Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy was a popular tune during World War II. The song was a major hit for The Andrews Sisters. The song is extremely upbeat in tempo for a war song.
Don Raye and Hughie Prince wrote the song. “The song is closely based on an earlier Raye-Prince hit, “Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar,” which is about a virtuoso boogie-woogie piano player.”
The Andrews Sisters recorded the song on January 2, 1941. They introduced the song and another song “Bounce Me, Brother, With a Solid Four” in the 1941 Abbott and Costello film, Buck Privates.
The Andrews Sisters would record three different versions of the song on three different labels.
Two magazine articles from 1943 credit Clarence Zylman of Muskegon, Michigan as the original Boogie Woogie Bugler. Many of the aspects of Zylman’s life agree with the song lyrics. However, he was not enlisted into the Army until June 9, 1942. The song was over a year old by this point.
Harry L. Gish, Jr. also claimed to be the original Boogie Woogie Bugler. He played at many veteran’s funerals in the 1980s and 1990s.
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song.
Bette Midler recorded her version of the song in 1972.
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” remains the Andrews Sisters signature song and was voted number 6 of 365 on the 2001 list Songs of the Century.