zondag 7 april 2013

Solidaritätslied (1932) / Voorwaarts en niet vergeten (1933) / Forward! We've Not Forgotten (1935)

Solidaritätslied („Vorwärts und nicht vergessen, …“)
(Solidarity Song ("Forward and don't forget, ...")

This song was written in 1931 by Bertolt Brecht (lyrics) and Hanns Eisler (music). It was first sung by Ernst Busch in the film "Kuhle Wampe"
But Bertolt Brecht had already written the first version of the lyrics in 1929  as a response to the events that took place on May 1st 1929 : "Blutmai" (Bloody May).   Read about Blutmai here

Kuhle Wampe (full title: Kuhle Wampe, oder: Wem gehört die Welt?, is a 1932 German feature film about unemployment and left wing politics in the Weimar Republic. The script was conceived and written by Bertolt Brecht. He also directed the concluding scene: a political debate between strangers on a train about the world coffee market. The rest of the film was directed by Slatan Dudow. The film music was composed by Hanns Eisler.

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Hertha Thiele (Anni) (lady with tie) and Ernst Busch (Fritz) (just behind Anni)


Kuhle Wampe itself was a tent camp on the Müggelsee in Berlin. Wampe is Berlin dialect for "belly", so the title could also be rendered "Empty (or 'cool') Belly".
The film was released on May 14, 1932.
The climax of the film depicts the return home by train (a scene that Brecht wrote personally) of Anni (playede by Hertha Thiele) and Fritz (played by Ernst Busch) as well as a handful of workers, who argue with middle-class and wealthy men and women over the Situation of the worldwide financial crisis. One of the workers notes that the well-off will not change the world in any case, to which one of the wealthy asks quizzically, “Who else, then, can change the world?” Gerda (= Martha Wolter) replies, “Those who don’t like it”.
The film ends with the singing (by Fritz (= Ernst Busch) of "Solidaritätslied" (Solidarity Song), with lyrics by Brecht and music from Hanns Eisler.

BTW You can watch the complete film (with English subtitles) here:


Ernst Busch also recorded the first version of the song in Berlin in early 1932.

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Listen HERE:

Here's another German release from the same year:


Here's a British release from the same year:


Here's an Austrian release from the same year:


A lifelong communist, Ernst Busch fled Nazi Germany in 1933 with the Gestapo on his heels, settling first in the Netherlands. Here he also sang a Dutch version of "Solidaritätslied"
The original lyrics were adapted by the Dutch lyricist M.Vos.


In the Fall of 1935, in New York, USA, The New Singers recorded "Forward! We've Not Forgotten" (English lyrics by Henry Jordan) as the B-side of "The Internationale" on the Timely Records label.

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Listen here:

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When the composer of "Solidaritätslied", Bertolt Brecht appeared before House Committee on Un-American Activities, they asked him: Are you the author of a song beginning with the words "Forward, not forgetting?" No, Brecht said politely, I'm not. Consternation. Are you saying you didnt write the song called "Solidarity", which opens with those words? That's right, said Brecht. There was a pause, while the prosecutor tried to work out how to deal with this. Then Brecht said, I did once write a song in German which had similar lyrics.

In 1964 Eric Bentley covered "Solidaritätslied" on his album "Songs of Hans Eisler".


On this album is also the first version of "To the Little Radio", which was covered by Sting in 1987 as "The Secret Marriage".


In 1970 the Dutch choir Morgenrood Rotterdam covered "Solidariteitslied" on an album


In 1972 the Dutch group De Volharding covered "Solidariteitslied" on the next EP:

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German band Lokomotive Kreuzberg recorded "Solidaritätslied" in 1972 on the next album


Covered in 1975 by the German Duo Hein & Oss on the next album


Recorded by German artist Hannes Wader in 1977;


In 1979 George Groot wrote another Dutch version of "Solidaritätslied". He was a member of the Dutch cabaret-group Don Quishocking. They recorded their version for the album "Trappen Op"


Covered in 1982 by Wim De Craene and Perte Totale ("Solidariteitslied") on the album "Boos Blijven" on the Varagram label. With an adaption by Wim De Craene, they brought it as a reggae-version


In 1987 Dutch singer Frits Lambrechts adapted a version as "Voorwaarts en niet Vergeten", which he also sang in 1988 at the funeral of Joop den Uyl (leader of the left-wing Partij van de Arbeid) and prime-minister of The Netherlands from 1973 to 1977.


In 1996 the Don Quishocking-version was covered in the theater production "Tip Top" in which it was sung by Jenny Arean and Lucretia van der Vloot.


(c) Jefferson Airplane (1989) (Solidarity)

This version with English lyrics by Bertolt Brecht and music by Jefferson Airplane's member Marty Balin is contained on the album "Jefferson Airplane".


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