Alt Sounds Tune of the (yester)day: Bette Midler – Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
“Midler’s personality and performance shone through to make it one of the greatest boogie songs of all time”
by Huw Hopkins, August 16, 2012
If there’s a more dangerous and powerful ball of female energy in a solo artist, she’s not on planet earth. Bette Midler’s cabaret performances wowed American culture to its core throughout the 70s, but her cover of the World War II tune ”˜Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ solidified her as the country’s sweetheart. While the song was mainly sung in choral harmony with The Harlettes, Midler’s personality and performance shone through to make it one of the greatest boogie songs of all time. The style has since been emulated by a number of artists including Christina Aguilera, but never copied.
The Story The Andrew Sisters originally recorded ”˜Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ in 1941 as an early jump blues hit to commemorate the soldiers set to leave the country to join World War II a few months later. The song was about a great soldier musician who used to play boogie woogie on the street, teaming up with other commanders to perform, however it hints at a sad ending with the lyric “he can’t blow a note if the bass and guitar isn’t with him”. The Divine Miss M was Bette Midler’s official debut album, which released three singles, ‘Do You Want To Dance?‘, ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ and ‘Friends’, two of which reached the Top 20 in the USand Canada.
- BetteBack Concert Review ~ March 28, 1973 (bootlegbetty.com)
- BetteBack: Bette Enchants Even On A Particularly Bad Night! (bootlegbetty.com)