Saturday, 30 September 2006

Lili Marleen


Underneath the lantern,
By the barrack gate
Darling I remember
The way you used to wait
'Twas there that you whispered tenderly,
That you loved me,
You'd always be,
My Lili of the Lamplight,
My own Lili Marleen

Time would come for roll call,
Time for us to part,
Darling I'd caress you
And press you to my heart,
And there 'neath that far-off lantern light,
I'd hold you tight ,
We'd kiss good night,
My Lili of the Lamplight,
My own Lili Marleen

Orders came for sailing,
Somewhere over there
All confined to barracks
was more than I could bear
I knew you were waiting in the street
I heard your feet,
But could not meet,
My Lili of the Lamplight,
my own Lili Marleen

Resting in our billets,
Just behind the lines
Even tho' we're parted,
Your lips are close to mine
You wait where that lantern softly gleams,
Your sweet face seems
To haunt my dreams
My Lili of the Lamplight,
My own Lili Marleen.

This is the version sung by Vera Lynn. Listen to it at the link below - she has such an incredible voice - it sends shivers down my spine.


... and this is the version sung by Marlene Dietrich

Outside the barracks, by the corner light,
I'll always stand and wait for you at night,
we will create a world for two,
I'll wait for you the whole night through,
for you, Lili Marleen,
for you, Lili Marleen.

Bugle tonight don't play the call to arms,
I want another evening with her charms,
then we will say goodbye and part,
I'll always keep you in my heart,
with me, Lili Marleen,
with me, Lili Marleen.

Give me a rose to show how much you care,
tie to the stem a lock of golden hair,
surely tomorrow you'll feel blue,
but then will come a love that's new,
for you, Lili Marleen,
for you, Lili Marleen.

When we are marching in the mud and cold,
and when my pack seems more than I can hold,
my love for you renews my might,
I'm warm again, my pack is light,
it's you, Lili Marleen,
it's you, Lili Marleen.

Listen to the bugle, hear its silvery call
Carried by the night air, telling one and all
Now is the time to meet your pearl
To meet your girl, to meet your sir
As once I met Marlene
My sweet Lili Marlene.

Underneath the lantern by the barrack's gate
There I met Marlene, every night at eight
That was a time in early spring
When birds all sing and love was king
Of my heart and Marlene's
Of my heart and Marlene's.

Waiting for the drum beat signalling retreat
Walking in the shadow where all lovers meet
Yes those were days of long ago
I loved her so, I couldn't know
That time would part Marlene
That time would part Marlene.

Then I heard the bugle calling me away
By the gate I kissed her, kissed her tears away
and by the flickering lantern's light
I held her tight, 'twas our last night
My last night with Marlene
My last night with Marlene.

Still I hear the bugle, hear its silvery call
Carried by the night air, telling one and all
Now is the time to meet your pearl
To meet your girl, to meet your sir
As once I met Marlene
My sweet Lili Marlene.

... this is the version sung by Lale Andersen (link below) but I am not sure of some of the words because they are a bit indistinct on the recording and I cannot find a copy of the lyrics on the WWW. I have also changed the spelling of Marleen to Marlene to match Lale's pronunciation.

Surely the favourite song of soldiers during World War II, Lili Marleen became the unofficial anthem of the foot soldiers of both forces in the war.

Original German lyrics from a poem The Song of a Young Sentry by World War I German soldier, Hans Leip *22.9.1893 in Hamburg, †6.6.1983 in Fruthwilen, near Frauenfeld (Thurgau), Switzerland who wrote these verses before going to the Russian front in 1915, combining the name of his girlfriend, Lili (the daughter of a grocer), with that of a friend's girlfriend or by a wave given to Leip, while he was on sentry duty, by a young nurse named "Marleen" as she disappeared into the evening fog.

His poem was later published in a collection of his poetry in 1937.

Recorded just before the war by Lale Andersen (Eulalia Bunnenberg), the song sold just 700 copies, until German Forces Radio began broadcasting it to the Afrika Korps in 1941.

The songs was immediately banned in Germany, for its portentous character, which did nothing to slow its spread in popularity.

After the German occupation of Yugoslavia, a radio station was established in Belgrade and beamed news, and all the propaganda fit to air, to the Africa Corps. Lieutenant Karl-Heinz Reintgen, the director of Radio Belgrade had a friend in the Africa Corps who had liked the tune. He aired Lale Anderson's version for the first time on 18. August 1941. General Feldmarschall Rommel liked the song and asked Radio Belgrade to incorporate the song into their broadcasts, which they did. The song soon became the signature of the broadcast and was played at 9:55 pm, just before sign-off.

After the song was broadcast there was no holding it back. The Allies listened to it and Lili Marleen became the favourite tune of soldiers on both sides, regardless of language.

The immense popularity of the German version spawned a hurried English version, supposedly when a British song publisher named J.J. Phillips reprimanded a group of British soldiers for singing the verses - in German. One irate soldier shouted back : "why don't you write us some English words?". Phillips and a British songwriter Tommie Connor soon had an English version in 1944. Anne Shelton's English hit record started the songs popularity with the Allied countries. Vera Lynn sang it over the BBC to the Allied troops. The British Eighth Army adopted the song.

It was sung in military hospitals and blasted over huge speakers, along with propaganda nuggets, across the frontlines, in both directions.