The woe behind World War One song Pack Up Your Troubles
It became the stiff upper lip anthem of World War One and continues to earn royalties to this day.
Yet when brothers and music hall stars George and Felix Powell penned Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag they thought it “piffle” and abandoned it.
“People would have to turn to their own talents to share music, so the sight and sound of people gathered around a piano for a sing song would have been very familiar.
“So one reason for the song success is its simplicity. It written in G major, which can be played on a wide range of instruments relatively easily.
“The first line of the song is very direct and familiar to people because it mentions a kit bag every soldier in th cheap ugg boots e country would have had a kit bag.
“The second line is about a Lucifer, which is a match which they would have used to light their cigarettes.
“So these are words that any regular Tommy would immediately connect with.”
The pair were educated at St Asaph Cathedral, where George was a chorister, and Felix is said to have been the organist by age 12.
This combination of Geo cheap ugg boots rge lyrics and Felix skill on a keyboard had already made them music hall favourites even before their most famous hit.
But Pack Up Your Troubles took them to another level of fame, with the song being translated into around a dozen languages including German.
It is success which the brothers told reporters at the time they were at a loss to understand.
“A few months later a wire [telegram message] came up to us at the Grand Theatre, Birmingham PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES FIRST PRIZE. It gave George and me the best laugh of our lives,” recalled Felix in a newspaper article at the time.
“On the following Monday we put the song into our own show at Southampton in order to it on the dog so to speak.
“By the middle of the week we were as amused as we were delighted to hear thousands of troops singing it en route for the docks.”
But with success came heartache and bitter creative differences between the brothers.
George had been a life long pacifist, and as a conscientious objector he had reservations about his tune use as a rallying cry from the outs cheap ugg boots et.
Felix on the other hand immediately signed up, and spent WW1 as a staff sergeant touring the trenches with their morale boosting ditty.
Felix Powell was haunted by the way his tune accompanied men to their deaths
But St Asaph councillor and Powell enthusiast Denise Hodgkinson said that in time even Felix became horrified by how the song was being used.
“The song was described as the most upbeat ever written, and Felix was a star at the height of music hall, in the same vein as Charlie Chaplin,” she said.
“But gradually he became ve cheap ugg boots ry upset that it was his tune which was accompanying thousands and thousands of men to their deaths.”
Felix experienced a nervous breakdown in the trenches, and ended the war a broken man.
The brothers were however reconciled and moved to Sussex, where they ran a theatre and local newspaper.