The excuse most often used is the "Cabaret at Cafe Rene", where Madame Edith (or occasionally some other character) will serenade the patrons of the cafe with some WW2-era piece. If it's Madame Edith, the customers wince and stick cheese in their ears. If it's someone else (notably Guy Siner's Lt. Gruber), it may be a rare musical treat.
Songs are never completed in 'Allo 'Allo - invariably we hear only a verse or two, or a snippet of the chorus. But the variety of tunes, the incredible attention to period detail, and the fun of the characters makes music an important feature of 'Allo 'Allo as a series.
The Music of 'Allo 'Allo:
We still don't know the official title to the song (perhaps "'Allo 'Allo"?), but we do have some of the lyrics. Guy says the first line is:
'Allo 'Allo, we meet again, And just as before...
For the last verse, we have the in-show evidence of the opening scene of Episode 1.3, where Madame Edith is seen just ending the tune which is unmistakeably the theme in a rising crescendo:
We loved, we parted as fate had arranged; Now there you stand and nothing has changed. And so it goes, the same refrain, the final encore You are my love, my only love Once more!
Now that we know the real lyrics (or some of them, anyway), the following seems fairly silly. But if we can't be silly on the Internet with thousands of people watching, when can we? Back when I was first watching this series here in America in the late 1980's, a friend and I came up with our own lyrics to the theme, which somehow seemed very appropriate. Therefore, presented here for your sing-along pleasure are:
'Allo 'Allo, 'Allo 'Allo, How are you today? 'Allo 'Allo, 'Allo 'Allo, You're welcome! 'Allo 'Allo, and as you go Along on your way We'd love to see you at The Cafe! We're here to serve you a drink with a smile, Although the Germans may be here a while. 'Allo 'Allo, 'Allo 'Allo, Oh please won't you stay Another drink, another hour, Another day? 'Allo 'Allo, 'Allo 'Allo, Yes Nighthawk is here - But listen well, to what Michelle Said only once! M'sieur Leclerc is over there; He's forging away. The girls and Madame Edith Run the cafe. And there's Herr Flick, he's got Helga in tow And Hans and Gruber with Colonel von Strohm 'Allo 'Allo, 'Allo 'Allo, There's no way to know How things will go, and so we say, 'Allo 'Allo. We never know, and so we say 'Allo 'Allo!
A lovely little happy number, which is probably Edith's best song. She
almost holds a tune for a note or two, though she still clears the room...
Boom! Why did my heart go boom? Me and my heart go boom, Boom titty boom once I found you. Boom! (Rene sticks in with the line:) Edith, you've cleared the room! I can see love in bloom Boom titty boom all around you.
A rowdy rousing wartime number along the lines of "Roll Out the Barrel", originally sung by the incomparable Marlene Dietrich in the film "Destry Rides Again", in which she costarred with Jimmy Stewart. In 'Allo 'Allo, it's sung by Madame Edith in the Cabaret, and later by Gruber filling in for Madame Edith.
"Just ask what the boys in the back room will have, and tell them I cried - and tell them I sighed - and tell them I died of the same!"
Lt. Gruber treats the Cafe to a sweet rendition of this classic tune, seemingly for the express purpose of throwing a few double entendres Rene's way.
The British POWs perform a song-and-dance number to this timeless standard, originally from the Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers film.
Carmen Lombardo (1903-1971) was the lead singer for his older brother Guy's band and wrote many of their hit songs, with this being one of their biggest hits. One source I found claims this was Guy Lombardo's theme song (!), though most sources refer to the more-well-known Auld Lang Syne. This naughty-themed song about a French girl trying to seduce you was apparently also used in a musical film, "Cockeyed Cavaliers".
Naturally, the show has many uses of the German national anthem... but the most frequently-used version is a burlesque stripper-sounding version!
The famous song sung by Marlene Dietrich (long a favorite of "artistic men") in her American film debut, "The Blue Angel," and later recognized as her theme song. In 'Allo 'Allo, this standard is sung by Lt. Gruber in a lovely version bringing tears to the eyes of many German officers, Hans included.
This famous Rodgers & Hart tune gets sung by Madame Edith in the Cabaret - unfortunately she gets off a number of verses before the song ends.
