The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans” by Noel Coward

Record players made their way into family living rooms in the 1940s. Music was used to drown out the horrific news of WWII constantly being broadcasted over the radio. In 1943, English singer and playwright Noel Coward debuted his song “Don’t Let’s be Beastly to the Germans”

 Sung in his well-known staccato singing style, Coward described the song as “a satire dedicated against a small minority of excessive humanitarians… taking a too tolerant view of our enemies”.

 The UK quickly exploded with controversy. Many listeners believed the song was written to encourage Nazi support. Coward received insulting letters from listeners, causing the BBC to ban the song on the radio entirely. But not everyone despised the song. Winston Churchill was a huge fan. He adored the satire so much, he had Coward perform the song seven times at a private event.

The tune resurfaced in the UK in the early 2000s during The War on Terror. It was rewritten as “Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Muslims” only this time, it was actually made to show support for the Muslim community. 

References:

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/noel-coward/dont-lets-be-beastly-to-the-germans
https://www.retrowaste.com/1940s/music-in-the-1940s/ http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/40smusic.html https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/world-war-ii-history http://thebullelephant.com/dont-lets-be-beastly/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No%C3%ABl_Coward#Personal_life https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No%C3%ABl_Coward https://www.songfacts.com/facts/noel-coward/dont-lets-be-beastly-to-the-germans

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