This was one of my very first 45s. This video appears to be from an appearance on the Dinah Shore show (there’s another piece of history for you, if you even know who Dinah is) that later was shown on VH1. You know, back when they played actual videos of the older music, which I believe is what the network originally set out to do.
I was all about the emotion wrapped up in this song. Billy was all patriotic and wanted to join the military and his fiancee didn’t want him to go. She wanted him to stay at home and marry her so they could live their lives in safety, together. But he didn’t listen (no surprise there) and that’s OK because if he’d listened there wouldn’t be this march-y little tune to enjoy. And then the thing she feared would happen actually DID happen, and when they wrote to tell her about it and how he was a hero, she threw the letter away. I’m not sure I ever understood why she would throw the letter away. Was she mad?
And the whistling. I tried and tried but could never master it. Have you ever noticed how the songwriter uses “he said” and “she said” and “I heard” a lot? Was he hiding in the bushes whenever they had a conversation? And I just have to mention how earnest and sincere the lead singer is in this video. He’s really selling it here.
And finally, does anyone know why every male singer in the early 70s dressed like Elvis?