Florence Hayes
Canadian Music Encyclopedy

'You'll Get Used to It'. World War II song in quick-march tempo, written in 1940 by Freddie Grant (Fritz Grundland) about life in a camp for German and Austrian nationals (many of whom were refugees) in England (Huyton Camp) during the hostilities. It appeared first in the November 1941 issue of Stackeldraht (sic), the newspaper published in the internment camp at Farnham, Que, to which Grant had been transferred. A version with modified lyrics credited to Gordon Victor (a pseudonym for the song's commercial publisher, Gordon V. Thompson) was popular as a morale booster during the war, and the title became a catch phrase among the allied forces. This version was sung frequently by the Happy Gang, recorded by Wilf Carter and in the 1960s by the Al Baculis Singers, and appeared in the folio Sing With Gracie Fields (Robbins). In Canada the song was a show stopper as sung by John Pratt to his own lyrics in the musical Meet the Navy. Pratt also performed his version in the English movie of the show (This Is the Navy) and on a Victor recording.

«You'll Get Used to It ». Chanson de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, sur un rythme de pas redoublé, écrite en Angleterre (Camp de Huyton) en 1940 par Freddie Grant (Fritz Grundland), et traitant de la vie dans un des camps de ressortissants ou réfugiés allemands et autrichiens tels qu'ils existaient en Angleterre et au Canada durant les hostilités. Elle parut d'abord dans le numéro du 14 novembre 1941 de Stackeldraht [sic], un journal publié à Farnham, Québec, dans le camp où Grant avait été déplacé. Une version avec des paroles différentes, attribuée à Gordon Victor (pseudonyme de Gordon V. Thompson, éditeur commercial de la chanson), fut populaire comme soutien du moral durant la guerre et son titre devint un slogan au sein des forces alliées. Cette version fut chantée fréquemment par The Happy Gang, enregistrée par Wilf Carter et, au cours des années 1960, par les Al Baculis Singers. Elle parut dans le recueil Sing With Gracie Fields (Robbins). Chantée au Canada par John Pratt sur ses propres paroles dans la comédie musicale Meet the Navy, la chanson était toujours bissée. Pratt interpréta également sa version dans le film anglais de la revue (This Is the Navy) et sur un disque Victor.

Tu vas t’y faire You'll Get Used to It
Tu vas t’y faire,
Tu vas t’y faire
La première année est la pire,
Mais tu vas t’y faire
Tu peux crier, tu peux hurler,
Ils ne vont pas te libérer
Bien fait pour toi, Monsieur Un Tel,
Que n’es-tu pas naturalisé Esquimau ?
You’ll get used to it,
You’ll get used to it
The first year is the worst year,
Then you’ll get used to it
You can scream and you can shout,
They’ll never let you out
It serves you right, you So and So,
Why weren’t you naturalized Eskimo?
  Refrain   Refrain
  Dis-toi juste que c’est merveilleux,
Que tu vas aimer ça de plus en plus
Il faut bien que tu t’y fasses
Et quand tu t’y seras fait
Tu te sentiras aussi misérable qu’avant.
  Just tell yourself, it’s marvellous,
You’ll get to like it more and more
You’ve got to get used to it!,
And when you got used to it
You feel just as lousy as you felt before.
Tu vas t’y faire,
Tu vas t’y faire
La première année est la pire,
Mais tu vas t’y faire
Ta femme, tu ne la verras pas
Ils t’ont bouclé à vie
Peu importe qui tu sois
Bistrotier ou vedette de cinéma
You’ll get used to it,
You’ll get used to it
The first year is the worst year,
Then you’ll get used to it
You will never see your wife,
For they locked you in for life
It makes no difference who you are
A soda jerk or movie star

