A Soldiers Song - (cont.)
The resulting song became a blockbuster record during World War I, selling about 750,000 copies. Gruber heard of it and asked Sousa, “How about some money, since I wrote the song?” Embarrassed, the innocent Sousa made certain Gruber got his royalties.
In 1948, the Army conducted a nationwide contest to come up with its own official song. None of the five winners achieved any notable popularity. In 1952, the secretary of the Army appealed to the music industry for a composition. Composers submitted an avalanche of more than 800 songs.
But no submission sparkled enough to be accepted. So a soldier music adviser in the Adjutant General's office was asked to try his hand at it. As a result, H.W. Arberg adapted “The Caisson Song” to become the official U.S. Army song, “The Army Goes Rolling Along.”