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Dismuke's Message Board > Dismuke's Message Board > Early 20th Century Popular Music
A recent discovery for me is 'Harry Champion - Any Old Iron'

A couple questions I have about the lyrics and song title. What exactly does it mean 'Any Old Iron'? I can't glean
anything from the lyrics about it.

And also, the last verse of the song references 'some trouble on' ; 'do what we're told to do to uphold England's
name'; 'give old England all you can' etc... Is this inferring the looming WWII?

“Any Old Iron” is one of the street cries that would once have been commonly heard in urban settings such as the East End of London. Rag-and-bone men (US:junkmen) would earn a meagre living patrolling the streets collecting recyclable rubbish.

I was reminded of a 1903 US song by Arthur Collins: "Any rags, any bones, any bottles today".

Insofar as there's any patriotic references these must relate to the period before the first World War as "Any Old Iron" (the song, not Harry Champion's recording) apparently dates from 1911.

Wikipedia has an extensive entry on Harry Champion.

I must confess I'm not too keen on his galumphing style of music hall humour, nor Arthur Collins' humor either!

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