History of the Song: "Rum and Coca-Cola"

Picture of The Andrews Sisters

In 1945, "Rum and Coca-Cola" became a huge commercial for The Andrews Sisters.  This great song topped the charts in the United States and also did quite well worldwide.  Ironically, some radio stations refused to play the song because it mentioned rum, missing the blatant hints that women were prostituting themselves for the "Yankee Dollar." 

So what did The Andrews Sisters think of these risque lyrics laced with social commentary? They later claimed that they had given little thought to the meaning of the lyrics.  In my opinion, I can understand that because it had such an innocent, catchy little feel to it.

Patty Andrews shed some light on the song in an interview stating: "We had a recording date, and the song was brought to us the night before the recording date. We hardly really knew it, and when we went in we had some extra time and we just threw it in, and that was the miracle of it."

In under ten minutes The Andrews Sisters had recorded a song that sold seven million units and sat at number one on the Billboard magazine chart for seven weeks.

Maxine Andrews also recalled, "The rhythm was what attracted the Andrews Sisters to 'Rum and Coca-Cola'. We never thought of the lyric. The lyric was there, it was cute, but we didn't think of what it meant; but at that time, nobody else would think of it either, because we weren't as morally open as we are today and so, a lot of stuff—really, no excuses—just went over our heads."

Audio and Lyrics of "Rum and Coca-Cola" by The Andrews Sisters

More History...

The melody was taken from a song that was written by a Venezuelan calypso musician named Lionel Belasco.  The lyrics to "Rum and Coca-Cola" were written by Rupert Grant, a Trinidad based musician who went by the interesting performance name: "Lord Invader".

The song was copyrighted in the United States by entertainer Morey Amsterdam and was published with Amsterdam listed as lyricist and Jeri Sullivan and Paul Baron as composers.

The original version of "Rum and Coca-Cola" lamented that U.S. soldiers were debauching local women who "saw that the Yankees treat them nice and they give them a better price." The final stanza described a newlywed couple whose marriage is ruined when "the bride run away with a soldier lad and the stupid husband went staring mad." The Amsterdam version dropped the final part, but also hints that women are prostituting themselves by preserving the Lord Invader chorus which says, "Both mother and daughter - Working for the Yankee dollar."

Note: After the 1945 release of "Rum and Coca-Cola", Belasco and Lord Invader sued for copyright infringement of the song's music and lyrics, respectively. In 1948, after years of litigation, both plaintiffs won their cases.

For more information visit this Wikipedia article about the song.

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

Free Music Download

Fletcher Henderson

Fletcher Henderson - Radio Recordings: 1945:
This recording features the songs: "Stompin' at the Savoy", "Let's Rock", "Caldonia"and "I Found a New Baby" from a Live Radio Performance that took place in 1945.  The audio has been cleaned up and is a fantastic performance by Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra.

- Only Available for a Limited Time -
Free Music Download
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Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

Independence Day


Happy Birthday America!  I can't believe you are 244 years old!  You don't look a day over 200.  :)

The USA is going through some rough times right now.  No country is, or ever will be, perfect.  We have hit some major bumps in the road, but if I know this country, I'm sure we will eventually figure this all out.

A lot of turmoil, illness, fear, anger and uncertainty has filled our country, an in most cases, the whole world.  I know that those of you in our listening audience living in different countries around the world are experiencing versions of the same issues the United States are currently facing.  I hope you all feel, wherever you are listening from, that Swing City Radio is a place you can go to escape for awhile.

With all of its faults and shortcomings - I love the United States and I'm proud to be an American!  So Happy Birthday America!

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

Video: World War II Radio Programs

Picture from World War 2 Video

In May of 1942 the Armed Forces Radio Services (AFRS) was formally established to generate additional programming for the troops.

Initially AFRS programming included mostly transcribed commercial network radio shows with the commercials removed. Soon numerous original AFRS produced programs such as "Mail Call," "G.I. Journal," "Jubilee," and "G.I. Jive" were added to the mix. At its peak in 1945 the AFRS was generating about 20 hours of original programming each week. The AFRS could retain the services of the best writers and performers without regard to their network or studio contractual obligations. This was especially beneficial during The Musicians' Strike of 1942-1944.

Unlike network programming in the States, AFRS programs were recorded for later broadcast.  These original programs were broadcast to the troops overseas, and usually were not heard by Americans at home.

Check out this video that highlights some of the entertainment that was provided for American Troops during World War II.

Video of World War II Radio Programs

If you like this video, I encourage you to check The Second World War Youtube Channel.  It has many interesting videos that are fun to watch!  (Especially for history buffs such as myself.)

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.

Podcast: Episode 18

The Big Band and Swing Podcast

Listen to The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Episode 18: Celery Stalks, Barbeque and Woodchucks


Audio Player to Listen to Podcast

Hello there people! In this episode you will hear some fantastic music from Will Bradley, Kay Starr, Tex Beneke, Peggy Lee, Bob Crosby and more. We also learn about Sensible Jane and her "ducky" new slip!

Swing City Radio: Playing Your Big Band and Swing Music Favorites from the 1930's, 40's and Today! - Big Band Radio Station Broadcasting Online from King of Prussia, PA.
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