Good Morning Mr. Zip, Zip, Zip!

Good Morning Mr. Zip, Zip, Zip!

Leo Feist, Inc.
Live Version
Studio Version

Student Essay

Music Changed the World: 1914 – 1918

The Great War was different than nearly all previous conflicts in that it recognized the importance of the public opinion as a significant force. Europe was grueling and traumatic for all the soldiers on the front, and unrestricted warfare allowed for the liberal use of chemical warfare and other heinous war crimes. Music motivated soldiers to continue forward with hope that they could one day return home. The military began to see music not just as a luxury, but as a necessity for their troops. So, the military started sending performers to Europe to perform for soldiers at field stations, music halls became ubiquitous at military camps, and a select few recruits were even trained to be song leaders. Militaries also began to incorporate music into part of their training exercises to instill discipline. They trained soldiers to lead chants and even built music halls around the camps. A musical list from one of the more successful programs at Camp Lewis included songs like “Keep Your Head Down," "Over There," "Battle Hymn for the Republic," and “Good Morning Mr. Zip-Zip-Zip.”

“Good Morning Mr. Zip-Zip-Zip” is a phenomenal example of a piece of music that followed a musical formula that is common of Tin Pan Alley music of this time. Structurally, “Good Morning Mr. Zip-Zip-Zip” exemplifies early twentieth century popular music form with a lyrical pattern of AABA’ and a simple chord progression following an I - V - I format. The lyrics “Good morn – ing, Mis-ter Zip-Zip-Zip, With your hair cut just as short as mine...” referred to the soldier's short haircut while “...ol-ive drab and kha-ki..” referred to the soldiers' uniforms. The overall cheerful melody and lyrics implies that this soldier has a great life, 'he is making good life decisions, why not you?' Mr. Zip-Zip-Zip would be equivalent to today's Mr. Blah-Blah-Blah, meaning that any man could be the admirable soldier the song is portraying if they so choose to join the armed forces.

Related Resources

Auerbach, Jonathan, and Russ Castronovo. Oxford handbook of propaganda studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Cohan, George. "Over There." New York: William Jerome Publishing, 1917.

Crawford, Richard. After the ball: The Rise of Tin Pan Alley. In America's Musical Life: A History, 471-494. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001.

Creel, George. How We Advertised America. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1920.

Cruttwell, C.R.M.F. A History of the Great War 1914-1918. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1991.

George Mason University. “'After the Ball': Lyrics from the Biggest Hit of the 1890s." Accessed April 2nd, 2018.

Gier, Christina. "The “Song Leaders” of the American Expeditionary Forces, 1917-18.” Journal of Musicological Research 33: 130-144.

Gier, Christina. Singing, Soldiering, and Sheet Music in America during the First World War. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2017.

Harris, Charles K. "After the Ball." Boston: Oliver Ditson Company, 1891.

Lloyd, Roberts. "Good Morning Mr. Zip-Zip-Zip." New York: Leo Feist Inc., 1918.

Walton, Douglas. "What Is Propaganda, and What Exactly Is Wrong with It." Public Affairs Quarterly 11, no. 4 (Oct., 1997): 383 – 413.

Written by
Student Image: 
Student Bio: 

Robert Nordin is a third-year biology major and Student Researcher in the ReSounding the Archives project at the University of Virginia. Music has always been an interest because it has a unique ability to bring together people who would not typically interact.

Song Information

Title: Good Morning Mr. Zip, Zip, Zip!
Date: 1918
Publisher: Leo Feist, Inc.
Publisher Location: New York, N.Y.
Composers: Words and Music by Robert Lloyd, Army song leader

Recording Information

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Student Bio: 

James Stevens is a second-year graduate student pursuing a degree in Vocal Performance in the studio of Professor John Aler at George Mason University. His recent Mason Opera appearances include Albert Herring in Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring, Lord Tolloler in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe, and King Kaspar in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors. His recent concert appearances include singing with the Central Maryland Chorale and the Symphonette at Landon.

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Student Bio: 

Faith Ellen Lam is a sophomore Honors College student at George Mason University where she is a dual major in Music Performance and English. She is in the piano studio of Dr. Linda Monson. She has performed in such prestigious halls as Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, New York, and the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, and has been invited to play in numerous masterclasses with artists such as Stanislav Khristenko, Jeffrey Siegel, and the Ensemble da Camera of Washington.

Live Version
Recording Date: 04/24/2018
Recording Location: Colonnade Club, University of Virginia
Student Name: 
Eli Stine
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Student Bio: 

Eli Stine is a composer, programmer, and educator. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Composition and Computer Technologies as a Jefferson Fellow at the University of Virginia. Stine's work explores electroacoustic sound, multimedia technologies (often custom-built software, video projection, and multi-channel speaker systems), and collaboration between disciplines (artistic and otherwise).

Studio Version
Recording Date: 5/15/2018-5/16/2018
Recording Location: Gottlieb Chamber Studio, George Mason University
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Student Bio: 
Talha Mirza’s passion for a career in music began in the guitar program at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, VA where he earned an Advanced Diploma in 2015. His love for teaching was inspired by his experience teaching with Music For Life, the Mason Community Arts Academy, and the Fairfax County Public School system where he saw the impact music had on others. Talha continues to teach while pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree with a concentration in Music Technology and a minor in Audio Production at George Mason University. He also studies classical guitar and has composed music for award winning short films premiered at the University of Virginia, George Mason Film Festivals and Cannes Film Festival.
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Student Bio: 
Massimo Zaru Roque is a Senior at George Mason University, pursuing a B.M. in Music Technology with a Recording Emphasis. He has shown a love for music both in the studio, behind the scenes, and on the stage, working as a Studio Recording and Mixing Engineer, Live Event Recording Engineer, and as a Jazz Bassist and Vocalist in many of Mason's Jazz ensembles. Massimo is passionately studying as an intern at Bias Studios in Springfield, VA, to experience the professional world of studio engineering in the D.C. area. He is incredibly thankful for all the experiences that have been available with George Mason's School of Music, and is indebted to the fantastic education and opportunities he has received there.
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Student Bio: 
Kyotaro Terai is a graduate of George Mason University School of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Music Technology and a minor in Business. As a composer, he has written music for GMU-TV, School of Film, and the School of Music. Currently, he resides in Los Angeles interning for Roland US.

Song Transcription

[Verse 1]
We come from ev’ry quarter,
From North, South, East, and West
To clear the way to freedom
For the land we love the best.
We’ve left our occupations and homes, so far and dear,
But when the going’s rather rough,
We raise this song of cheer:

[Chorus x2]
“Good morning, Mister Zip-Zip-Zip,
With your hair cut just as short as mine,
Good morning, Mister Zip-Zip-Zip, you’re surely looking fine,
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust,
If the Camels don’t get you the Fatimas must,
Good morning, Mister Zip-Zip-Zip,
With your hair cut just as short as,
Your hair cut just as short as,
your hair cut just as short as mine.”

[Verse 2]
You see them on the highway,
You meet them down the pike,
In olive drab and khaki are soldiers on the hike;
And as the column passes, the word goes down the line,
“Good morning Mister Zip-Zip-Zip, you’re surely looking fine.”