Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition


Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

"Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" is an American patriotic song written by Frank Loesser and published as sheet music in 1942 by Famous Music Corp. The song was a response to the Attack on Pearl Harbor that marked United States involvement in World War II.

Origin of the Song

According to the song, a chaplain ("sky pilot") was with some fighting men who were being attacked by an enemy. (Generally given at the time to be the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.) He was asked to say a prayer for the men who were engaged in firing at the on-coming Japanese planes. The chaplain, put down his Bible, manned one of the ship's gun turrets and began firing back, saying, "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition". Now, however, there are facts available setting the story straight.

According to the writer, Jack S. McDowall, through the years the lyrics of the song have generally credited "a chaplain" manning the gun turrets of a ship, while under attack. "This was not true," says, McDowell.

For some time, long after the attack at Pearl Harbor, stories and reports continued to surface about the incident involving a chaplain who was to have uttered the now famous words "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition".

These stories eventually made their way through the servicemen back to the press. The press, as McDowell noted, led some writers erroneously to identify other chaplains as authors of the phrase.

Nonetheless, the real chaplain, Howell Forgy, was aboard the "USS New Orleans"; during the Japanese attack. He was a Lieutenant (j.g.) on that Sunday morning in December, 1941.

Another Lieutenant who had been in charge of an ammunition line on the "USS New Orleans" during the attack remembered.

"I heard a voice behind me saying, Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. I turned and saw Chaplain Forgy walking toward me along the line of men. He was patting the men on the back and making that remark to cheer them and keep them going. I know it helped me a lot, too", he said.

Another lieutenant j.g. said, the men aboard the "USS New Orleans" would thereafter kid Chaplain Forgy about the role he played whenever they heard the song that had been written. They also encouraged him to set the record straight as to who actually said what. According to that same lieutenant the chaplain would decline, saying he felt "the episode should remain a legend rather than be associated with any particular person". Author McDowell said that press reporters were eventually permitted to interview men of the "USS New Orleans" involved in the "ammunition" story. Chaplain Forgy's superior officers set up a meeting with some of the press and, at last, the real story of the song and the man who had inspired it was finally confirmed.

In 1942, a recording by The Merry Macs reached number 8 on the Billboard chart. The 1943 version by Kay Kyser and His Orchestra reached number 1.

Loesser donated his royalties for sale of the song to the Navy Relief Society.

A portion of the tune is sung while Hitler bows his head from news that Allied forces cut off a major assault of German U-boats in the Superman cartoon "Jungle Drums"

Modern Attributes

In modern times, the phrase has been used often in a more satirical tone, condemning war justified by religious doctrine. For example, rock band System of a Down, known for their pacifist beliefs, have frequently used the phrase as a criticism of war (see below).

At the beginning of System of a Down's music video for the demo version of "War?" in 1997, lead vocalist Serj Tankian says "Praise the lord and pass the ammunition. God wants you to go to war." The tenth track on Tankian's solo album, "Elect the Dead", is entitled "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition". The music video was shot at The Roxy in Los Angeles on August 27, 2007 and was directed by System of a Down photographer Greg Watermann.

Impatient Youth have a song titled "Praise The Lord & Pass The Ammunition" on the 1982 hardcore punk compilation "Not So Quiet on the Western Front".

{Young) Pioneers covered Impatient Youth's "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" on their 1998 final album Free the (Young) Pioneers Now!

Exodus used the phrase "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" in the song "War Is My Shepherd" from their 2004 release "Tempo of the Damned".

The Dixie Chicks, in their song "Sin Wagon", on the album "Fly", use the phrase "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" as the opening line of the chorus.

In the film "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle", Freakshow, while driving Harold and Kumar to his house, says "praise the Lord and pass the ammunition".

In the television series Oz, Donald Groves utters the phrase thile talking to reverend.

Rush used the phrase "Pray, and pass the ammunition" in the song "The Way the Wind Blows" from their 2007 release "Snakes and Arrows".

In the 2007 video game Clive Barker's "Jericho", a character by the name Father Paul Rawlings utters these very words ("Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition") to his team when he is running low on ammo.

A sourcebook for the Blessed characters of the " Deadlands Roleplaying Game" features the quote "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!" in large letters on the back cover.

In 2008 sound collage artist Conceptual Drudgery produced a mashup of the song titled "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition (George W. Mashup)" that sampled Nico Gomez' "Caballo Negro" along with other various samples, including speeches given by George W. Bush concerning the Iraq war.

References

*Wristen H. [http://my.execpc.com/~dschaaf/praise.html "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition"] . via Pearl Harbor remembered.
*Forgy HM (1944). "And Pass the Ammunition".
* [http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/object.cfm?key=35&objkey=81 "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition"] via the Smithsonian National Museum of American HistoryIn the book "Code Talkers", a soldier sings it


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition — [Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition] a popular US song during ↑World War II, written in 1942 by Frank Loesser. It was based on words said by a US Navy ↑chaplain (= priest) during the Japanese attack on ↑Pearl Harbor …   Useful english dictionary

  • Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition — a popular US song during World War II, written in 1942 by Frank Loesser. It was based on words said by a US Navy chaplain (= priest) during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. * * * …   Universalium

  • The Merry Macs — were an American close harmony pop music quartet active from the 1920s till the 1960s and best known for the hits “Mairzy Doats,” “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” and Sentimental Journey. They also sang on recordings with Bing Crosby.… …   Wikipedia

  • Elect the Dead — Studioalbum von Serj Tankian Veröffentlichung 2007 Label Serjical Strike, Reprise Records …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Elect the dead — Premier album solo de Serj Tankian, chanteur de System of a Down, disponible depuis le 23 octobre 2007. Le premier single s appelle Empty Walls. Il y a un clip pour chaque chanson, tous les clip sont sur le site officiel de Serj ainsi que sur la… …   Wikipédia en Français


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