Rebel Song Book

Source: Rebel Song Book, Hoover M/1997/R43/1935

Cover of Rebel song book

Cover of Rebel song book

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

The Rebel Song Book was complied by Samuel H. Friedman who became the Vice Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party in 1952 and 1956. These song books were used by political and social movements to rally the spirits of their members. First made famous by the I.W.W. (International Workers of the World) at their congress in 1905, the song books along, with slow downs and sabotage helped re-enforce the culture of resistance. The book soon became known as the “Little Red Song Book”, which in the 1960s was morphed into the idea of the “Little Red Book” of Chairman Mao Zedong. Well known songs in the book include: the Internationale, Hallelujah I’m a Bum, the anthem of the Ladies Garment Workers Union (“We have fed you all for a thousand years”), and a parody called “The D.A.R. song.” Probably the most famous song in the book is the old Pentecostal hymn “We shall overcome” which was adopted by the labor movement in the 1930s and later by the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Other songs in the book include the Civil War song “Tramp, tramp, tramp,” “No more slaves” {sung to Jesus Saves}, “Solidarity Forever” {sung to the Battle Hymn of the Republic}, “Soup Song” {sung to My Bonnie lies over the Ocean} and the “Song of the Red Air Fleet.”

Rebel Song Book, New York, Rand School Press, 1935. {Hoover Collection M 1997 R43 1935}

Mp3 files of songs in the book include:

  1. The Internationale/Star Spangled Banner (click on 4th mp3 file), Arturo Toscanini, the Metropolitan Opera Chorus and the NBC Symphony Orchestra, 1941. {This recording was to be used in the U.S. Office of War Information Film, the Hymn of Nations (1943), however while the Star Spangled Banner was included in the film, the Soviet Hymn was censored even though the Soviets were still allies.}
  2. Hallelujah I’m a Bum
  3. Song of the Red Air Fleet (click on mp3 link on 4th song from end of page marked “March of air Komosol”)