Eric Bogle is a Scottish born singer and songwriter who is now based in Australia. He started playing folk music shortly before emigrating to Australia in 1969 and has become one of the most respected Australian folk singers. Many of his songs have become standards of Australian folk music and many have been covered by artists from all over the world. He started performing on his own but now regularly performs with other musicians, most frequently with long time collaborator John Munro.
And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda was written in 1971, just after Eric saw his first ANZAC Day march, in Canberra. The song tells the story of a drifter who enlists in the Australian Army during 1915 and is shipped off the Gallipoli where he loses both of his legs, he is then shipped back to Australia and, in the last verse, watches an ANZAC Day parade and questions what it is all for. It is ironic that this song, which exactly encapsulates the Australian attitude towards the ANZAC legend, was written by a recent immigrant who had spent less than 2 years in the country and had only recently experienced his first ANZAC day parade. The song covers themes that are pertinent to all wars and was originally written as a protest against the Vietnam War. This video is of a live performance, in 2009, with Eric singing and John Munro playing the guitar.
Today, Eric will be performing this song at a Turkish fort near Gallipoli this year for the 100th anniversary of the original landing, and this will be the first time that he has visited the peninsula.
You can buy And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda on iTunes.