Wednesday, May 9, 2018


In 1947, the Decca record label issued a single entitled "My Dearest Uncle Sam," sung by the Andrews Sisters.

The song was based on the Guam, wartime song "Uncle Sam," sung by Chamorros as an underground resistance song against the Japanese.

Guam was inundated with American military personnel and others right after the American return in July of 1944 all the way to the end of 1945. Tens and tens of thousands of Americans passed through Guam in those two years. It's not surprising that the Uncle Sam tune got to the ears of Alex Kramer and Joan Whitney, a married couple who also co-wrote songs. One can only suspect that someone passing through Guam during the final period of World War II heard the tune and passed it to someone who passed it to someone who.....

Kramer and Whitney borrowed the Guam melody (attributed to Pedro Taitingfong Rosario, "Pete Seboyas") but changed the substance of the wartime Chamorro original. The record even stated that the song was "Based on an Island of Guam Native Song." But the new version portrayed an island girl in love with all things American - the men, chocolates, spam and jam. The romantic attraction American men held over island women is underlined. There are two verses where that is emphasized.

The original song was all about the Japanese Occupation and the hope that the US would come back to liberate the island from the Japanese.

Eighth of December, 1941
People went crazy right here on Guam.

Our lives are in danger, you better come
and kill all the Japanese, right here on Guam.

Now compare with the lyrics of the American version :


On far Pacific island by a mango tree
lonely maid is cryin', lookin' out to sea.

Refrain : Oh Mister Sam, Sam, my dearest Uncle Sam
won't you please come back to Guam.

One year ago September that's when it began
from a boat there landed a big American.

She learned to love his chocolates, she learned to love his spam,
she learned to spread her pancake with huckleberry jam.

He was very handsome but one thing she liked best,
fascinating picture tattooed on his chest.

She wanted education, he taught her ABC's
but she kept asking questions about the birds and bees.

She started to imagine that he was here to stay
but man in Washington he say come right away.

According to another source, there is this additional verse, not heard on the recording above :

He taught her how to say, "Ah loves you honey chile;"
also dance to record boogie woogie style.


Notice the way the Andrews Sisters pronounce the A in a lot of the words, as well as the O in words like "education" and "questions," modified to sound like the A in Guam.

Thanks to Sean Rodriguez

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