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Remember Me

(Bob Nolan)

 

Listen to the voices of the past, they seem to say

REMEMBER ME

Listen to a prayer from No-Man's Land of yesterday

REMEMBER ME

Listen where the poppy grows and listen where the crosses rose,

REMEMBER ME, REMEMBER ME

 

Listen to a million voices promising they still

REMEMBER YOU

Listen to the promise of a million more that will

REMEMBER YOU

Listen as Old Glory brings a promise borne on roaring wings

REMEMBER WE REMEMBER YOU.

 

 

            The words you read above are not the words you hear Roy Rogers singing as you open this page. They are Bob Nolan's original words to a song that meant a great deal to him. You are listening to words Bob Nolan quickly re-wrote for "Sunset on the Desert", a Republic / Roy Rogers movie of 1942 because it was the only time the song was recorded.

            The words to the original "Remember Me" are as applicable today as they were then because our young soldiers are still laying down their lives and we must remember them. Even before the United States entered World War II, Bob was moved to write the song begging the listener to remember the young men who had already given their lives for their country. The words "Dedicated to war heroes, past and present" appeared on his original sheet music.

            Since he felt his song had possibilities, Bob Nolan intended to give copies of the sheet music to four different big names in the music industry - people who were previously involved in recording his songs. The sheets were never delivered.

             Bob inscribed copies of Remember Me to “Rudy”, “Joe”, “Larry”, and “Fred” to draw their attention to a song he thought compared favorably with his classic Tumbling Tumbleweeds. It is not known why he changed his mind about sending the sheets, but Bob was subject to periods of mild depression and discouragement. While in the grip of these moods, Bob lost interest in things he usually thought important, such as promoting his songs. Perhaps this was the fate of Remember Me, a song that might have been recorded successfully by Jo Stafford or Bing Crosby just as  America was gearing up to enter the war. The words still apply today to any country, every soldier. We contacted Laurence Zwisohn for help identifying the addressees.

            The original song has never been recorded commercially - yet. To our very great delight, there is some renewed interest in it and a recording will be released by a respected western recording artist before too long. "Remember Me" was registered for copyright on April 17, 1942.

 

Bob tailored his original words to fit the plot of "Sunset on the Desert":

 

Listen to the voices of the past. They seem to say,

“Remember me.”

Listen to the songs they sing of some far distant day,

“Remember me.”

Echoes fading, falling, still I hear them calling,

“Remember me. Remember me.”

 

Wonder where my old pals are and wonder if they still

Remember me.

Hope you’re doing fine, old gang, and hope you always will

Remember me.

Through the long years gliding, anywhere you’re riding,

Remember me. Remember me.

 

Recording

                   

 

Calin Coburn Collections © 2004

 

Dear Rudy, I will never forget the grand boost you gave my “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and so I submit this latest little “do-dad” of mine for your consideration – hope you like it. (Signed – Bob Nolan)

 

Rudy Vallee 1901-1986) was a musician, actor, and radio personality who boosted the careers of many entertainers by having them appear on his radio shows. When asked what he considered a turning point in his career, Bob answered, “When Rudy Vallee first sang my Tumbling Tumbleweeds on his program in 1933.”

 

 

Calin Coburn Collections © 2004

 

Dear Fred  –
Ever since I spent that evening in your office last summer in New York listening to your grand arrangement of my “Tumbling Tumbleweeds ” – I’ve been

wondering when I would write something with enough dramatic force to it to warrant an arrangement by your organization and so I submit this little do-dad - hope you like it. (Signed - Bob Nolan)

 

(“’Fred’ sounds like Fred Waring since there is the reference to his ‘organization’. Waring had a large orchestra and glee club and was extremely popular.” (Laurence Zwisohn  to EM, December 8, 2003.)

 

 

Calin Coburn Collections © 2004

 

Dear Joe [sic] –
You’ve done some great renditions of my songs in the past and so I submit this little do-dad for your consideration – hope you like it (Signed – Bob Nolan)

 

(Jo  Stafford 1917-2008), the youngest of the three Stafford Sisters who knew and performed with the Sons of the Pioneers in the early 30s, became one of the most popular vocalists of the 1950s. Jo and her husband, Paul Weston, produced an album with the Norman Luboff Choir called “Songs of the West” and Jo sang a beautiful rendition of "Tumbling Tumbleweeds".

 

Calin Coburn Collections © 2004

                                                                                                 

 Dear Larry –

Ever since Bing and (indecipherable name) did that grand arrangement of my "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" - I've been wondering when I would write something with enough dramatic force to it to warrant their consideration again - and so I submit this little do-dad - for their consideration - hope they like it. (signed -  Bob Nolan)

 

“Larry" is probably Larry Crosby who was Bing’s brother. Bing recorded Tumbling Tumbleweeds with John Scott Trotter who was his orchestra leader on his radio shows and most of his recordings as well as being a fine arranger. Bing’s recording of Tumbling Tumbleweeds was a big record and since Bing was the biggest vocal star of the era everyone wanted him to do their songs.” (Laurence Zwisohn to EM, December 9, 2003)

 


 

A Note on Bob Nolan's wartime effort:

            In 1943 Lloyd Perryman and Pat Brady were called up and remained in the service until the war ended. Expecting to be drafted at any time, Roy Rogers and the older members of the Sons of the Pioneers prepared to go, too. In 1945 Bob and Roy were sent letters stating they were re-classified from 3-A to 1-A and Bob bought a house in Studio City so he “would have a home to come back to.”  However, a change in the deferment age reclassified them back to 3-A and they didn’t go. Bob was 37.

            The Pioneers were very popular with the servicemen and gave a lot of their time and energy to entertaining them, giving shows to promote war bonds on radio and in person, etc.

          One of Bob’s most treasured letters came from the boys in a submarine “…who played our transcriptions while lying on the bottom….”

 

Calin Coburn Collections © 2004