Song Lyric Sunday – Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

The prompts for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday are provided by our friend Maggie, from Cave Walls. She has asked us to find a song that features wind instruments which includes Brass instruments (horns, trumpets, trombones, euphoniums, and tubas) and Woodwind instruments (recorders, flutes, oboes, clarinets, saxophones, and bassoons) An old World War II song, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by The Andrews Sisters was the first thing That came to mind. It’s a classic that has been redone a few times (see other videos at the end of this post) but I think the original is still the best. It may be a popular pick today.

The Song

Written by Don Raye and Hughie Prince, this jump-blues number is about a trumpeter from Chicago who’s drafted into the army during World War II and shakes up Reveille as the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B. It was originally intended for Lou Costello to perform in the 1941 Abbott & Costello comedy, Buck Privates, but was reworked for The Andrews Sisters, who introduced it in the film. The trio also released the tune as a single that same year, and it peaked at #6.

This was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, but lost to “The Last Time I Saw Paris” from Lady Be Good.

Raye and Prince also wrote the hits “Rhumboogie” and “Beat Me Daddy, Eight To the Bar” for The Andrews Sisters.

This inspired Christina Aguilera’s 2006 single “Candyman,” which was written by Linda Perry and sung in the style of The Andrews Sisters.

In 1943, Stars & Stripes magazine and Billboard magazine both claimed the song was based on a soldier named Clarence Zylman of Muskegon, Michigan. Private Zylman was a trumpeter in Tommy Tucker’s orchestra who found himself blowing the morning wake-up call for a company of sleepy soldiers who didn’t appreciate the jolt from slumber. To ease their grumpiness, Zylman shirked regulation and added some swing to Reveille that had them boogying out of bed. Zylman, however, didn’t enlist in the Army until June 9, 1942 – a year after the song debuted.

Another claimant to the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” title was Harry L. Gish Jr., a trumpeter who played Raye-Prince songs as a studio member of Will Bradley’s All Star Orchestra. He became a well-known bugler in the Army Air Corps and, in the ’80s and ’90s, donned his uniform to perform at services for veterans’ funerals.

The Andrews Sisters also recorded new versions for Capitol Records in 1956 and Dot Records in 1962.

The Andrews Sisters sang this again in the 1943 movie Swingtime Johnny, where they play themselves as factory workers who moonlight as nightclub singers. At one point, they try to prove their identity by singing the tune as it plays on a sidewalk radio. But no one buys it, including a man who says, “Every time three dames get together, they think they’re The Andrews Sisters.”

Bette Midler brought this back to the charts in 1972 when she recorded it for her debut album, The Divine Miss M. Her version, produced by Barry Manilow, peaked at #8 on the Hot 100. It was also reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Thanks to the hit cover, The Andrews Sisters experienced a career resurgence that included a successful Broadway debut for two of the sisters, Patty and Maxene, in 1974.

The R&B/pop trio En Vogue recorded a version about a “boogie woogie hip-hop boy” for their 1990 debut album, Born To Sing.

Katy Perry, Keri Hilson, and Jennifer Nettles performed this on the 2010 special VH1 Divas Salute The Troops.

In 2015, Rebecca Ferguson, Pixie Lott, and Laura Wright sang this at the 1940s-themed concert VE Day 70: A Party to Remember in London.

Pentatonix recorded an a cappella version for their 2017 Classics EP.

This inspired the 1941 cartoon short Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B, from Walter Lantz Productions, about a jazz club trumpeter who’s drafted into the Army as a bugler for an African American company.

Patty Andrews of The Andrews Sisters performed this with Lucille Ball, Lucie Arnaz, and Desi Arnaz Jr. on the 1969 Here’s Lucy episode “Lucy And The Andrews Sisters.”

This was referenced in the Sesame Street song “Dance Myself To Sleep” when Ernie christened Rubber Duckie “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Duck Of Sesame Street.”

This was used on Scream Queens (“Rapunzel, Rapunzel” – 2016), Army Wives (“As Time Goes By…” – 2009), Cold Case (“Family 8108” – 2007), The Proud Family – (“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” – 2003), and Boy Meets World (“No Guts, No Cory” – 1997). 

It was also prominently featured in these TV shows:

Outlander (“The Search” – 2015): Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a WWII nurse transported to 1743, sings this on the journey to find her kidnapped husband, who will be tipped-off by the modern tune.

Two And A Half Men (“818-jklpuzo” – 2009): Performed by Charlie’s ex-fiancee, Mia (Emmanuelle Vaugier), an aspiring singer.

The Simpsons (“Catch ‘Em If You Can” – 2004): The Andrews Sisters’ Capitol Records cut is playing on a record player that two old men are carrying around.

A Different World (“War And Peace” – 1991): When their friend is called to active duty in the Persian Gulf, Whitley (Jasmine Guy), Jaleesa (Dawnn Lewis), and Kim (Charnele Brown), don military uniforms and perform the tune in his honor.

Mama’s Family (“Flaming Forties” – 1983) Thelma (Vicki Lawrence), Fran (Rue McClanahan), and Naomi (Dorothy Lyman) lip-sync to The Andrews Sisters tune during an impromptu performance at a high school dance.