Edith gets her only real Cafe applause for her nice attempt at wild dancing to this 20's flapper standard.
Mimi wows the audience by doing a full verse of this lively tune in full cabaret style, high kicking and tap-dance and all! She's offering to sing in the place of Edith while Edith is in hiding from Denise' death threat, but Edith's pride can't abide anyone else singing, so Mimi's lovely, lively voice won't sing this again.
He'd have to get under, Get out and get under, To fix his little machine! A dozen times they start to hug and kiss, and then That darn old engine, it would miss again! He'd have to get under, Get out and get under, To fix up his automobile!
This song was featured prominently in the Ken Burns documentary "Horatio's Journey: America's First Road Trip" in 2003.
A bit of anti-German doggerel that's sung to the World War I marching song "Colonel Bogey March" (more famous as the whistling theme from "The Bridge On The River Kwai"). In order to allay any suspicions that he might not be a British POW, Hans attempts to start singing this ribald and insulting song to the German General who comes to check on the POW camp. Hans only gets the first five words out before he is ordered into "SILENCE!", but here's the complete set of lyrics for your reading pleasure:
Hitler has only got one ball! Goering has two but very small Himmler has something "simmler", But poor old Goebbels has no balls at all.
Another bit of anti-German doggerel that sounds like it came straight from wartime. It's sung by two rebellious German pilots, secure in the knowledge that the Gestapo can't find them up in the sky -- until Flick and Von Smallhausen show up...
Goering is an idiot, Goebbels is a twit! Himmler is a pain in the bum, And Hitler is a...
This one isn't actually sung in 'Allo 'Allo, but Gruber and Helga do a spoken spin on the lyrics in Cafe Rene, when Helga has been assigned to come on to Gruber to worm information out of him. They do a cute Teutonic version of it:
Gruber: I like Berlin in June, how about you? Helga: I like a Mozart tune, how about you? Gruber: I'm mad about good books, I cannot get my fill. Helga: And Adolf Hitler's looks? Gruber: They give me a chill.
Madame Edith tortures the cafe residents (though Bertorelli applauds her) with this light little ditty - we get to hear the full last verse:
How'd you like to hug and squeeze? How'd you like to dandle me on your knees? How'd you like to be my lovey-dovey? How'd you like to spoon with me?
If you could only care for me, As I could care for you!
This lively little number from "No, No, Nanette" (made into the American film "Tea For Two") is the most ear-shattering tune Madame Edith has ever sung for the Cabaret - it even manages to shatter much of the glass behind the bar when she hits the final note:
When skies are gray, and you say you want blue, I'll send the sunshine through. I want to be happy But I can't be happy 'Til I make you happy too!
Lt. Gruber sings a verse of this jolly little number at the urging of Rene. This appears to be a funny little mini-parody of "If You Ever Get Across The Sea To Ireland" written for the show. I don't think this was an actual wartime parody, since I can find no record of it, but I could be wrong.
If you ever get across the sea to England, Then maybe at the closing of the day The bars will all be serving German lager Which means we won the war - hip hip hooray!
Only two years after the first musical motion picture (with the release of "The Jazz Singer" in 1927), musicals had already become staples of film. Radio stars were making their fortunes singing their way onto the screen, as in the case of singer/actor Rudy Vallee, who took his hit radio song "I'm Just A Vagabond Lover" and turned it into a feature film. In the film, he sang a number of other songs, including this duet (originally written in 1916 for the stage musical "The Bing Boys Are Here") describing what would happen "if you were the only girl in the world, and I were the only boy." This was the second revival of this syrupy tune (the first being a re-release in 1925) - and later followed Perry Como's hit version of it in 1946.
Madame Fanny and Roger Leclerc do a duet of this song for the Cafe while Rene & the gang are in the POW camp. Luckily, we only hear the last verse of the chorus; the cafe attendees are not so fortunate.
Madame Edith grants us only the last two lines of this song for the Cabaret in Cafe Rene. This is not the song "Nobody's Sweetheart" found on the World War II Radio CD (listed on the Merchandise Page).
Rene and the staff, in disguise as the Excelsior Quartet, play an instrumental version of this number for a swanky party at the chateau.
Popular even after the war for which it was written (WW1), this British morale-booster has survived the test of time, though it doesn't make it through Edith's larynx unscathed. Edith butchers this classic war number in the Cabaret. Luckily, we only have to hear the final sentence!
