Sunday, June 5, 2011

Original Lyrics Created and Sung by Personnel of the 16th General Tent Hospital During WWII

Section of the U.S. Army 16th General Tent Hospital posted in Liege, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge.

(Sung to the tune of "Oh Tannenbaum")
First there comes a little scratch, arsphenamine, arsphenamine!
Then comes along a mucous patch, arsphenamine, arsphenamine!
The Wasserman came back four plus, the verdict was unanimous,
Arsphenamine, arsphenamine!

(Sung to the tune "Pepsi Cola Hits the Spot")
Oh, penicillin hits the spot,
Four c.c. is a helluva lot
Twice as much for syphillis too
Penicillin is the drug for you.

(Sung to the tune "I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl Who Married Dear Old Dad")
I want a beer just like the beer that pickled dear old Dad
A good old fashioned beer with lots of foam
It took six men to carry Daddy home.
I want a beer just like the beer that pickled dear old Dad.

A man without a woman is like a ship without a sail,
It's like a boat without a rudder, it's like a kite without a tail.
Now a man without a woman is the sorriest sight to see,
But there's one thing worse in the universe
And that's a woman, yes I said a woman
I mean a woman without a man.

Thanks to Muriel P. Engelman, former U.S. Army nurse with the 16th and author of the memoir Mission Accomplished: Stop the Clock, for providing these lyrics.


  1. Do you know of any songs that relate specifically to Home Front workers of WW II. Certainly "Rosie the Riveter" is one. I'm very interested in finding more. I was struck by your musings that "pop and folk music is a form of time-travel; by considering the songs that were popular at a certain point in history, one can glimpse a culture's collective soul."
    Steve Gilford
    Petaluma, CA

  2. You mentioned the only one I know, Steve, sorry! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Here's an interesting fact: the arsphenamine mentioned in the lyrics is also known as "606" because it was the 606-th compound tested in the search for syphillis treatment.