An article in a 1918 issue of Sunset magazine reported the opinion of one Professor Arthur Conradi that the World War I anthem “Over There” owed its popularity to the same factors that made Beethoven’s Fifth a hit:
The great German—the Germans were great in his day—heard a rapping on the door. It suggested the tap of the hand of Fate, and he wrote his deathless symphony. George M. Cohan took a bugle call, a three-note idea, like the rat-a-tat-tat on the door, and in the cold analytical view of a serious musician has written a war song that will live forever.1That the comparison necessitates the elimination of one-fourth of Beethoven’s actual motive went unmentioned.
1. Robin Baily, “Songs Our Soldiers Sing.” Sunset, vol. 40, no. 5 (May, 1918), p. 23.