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Catalog Data

Loesser, Frank  Search this
Kyser, Kay  Search this
Loesser, Frank  Search this
Famous Music Corp.  Search this
Physical Description:
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 12 in x 9 in; 30.48 cm x 22.86 cm
Object Name:
sheet music
Place made:
United States: New York, New York
Date made:
<P>This sheet music is for the sonfg “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!” with words and music by Frank Loesser. It was published by Famous Music Corp. in New York, New York in 1942.</p>
<p>On a Sunday morning in December 1941, a chaplain had his most difficult assignment — to say a prayer to sailors aboard a U.S. navy ship actively under low–flying attack by the enemy firing from all directions. He quickly realized the best he could do was walk the ammunition line saying, “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!” Stories of the overheard phrase quickly turned into legend and passed between soldiers, eventually reaching the press and one Broadway composer and lyricist, Frank Loesser. He served in the Radio Productions Unit charged with mounting shows of popular guest stars for boosting morale of the troops.</p>
<P>With the phrase as the song title, he combined the stories into one set of lyrics — fact mattered not as much as the need to inspire spirit. By 1943, the song, performed by Kay Kaiser and His Orchestra, had reached no. 1 on the Billboard chart, surpassing its peak of no. 8 the previous year when performed by the Merry Macs. Loesser donated his royalties for sale of the song to the Navy Relief Society. The chaplain originally quoted wished to remain anonymous, and the episode to remain legend. Many variations on the tale, the name of the chaplain, whether or not he himself manned a gun turret to participate in the battle, and the battle's whereabouts have existed over the years.</p>
Currently not on view
Related event:
World War I  Search this
Related Publication:
Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition
Lyrics to "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" transcribed by Ronald E. Hontz
Frank Loesser: The Official Website
Forgy, Chaplain Howell M.. And Pass the Ammunition
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Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
Popular Entertainment
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source:
National Museum of American History