Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Wallrich, William. “U.S. Air Force Parodies Based upon ‘The Dying Hobo.’” Western Folklore 13 (1954): 236-44.

Parodies of the satiric vagabond song The Dying Hobo have appeared in the United States Air Force during World War I, World War II, and the Korean War with lyric changes reflecting current aircraft nomenclature while maintaining the basic theme of the original. Beside a Belgian ’Staminet and A Poor Aviator Lay Dying are two versions dating from World War I but collected decades later. Beneath a Bridge in Sicily is a version dating from World War II with updated references to the current war. Stand to Your Glasses is a version collected during the Korean “police action” and includes several barely modified verses from A Poor Aviator Lay Dying. Another Korean War version, Busom Buddies, updates all of the references to airplane parts to refer to the new jet-powered aircraft. Under a Korean Sun is an unusual variant taken from a version in Afrikaans, apparently “composed” by a South African who had heard the American version sung in South Korea. Beside a Korean Waterfall is a variant of Beside a Belgian ’Staminet that includes a final verse delivered in mock-histrionic chanting. The variety of The Dying Hobo parodies is infinite, and the song will likely be part of Air Force culture as long as there are manned crews.

Works: Anonymous: Beside a Belgian ’Staminet (236-37), A Poor Aviator Lay Dying (237-38), Beneath a Bridge in Sicily (238-40), Stand to Your Glasses (240-41), Busom Buddies (241-42), Under a Korean Sun (242-43), Beside a Korean Waterfall (243-44).

Sources: Anonymous: The Dying Hobo (236-44), A Poor Aviator Lay Dying (240-41), Beside a Belgian ’Staminet (242-43).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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