Capt. Bertorelli is singing this song to himself as he cooks up a wonderful post-wedding breakfast for everyone.
The only anachronistic song in all of 'Allo 'Allo is an unfortunate miscue. Although based on O Sole Mio from the turn of the century (which was then popularized in America by Tony Martin with his translation, "There's No Tomorrow", in the 1940's), the lyrics to Elvis' hit weren't written until he got out of the army in 1960. The actual translation was too morose for the King, apparently (see Bob Shannon's Behind The Hits page for more details). The use of this tune is probably just a mistake by the show's authors, making the understandable but incorrect assumption that Elvis' version of the song is the actual translation of O Sole Mio, and since Bertorelli is singing "in Italian", we hear an Italian-accented English translation. This flaw in the period detail probably slipped through due to the rush to get an amazing 26 episodes into Series 5.
The song was first introduced in the 1936 MGM film, "Born To Dance,"
starring Eleanor Powell, Jimmy Stewart, and Buddy Ebsen. The film was, by
the way, Cole Porter's first complete movie score. On screen the song was sung
by Virginia Bruce (the film's femme fatale). Trivia: the song is notable
for its unconventional length of fifty-six measures (in case you're
Thanks to Marc Ostfield for the history of this song
Edith sings nearly the entire final verse of this classic in an ear-shattering version for the cabaret in the Cafe.
Alphonse and Leclerc sing this while disguised as Spanish accordion players and bringing the Enigma machine to the cafe.
Any show set in wartime France will of course encounter the French anthem over and over. The song itself has an interesting history. Written by a French miltary engineer upon hearing that France had declared war on Austria in 1792, it quickly became the most popular French patriotic song of the era and was later adopted as their national anthem.
Fanny does an Edith-style, but at least on-key, rendition of this teary classic tune (originally made famous by Marlene Dietrich) for the Cafe while Edith is away digging a tunnel. She actually gets through an entire verse before the Cafe completely empties.
Thanks to Louise Tirrell for helping identify this song!
Perhaps the favorite song of soldiers during World War II, Lilli Marlene (or in the original German, "Lili Marleen") became the unofficial anthem of the footsoldiers of both forces in the war. The lyrics were originally written as a poem by German soldier Hans Leip during World War I. Later published in a collection of his poetry in 1937, the poem's imagery and emotion caught the attention of fellow German Norbert Schultze, who set the poem to music in 1938. Recorded just before the war by Lale Andersen, the song was a mildly popular ditty until German Forces radio began broadcasting it (among other tunes) to the Afrika Korps in 1941. The soldiers made it their favorite tune, and British soldiers listening in heard the wistful romanticism catch heartstrings regardless of language. The immense popularity of even the German version had a hurried English version done and broadcast by the BBC for the Allied troops. Eventually, both sides began broadcasting the song in both versions, interspersed with propaganda nuggets, occasionally even blasting the song out of huge speakers mounted on trucks, intended to distract the enemy troops.
A German officer in the cafe requests this tune from Madame Edith in 2.1 Riddle of the Six Boobies. Unfortunately, the airmen are inside the piano, rendering it unplayable. But to escape notice they "fill in" for the piano with their own voices: "Plinky plinky plonk plonk, plinky plinky plonk!" etc.
The first verse in English is:
Underneath the lantern by the barrack gate, Darling I remember the way you used to wait. 'Twas there you whispered tenderly That you lov'd me, You'd always be My Lilli of the lamplight, My own Lilli Marlene.
A happy little ditty about singing birds and breezes whispering "Louise", this song was a huge hit in 1929. It was featured in the film "Innocents in Paris", which was the cinematic debut of Maurice Chevalier. He promptly became strongly identified with this popular tune (often called his theme song), written by one of the best movie songwriters of the era, Richard Whiting. (See also She's Funny That Way for more on Whiting). "Louise" pops up often in 'Allo 'Allo:
Edith and Fanny join together on this song, to remember how it goes, in preparation for Fanny's wedding. The resulting cacophony rouses the dogs outside, and covers the lyrics so much I can't tell what they're singing!
