate has a “stunt double” for public appearances: a medicine show pitchman. Just in case you were wondering how Durante pulled off looking like Cohan, he didn’t: Cohan played both roles. We have 2 songs from this production: “We need a man,” by Cohan, and “Give her a kiss,” by Rodgers and Hart.

I think there’s some room here for new popular songs about Election Day, and a movie or show just waiting to feature them. Start writing, and you too may someday be enshrined in our collections!

For more information about inaugurations past, check out the January/February issue of the LCM, Library of Congress Magazine, here:

One Comment

  1. Andrea Cawelti
    January 23, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Wonderful post Sharon! I’ll bet you’ve got some doozies from Gershwin, Of Thee I Sing, too. I wonder how our 20XX Inauguration Days will be enshrined in the popular culture?

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