Charlie and His Orchestra
The lure of the forbidden can be seen nowhere more clearly than the Parent's Television Council's filthy TV page. Here is the organization that has been responsible for generating millions of complaints to the FCC, and they make it possible to watch those delectably decadent moments over and over again.
In the 1930's the Nazis had the same love/hate relationship with swing music. They outlawed it on their homefront, throwing it into the category of "degenerate" art. But at the same time, they employed it in the service of the fatherland. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister, assembled a fairly competent swing band called Charlie and His Orchestra to perform Nazified versions of the jazz hits of the day. Led by an English speaking German, Karl Schwendler, Charlie and His Orchestra broadcast on the medium-wave and short-wave bands throughout the 1930s to Canada, the US and Britain.
The idea was to lure the masses in with the irrestible tonic of swing music and then slyly work in the anti-Jewish, American and British lyrics after the second or third verse. The broadcasts of Charlie and His Orchestra were not available in the Fatherland proper, but that only enhanced their legend, and they picked up an underground following in Germany as well.
The notion of this material having its desired effect seems ludicrous in retrospect, but imagine yourself an East Coast resident of the United States during a period when victory over the Nazis was not assured. As you scan the radio dial aware that German U-boats may be trolling the seas miles away from your home, you come across the song "Submarines." If the desired effect was to crush morale and instill fear, these songs probably worked great. As recruitment tools for the Nazi party, Charles Lindbergh probably did a better job.
Two volumes of this material have been issued. Here are all the MP3s of volume two:
01 - Nice People
02 - Thanks For The Memory
03 - Indian Love Call
04 - The Sheik Of Araby
05 - Lets Put Out The Lights
06 - Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen
07 - Lilli Marleen
08 - Elmers Tune
09 - Picture Me Without You
10 - I Double Dare You
11 - Macpherson Is Rehearsin
12 - I Cant Give You Anything But Love
13 - Daisy
14 - Stardust
15 - Submarines
16 - United Air Man
17 - I Got Rhythm
18 - And So Another Lovely Day Is Over
19 - Roll On The Blue Funnel
20 - Under An Umbrella In The Evening
21 - Calling Invasion Forces
22 - Atlantic Wall (Incomplete)
UPDATE: Here is a post with all the recordings from Volume One of Charlie and His Orchestra.
For more recordings of genuine wartime propaganda broadcasts, check out the Prelinger Archives.