Thursday, November 13, 2008

London Pride by Noël Coward

A small video I made of this song. I also cleaned up the audio and added a stereo effect to broaden it out.



Coward wrote "London Pride" in the spring of 1941, during the Blitz. According to his own account, he was sitting on a seat on a platform of a damaged railway station in London, and was "overwhelmed by a wave of sentimental pride". The song started in his head there and then and was finished in a few days.

The song compares the pride of wartime Londoners to the flower "London Pride" which can grow anywhere and was often found growing on bomb sites.
Coward gave many morale boosting broadcasts to people in wartime London via the BBC.

The tune is partly based on "Won't You Buy My Sweet Smelling Lavender" and partly on the German wartime national anthem "Deutschland über alles".


Lyrics

London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that’s free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Oh Liza! See the coster barrows,
Vegetable marrows and the fruit piled high.
Oh Liza! Little London sparrows,
Covent Garden Market where the costers cry.

Cockney feet mark the beat of history.
Every street pins a memory down.
Nothing ever can quite replace
The grace of London Town.

There’s a little city flower every spring unfailing
Growing in the crevices by some London railing,
Though it has a Latin name, in town and country-side
We in England call it
London Pride.

London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that’s free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Hey, lady! When the day is dawning
See the policeman yawning on his lonely beat.
Gay lady! Mayfair in the morning,
Hear your footsteps echo in the empty street.
Early rain and the pavement’s glistening.
All Park Lane in a shimmering gown.
Nothing ever could break or harm
The charm of London Town.

In our city darkened now, street and square and crescent,
We can feel our living past in our shadowed present,
Ghosts beside our starlit Thames who lived and loved and died
Keep throughout the ages
London Pride.

London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that’s free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Grey city! Stubbornly implanted,
Taken so for granted for a thousand years.
Stay, city! Smokily enchanted,
Cradle of our memories and hopes and fears.

Every Blitz your resistance toughening,
From the Ritz to the Anchor and Crown,
Nothing ever could override
The pride of London Town.

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