Warren and Dubin were probably the top movie songwriting team of the 1930's, writing such lasting classics as 42nd Street, Shuffle Off To Buffalo, I Only Have Eyes For You, Lullaby of Broadway, and Jeepers Creepers, as well as many others.
Madame Edith does an exceedingly off-key rendition of this Slavic-themed love song for the Cabaret in Cafe Rene.
Noel Coward was one of the most prolific songwriters of the early part of the 20th century, writing songs for stage and screen.
Lt. Gruber does a beautiful version of this lovely tune - which brings tears to Leclerc's eyes - at Edith & Rene's request in the Cafe (though Rene is using it only as a distraction while he and Edith use Gruber's tank radio).
Monsieur Leclerc mixes up the records for Madame Edith's gramaphone lip-synching debut and instead of "Love Is Where You Find It", she ends up singing this bass classic.
(I Got a Woman Crazy For Me) She's Funny That Way was one of the bigger hits of 1928, with music by Neil Monet and lyrics by Richard Whiting. Interestingly, Whiting was well-known throughout the 20's and 30's as a popular songwriter - but for writing music, not lyrics. Teaming with a number of lyricists, Whiting wrote such classic songs as Ain't We Got Fun, On The Good Ship Lollipop, Hooray for Hollywood, and another song found in 'Allo 'Allo, Louise. "Funny" is one of the very few times Whiting wrote lyrics at all, and the only time I found listed where he wrote the lyrics for another man's song.
Frank Sinatra later made this song "his own" by singing it in his seminal feature film, "Meet Danny Wilson" (1952) and making it into a hit single.
Billie Holliday also recorded a classic gender-swapped version of this tune as "He's Funny That Way", in the mid-50's -- looks like Lt. Gruber was an innovator, since he's singing this other version a decade earlier in Nouvion!
This is the soprano aria from the opera La Boheme by Puccini. It immediately follows "Che Gelida Manina" in the opera. Fanny is singing it (in an operatic style) when the gang rushes in to use the radio:
They call me Mimi, But my name is Lucia. My story is a short one...
Thanks to Kelly Heinen and Gabe Nahigian for at last identifying this song!
Rene is at the piano singing a duet with Edith, since Leclerc has been arrested. He's getting maudlin and they sing this song as they once did before. Rene's voice is passable and gentle - Edith is harsh and offkey. So what else is new?
Written in 1931 by Vincent Scotto, the tune became a popular song in the early 40's throughout France and England, with both French and English lyrics. This makes it a particularly apropos choice for 'Allo 'Allo where the French characters are speaking French-accented English.
Vincent Scotto (1874-1952) was one of the most popular and prolific French composers of the early 1900's. Credited with writing over 4000 songs, Scotto also scored a number of films. After fifty years, though, and outside of his native France, his fame is fading - references to Scotto are hard to find in American reference works - the most interesting and complete I've found is in the New Grove Dictionary of Music.
The English lyrics are by Dorcas Cochran. The French lyrics are by J. Rodor. The copyright on the song appears to be 1914 by "H. Delormel", and then is "Copyright renewed in 1948 by Vincent Scotto and assigned to H. Delormel", according to one version of the sheet music I found. This seems contradictory to the 1931 date listed in the New Grove Dictionary - your guess as to either's accuracy is as good as mine.
The complete English lyrics to Under the Bridges of Paris:
My darling why I sing this song Is easy to explain. It tells what happens all along The bridges of the Seine. The vagabonds go there at night To sleep all their troubles away, But when the moon is shining bright My heart wants to sing it this way. How would you like to be Down by the Seine with me? Oh, what I'd give for a moment or two Under the bridges of Paris with you. Darling, I'd hold you tight, Far from the eyes of night. Under the bridges of Paris with you, I'd make your dreams come true!
The uses of this song in the show include:
This song was recently used as the title song to the movie "Hear My Song", a fiction film about the real-life Josef Locke. Thanks to the film, Locke had his early recordings re-issued on CD, titled "Hear My Song."
Hear my song, Violetta Hear my song, these...
Thanks to Barry & Muriel Wilkinson/Turner-Wilkinson for identifying this song!
Another bouncy showtune, sung by Madame Edith in the Cabaret. If you can call it singing...
Who... Means my happiness? Who... Would I answer yes To? Well, you oughta guess Who... No one but you!