This was also used in these movies:

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)
Swing (2014)
Red Tails (2012)
21 And A Wake-Up (2009)
Land Of The Lost (2009)
Wah-Wah (2005)
Racing With The Moon (1984)
Saboteur (1942)

In the 1997 miniseries The Shining, this is performed by an orchestra conducted by the story’s author, Stephen King.

The Lyrics

He was a famous trumpet man from out Chicago way
He had a boogie style that no one else could play
He was the top man at his craft
But then his number came up and he was gone with the draft
He's in the army now, a blowin' reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

They made him blow a bugle for his Uncle Sam
It really brought him down because he couldn't jam
The captain seemed to understand
Because the next day the cap' went out and drafted a band
And now the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

A toot, a toot, a toot diddelyada toot
He blows it eight to the bar, in boogie rhythm
He can't blow a note unless the bass and guitar is playin' with 'I'm
He makes the company jump when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

He was our boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B
And when he plays boogie woogie bugle he was buzy as a bzzz bee
And when he plays he makes the company jump eight to the bar
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Toot toot toot, toot diddelyada, toot diddelyada
Toot, toot, he blows it eight to the bar
He can't blow a note if the bass and guitar isn't with 'I'm
A a a and the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

He puts the boys asleep with boogie every night
And wakes 'em up the same way in the early bright
They clap their hands and stamp their feet
Because they know how he plays when someone gives him a beat
He really breaks it up when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Da doo da da doo da da da
Da doo da da doo da da da
Da doo da da doo da da da
Da doo da da doo da da
A a a and the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Publisher: THE SONGWRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Courtesy of Songfacts

  34 comments for “Song Lyric Sunday – Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

  1. November 1, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    I love this song and especially when the Divine Miss M does it!

  2. November 1, 2021 at 11:00 am

    I didn’t know this song had been used in so many films. Learned something new today.

    • Christine Bolton
      November 1, 2021 at 10:01 pm

      Yes, isn’t it amazing what you can find out. I had forgotten it was in Outlander as well ☺️

  3. November 1, 2021 at 10:25 am

    Brilliant choice really love this big band swing 😍

    • Christine Bolton
      November 1, 2021 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks Willow. Yes I love it too. Reminds me of my parents 💕☺️

      • November 2, 2021 at 6:41 am

        Were they listeners, dancers or both 💜💜

      • Christine Bolton
        November 2, 2021 at 5:26 pm

        Listeners, although they did like dancing. I think everyone loved it back then.☺️💕

      • November 2, 2021 at 6:53 pm

        Yes indeed 💜

  4. October 31, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    I love the video for ‘”Candyman”…

    • Christine Bolton
      October 31, 2021 at 8:44 pm

      Yes Christina sounded fantastic didn’t she?

  5. October 31, 2021 at 12:33 pm

    Great choice, Christine. I grew up listening to this as my parents loved the Andrews Sisters. Nice pick for today.

    • Christine Bolton
      October 31, 2021 at 1:19 pm

      Thanks Maggie. Yes mine too ☺️💕 It was a great prompt!

  6. Anonymous
    October 31, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    Outstanding!!! I love this song. Reminds me of my parents.

    • Anonymous
      October 31, 2021 at 12:25 pm

      Not sure why I’m anonymous. It’s Jilly.

      • Christine Bolton
        October 31, 2021 at 1:18 pm

        Thanks Jilly ☺️💕 that happens to me sometimes 🤣

  7. October 31, 2021 at 11:16 am

    We’ve only been out jiving twice since dancehall lockdown was lifted. Got to get out for a boogie woogie!!! 😉

    • Christine Bolton
      October 31, 2021 at 1:18 pm

      That’s great Laura! Hope you get to boogie Woogie as much as you want! ☺️💕

  8. October 31, 2021 at 7:14 am

    Love it! I love the music of the 40’s.

    • Christine Bolton
      October 31, 2021 at 1:17 pm

      Just they are fun aren’t they Kristian. Thanks! ☺️💕

  9. October 31, 2021 at 6:03 am

    Spot on!!!

    • Christine Bolton
      October 31, 2021 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks Janis ☺️💕

  10. October 31, 2021 at 1:48 am

    This is a true “blast from the past.”

    • Christine Bolton
      October 31, 2021 at 1:09 pm

      Thanks Fan. It certainly is! ☺️👍

  11. October 31, 2021 at 1:23 am

    Such a fun and upbeat song Christine!

    • Christine Bolton
      October 31, 2021 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks Ingrid. Our parents generation ☺️💕

  12. October 31, 2021 at 12:12 am

    Great choice Christine! <3 Nice song!

    • Christine Bolton
      October 31, 2021 at 1:06 pm

      Thanks Carol Anne. Happy you liked it ☺️💕

  13. October 30, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks for adding this Christine, as it is a perfect natch for the theme.

    • Christine Bolton
      October 31, 2021 at 12:04 am

      Thanks so much Jim. I’m happy it worked ☺️

  14. October 30, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Great pick! PERFECT! 😊👍💜

    • Christine Bolton
      October 31, 2021 at 12:03 am

      Thanks so much Jen ☺️💕 I’m happy you liked my choice!

      • October 31, 2021 at 12:31 am

        Loved it. 😊💕

Comments are closed.