Band Played On, The
DESCRIPTION: Known by the chorus, "Casey would waltz with a strawberry blonde, and the band played on...." The verses concern the social club founded by Matt Casey, and the kissing, courting, and dancing which took place there
AUTHOR: Words: John F. Palmer / Music: Charles B. Ward
EARLIEST DATE: 1895 (New York World)
KEYWORDS: courting dancing music
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 163-164, "The Band Played On" (1 text, 1 tune)
Geller-Famous, pp. 75-80, "The Band Played On" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gilbert, p. 254, "The Band Played On" (1 partial text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 246, "The Band Played On" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, p. 123, "The Band Played On"
ADDITIONAL: Robert A. Fremont, editor, _Favorite Songs of the Nineties_, Dover Publications, 1973, pp. 15-19, "The Band Played On" (1 text, 1 tune, a copy of the original sheet music)
Margaret Bradford Boni, editor, _Songs of the Gilded Age_, with piano arrangements by Norman Lloyd and illustrations by Lucille Corcos, Golden Press, 1960, pp. 64-66, "The Band Played On" (1 text, 1 tune)
Dan Quinn, "The Band Played On" (Berliner 0961, 1898)
NOTES: According to Gilbert, Palmer could not sell this song to anyone. One day, Ward heard him humming the tune, took it and touched it up, and thus was a hit born.
James J. Geller's story is more detailed. Palmer's sister Pauline had ordered breakfast, but her servant did not respond quickly; there was a street band performing. Pauline tried to hurry the servant, but Palmer said, "Let the band play on." Pauline told him that that would be a good song title.
Palmer eventually evolved the story of Matt Casey, his social club, and his wooing of his strawberry blonde wife. The rest is as in Gilbert.
Jon W. Finson, The Voices That Are Gone: Themes in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Song, Oxford University Press, 1994, p. 72, observes that the verse of this is a march, the chorus a waltz -- there was a waltz craze in the late nineteenth century. Interesting that the only part people remember is th chorus. The waltz also was considered to have slightly erotic undertones -- waltzing together implied strong attraction.
An 1878 song by Harrigan and Braham was called "The Casey Social Club"; I don't know if it provided a degree of inspiration. - RBW
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