The original message of "Lili Marleen," the one we do not hear, was a protest against war, from WWI. Lili Marleen, the song, was originally written by a German soldier headed for the Russian front in World War I, as a "plea for sanity in World War I." See ://www.ingeb.org/garb/lmarleen.
But, over time, as parts of the world revved up for war again, for nationalism, the theme of the message of Lili Marleen was changed from war protest, to presenting a dreamy reverie about love in war. See the changes as they evolved at the ingeb.org site. Parallel verses.
1. The torch rendition. Check your own knowledge. Are you most familiar with Lilli Marleen as a misty torch song. "Lilli Marleen" was sung so memorably that way during World War II, by Marlene Dietrich see FN 2, and Edith Piaf, among others. A steamy soft agony song. A separated by war song. A longing song.
Those froggy voices. For Dietrich, the slouchy hat. The slouch. Hear it now at eri.ca/refer/marlened.MP3. Take advantage of internet audio.
Do an images search for "Marlene Dietrich Lili Marleen." Or Lilli Marleen. Put the two names together. Picture the lamp post, the girl in the mist draped around it, the throaty voice of WWII radio and stage. Both genders, relationships all ways, and always, in important ways, all just humans. Look into the lives of our icons.
2. The Panzer martial march rendition. You may also know it as a German marching song. Hear a Panzer Division sing it. See the Nuremberg stadium as its backdrop here at ://220.127.116.11/dvd/pic1/Lili.Marleen.jpg.
3. The world making it its own. Hear many renditions at the Lili Marleen website, at ://www.ingeb.org/garb/lmarleen. Hear it in Hungarian, Finnish and Dutch.
4. See how the words changed with the times. There are two sites we used:
a. ://ingeb.org/Lieder/lilimarl.html. This has all three versions -
a.1 with the 1915 German, identified as Hans Leip;
a.2 then a 1998 translation of that by "Frank;"
a.3 then a 1944 evolved version translated by "Tommie Connor."
b. Then see the WWI words at www.jazzprofessional.com/report/Norbert%20Schultze.htm#english, as translated by the jazz trumpet player, Ron Simmonds.
5. The World War I.
1913, sometimes told as 1915 (soldier, Hans Leip, lyric, see http://ingeb.org/Lieder/lilimarl.html) for the three parallel versions.
We like the Ron Simmonds at www.jazzprofessional.com/report/Norbert%20Schultze.htm#english. The occasion for resurrecting the original was the death of Norbert Schultze, 10/14/2002, composer and protector of performing rights. Ron Simmonds died recently. See the coverage of the Schultze tributes, at www.allaboutjazz.com/php/news.php?id=7762.
Scroll down to the English translation, and you will see the words that mean as much now as they did in 1913, written incorporating the name of the soldier's girlfriend, Lili, and perhaps the name of a mysterious nurse in the mist, Marleen. The Ron Simmonds version of the original, included at that website, reads like this, with line breaks added: Scroll down to the very bottom.
There is a lantern in front of the barracks,
And the big gate, still there.
It does not and cannot figure out what is happening,
"As did once Lili Marleen!"
Is it pride or power
That brings us "out of our senses?"
However we try to get away,
We will be judged.
"Some day, Lili Marleen!"
The dead on sand or beach,
Who buries or counts?
How much more pain
Until we see how stupid and senseless this is.
"Oh God, Lili Marleen!"
And, since copyright permits "fair use," see www.bitlaw.com, this little excerpt is just as it is --
"From the quiet rooms,
From the earth,
There rises before me as in a dream
Your deathly pale mouth. [the other translation avoids that and says, "hale' mouth -see ://ingeb.org/Lieder/lilimarl.html]
Before the swirling mists clear,
Let war and hate come to an end - now,
Toggling back and forth between the translations, we think these are close.
1944: Then go to how the song was later used, and changed to meet the needs of both sides in World War II. It became a song of longing - see www:// ingeb.org/Lieder/lilimarl. By 1944 it was a love song. And Marlene Dietrich synonymous with it.
Amen. We have Edith Piaf singing it.
FN 1. Bump Bump-a Dump Dump
Bump-a Dumpy Dump.
(BBCDBCBCFD. AABCDFEDCB - now. The rest yourself.)
Bump Bump-a Dump Dump
Bump-a Dumpy Dump!
Bump Bump-a Dump Dump
DUMP DUMP DUMP
A-Dump Dump Dump
A-Dump Dump Dump
A-Dump Lili Marle-e-en
A-Dump Lili Marleen.
etc. Sometimes written as Lilli Marleen.
FN 2 See network channels 3/28/07 - the news word is that Marlene Dietrich, who vanted to be alone, had a letter-writing and perhaps more relationship with Ernest Hemingway. See ABC news, 6:30 eastern daylight time.