Charlie and His Orchestra
A Nazi big band assembled by Hitler's minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels.

Charlie and His Orchestra (1942)

The lure of the forbidden can be seen nowhere more clearly than the Parent's Television Council's filthy TV page. Here is the organization that has been responsible for generating millions of complaints to the FCC, and they make it possible to watch those delectably decadent moments over and over again.

In the 1930's the Nazis had the same love/hate relationship with swing music. They outlawed it on their homefront, throwing it into  the category of "degenerate" art. But at the same time, they employed it in the service of the fatherland. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister, assembled a fairly competent swing band called Charlie and His Orchestra to perform Nazified versions of the jazz hits of the day. Led by an English speaking German, Karl Schwendler, Charlie and His Orchestra broadcast on the medium-wave and short-wave bands throughout the 1930s to Canada, the US and Britain.

The idea was to lure the masses in with the irrestible tonic of swing music and then slyly work in the anti-Jewish, American and British lyrics after the second or third verse. The broadcasts of Charlie and His Orchestra were not available in the Fatherland proper, but that only enhanced their legend, and they picked up an underground following in Germany as well.

The notion of this material having its desired effect seems ludicrous in retrospect, but imagine yourself an East Coast resident of the United States during a period when victory over the Nazis was not assured. As you scan the radio dial aware that German U-boats may be trolling the seas miles away from your home, you come across the song "Submarines."  If the desired effect was to crush morale and instill fear, these songs probably worked great. As recruitment tools for the Nazi party, Charles Lindbergh probably did a better job.

Charlie and His Orchestra was led by Karl Schwendler, an English speaking German who broadcast Nazi-themed swing and big-band hits every night on the medium-wave and short-wave bands throughout the 1930s to Canada, the US and Britain. Leave it to Goebbels to take the music of The Andrews Sisters, Paul Whiteman and Irving Berlin and fill it with venomous rants against Jews, America and the British. The man took his propaganda seriously. But at least he admitted it was propaganda, unlike the current crop of spin-meisters.

In a 1928 speech, Goebbels expounded on his then-radical theories of manipulation. What he said then seems today to be cutting edge meme-ology, and provides an insight into why he favored using the most popular music of the day to spread his message of hate:

"An idea always lives in individuals. It seeks an individual to transmit its great intellectual force. It becomes alive in a brain, and seeks escape through the mouth. The idea is preached by individuals, individuals who will never be satisfied to have the knowledge remain theirs alone. You know that from experience. When one knows something one does not keep it hidden like a buried treasure, rather one seeks to tell others. One looks for people who should know it. One feels that everyone else should know to, for one feels alone when no one else knows. For example, if I see a beautiful painting in an art gallery, I have the need to tell others. I meet a good friend and say to him: "I have found a wonderful picture. I have to show it to you." The same is true of ideas. If an idea lives in an individual, he has the urge to tell others. There is some mysterious force in us that drives us to tell others. The greater and simpler the idea is, the more it relates to daily life, the more one has the desire to tell everyone about it."

MP3s of volume 1

  1. You're Driving Me Crazy
  2. You Can't Stop Me From Dreaming
  3. Saint Louis Blues
  4. Slumming On Park Avenue
  5. Dinah
  6. Daisy
  7. FDR Jones
  8. Who'll Buy My Bublitchky
  9. I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket
  10. The King's Horses
  11. I've Got A Pocketful Of Dreams
  12. Three Little Fishes
  13. Why'd Ya Make Me Fall In Love?
  14. Miss Annabelle Lee
  15. South of the Border
  16. Hold Tight
  17. The Man With The Big Cigar
  18. I'm Sending You The Siegfried Line
  19. Bye Bye Blackbird
  20. Japanese Sandman
  21. Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
  22. Untern Linden

MP3s of volume 2

  1. Nice People
  2. Thanks For The Memory
  3. Indian Love Call
  4. The Sheik Of Araby
  5. Lets Put Out The Lights
  6. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen
  7. Lilli Marleen
  8. Elmers Tune
  9. Picture Me Without You
  10. I Double Dare You
  11. Macpherson Is Rehearsin
  12. I Cant Give You Anything But Love
  13. Daisy
  14. Stardust
  15. Submarines
  16. United Air Man
  17. I Got Rhythm
  18. And So Another Lovely Day Is Over
  19. Roll On The Blue Funnel
  20. Under An Umbrella In The Evening
  21. Calling Invasion Forces
  22. Atlantic Wall (Incomplete)

MP3s of volume 3

  1. A Bicycle Built For Two
  2. And So Another Lovely Day Is Over
  3. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen
  4. Boom
  5. Bye Bye Blackbird
  6. Calling Invasion Forces - Atlantic Wall
  7. Calling Invasion Forces - I Want To Be Happy
  8. Calling Invasion Forces - We Are Waiting For You 440417
  9. Calling Invasion Forces - We Are Waiting for You
  10. Daisy
  11. Dinah
  12. Double Dare You
  13. Elmers_Tune
  14. F.D R. Jones v.1
  15. F.D.R. Jones v.2
  16. Hold Me
  17. Hold Tight
  18. I'll Never Say Never Again
  19. I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket
  20. I'm Sending You The Siegfried Line
  21. I've Got A Pocketful Of Dreams
  22. I Cant Give You Anything But Love
  23. I Double Dare You
  24. I Got Rythm
  25. I Want To Be Happy
  26. Indian Love Call
  27. Japanese Sandman
  28. Lady Winterbottom's Song
  29. Let's Put Out The Lights
  30. Lilli Marleen
  31. Little Sir Echo
  32. Macpherson Is Rehearsin
  33. Makin' Whoopee
  34. Miss Annabelle Lee v.1
  35. Miss Annabelle Lee v.2
  36. Nice People
  37. Onward Christian Soldiers
  38. Picture Me Without You
  39. Roll On The Blue Funnel
  40. Slumming On Park Avenue
  41. South Of The Border
  42. St Louis Blues
  43. Stardust
  44. Submarines
  45. Thanks For The Memories
  46. The Kings Horses
  47. The Man With The Big Cigar
  48. The Sheik Of Araby
  49. Three Little Fishes
  50. Under An Umbrella In The Evening
  51. United Nations Air Men 1943
  52. Unter'n Linden
  53. Western Brothers
  54. Who'll Buy My Bublitchky v.1
  55. Who'll Buy My Bublitchky v.2
  56. Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?
  57. Why'd Ya Make Me Fall In Love?
  58. You're Driving Me Crazy
  59. You're The Top
  60. You Can't Stop Me From Dreaming

MP3s of volume 4
Swing - Propagandasongs im Swingrhythmus
TMK Records- 25 pistes - Durée totale : 1:19:30 - 2011

  1. Honey 2:42
  2. Kiss the Boys, Good-bye 2:56
  3. A Song of Old Hawaï 3:23
  4. The Waiter and the Porter and the Upstairs Maid 2:36
  5. Pretty Little Busy-Body 2:43
  6. At Least You Could Say: Hello! 3:14
  7. Aurora 3:02
  8. Love Is All 2:39
  9. I'll See You in My Dreams
  10. Shuffle Off to Buffalo 2:56
  11. I'm Feelin' Like a Million 2:36
  12. Boo-Hoo 2:51
  13. Alone 3:23
  14. On the Sentimental Side 2:41
  15. I've Got You Under My Skin 3:18
  16. Sing, Baby, Sing! 3:17