Tony Atherton
An alien anthem? You'll get used to it

Published: Friday, June 22, 2007, The Ottawa Citizen

The biggest Canadian hit (You'll Get Used to It) of the Second World War was composed by an "enemy alien" named Fritz Grundland. He first performed the song for his fellow internees at a detention camp in Farnham, Que., soon after being deported from Huyton Camp (England) in 1940.
You'll Get Used to It
was a good-natured gripe about life in an internment camp, but with slightly different lyrics, it became the theme song of a nation beleaguered by war.
A dozen years after his forced emigration and uncongenial welcome, the composer, rechristened Freddy Grant, wrote a song expressing such passionate delight in his adopted homeland, it is still being sung with gusto in school classrooms and at patriotic concerts more than half a century later.
"My country is my cathedral The northern sky its dome, They all call it Canada, But I call it home." After the war, They All Call It Canada came as close as any song to unseating The Maple Leaf For Ever as the unofficial back-up to O Canada. Today, this invigorating march still has a lot going for it, anthem-wise Its tune is engaging and punchy. Its lyrics embrace the whole nation ("From the Atlantic/To the Pacific/From the pole to the USA") and express our fondest wish ("We're one united brotherhood/And united we will stay").
It has six four-line verses, but the whole thing can easily be sung in a minute and 45 seconds, which is not much longer than the 1:32 it takes to sing O Canada. Alternately, the first eight lines, a pounding introduction that begins "Side by side and step by step/Our fathers were marching along," could be cut to create an anthem that would weigh in at a compact 1:05.
Its biggest drawback is a lack of French lyrics. But then, O Canada was once a French-only song. A competition for French lyrics might be the perfect way to reintroduce They All Call It Canada to the nation.
The story behind the song is at least as compelling as the song itself. Fritz Grundland was born in Berlin in 1913 and studied piano and music theory there until he was accepted at the London School of Music at 21. It was a good time to get out of Germany; that year, Hitler became chancellor and the Nazis opened their first concentration camp, Dachau.
In England, far from the dark cloud rising over his homeland, young Grundland became part of the lively musical theatre scene, composing songs for the likes of Gracie Fields and Jessie Matthews. One song he co-wrote during this period, How Can You Buy Kilarney?, was later recorded by Bing Crosby and is now one of the standards in the huge canon of sentimental Irish ballads.
Given the times, he thought it wise to anglicize his name. Fritz soon became Freddy and Grundland later gave way to Grant.
But he was still a German national, and when war was declared in 1939, he, like other Germans in England (including a number of recent German-Jewish refugees), was automatically suspect. Grant and hundreds of others were rounded up and put in temporary camps until detention centres could be made ready in Canada.
Grant was sent to the camp in Farnham, one of five along the south shore of the St. Lawrence. Among those who shared his fate was a clever 17-year-old named Gregory Baum, later renowned as a Roman Catholic theologian and professor of religious studies at the University of Toronto.
In his memoir, Deemed Suspect: A Wartime Blunder, fellow internee Eric Koch writes that soon after Grant arrived at the camp he put together a musical revue that featured his song You'll Get Used To It, a quick-march with clever lyrics: "You'll get used to it, You'll get used to it.
The first year is the worst year Then you get used to it You can scream and you can shout But they'll never let you out It serves you right you so-and-so, Why aren't you a naturalized Eskimo" It was an instant hit among the detainees and their guards, and somehow caught the attention of John Pratt, an architect-turned-comedian who used a slightly revised version of the song in his wartime revue, The Tin Hat Show.
Pratt brought the song with him when he joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1942 to participate in that force's phenomenally successful musical theatre production Meet The Navy.
The show toured across Canada and Britain, and followed the advancing troops to play in France, Belgium and Holland before being made into a movie in 1946.
In every incarnation, the show-stopper was Freddy Grant's You'll Get Used to it.
Meanwhile, the song was performed regularly on CBC radio's enormously popular series, The Happy Gang, lifting the spirits of Canadians throughout the war.
Grant wrote a number of other patriotic songs during the war years (notably I Want a Share in My Country), but it wasn't until 1952 with They All Call It Canada that he touched his adopted homeland as he had with You'll Get Used to It. The song can still quicken the pulse among those of a certain age.
If this song makes you want to stand up and salute, you can vote for it at ottawacitizen.com. If not, you can vote for O Canada, one of several other patriotic songs we're featuring in this series, or for your own favourite Canadian flag-waver.
Results of the poll will be released Canada Day weekend.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2007

Meet the Navy. Revue musicale de la MRC créée durant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale sous la supervision du capitaine Joseph P. Connolly, dir. des Services spéciaux de la MRC. Les répétitions débutèrent en juin 1943 à la Hart House à Toronto. Le personnel de direction et la troupe furent officiellement reconnus - plus ou moins après coup - par un arrêté-en-conseil du Conseil du Trésor du gouvernement du Canada le 13 août 1943, comme « un établissement connu sous le nom de <The Navy Show> pour le... divertissement du personnel en service actif de la Marine, de l'Armée et de l'Aviation; la promotion du recrutement; [et] le maintien du moral et de la bonne volonté du public ». Le spectacle lui-même, appelé Meet the Navy et dirigé par Louis Silver (un producteur de Hollywood) et Larry Ceballos (un chorégraphe de Broadway), fut créé pour les troupes le 2 septembre, au théâtre Victoria de Toronto, et ouvert au public le 4 septembre. Il prit l'affiche à Ottawa, au théâtre Capitol, le 15 septembre. Au cours d'une tournée nationale d'un an, la troupe parcourut quelque 16 000 km en chemin de fer et Meet the Navy amusa environ un demi-million de Canadiens. La revue se rendit en 1944 en Grande-Bretagne, débutant le 23 octobre à Glasgow et effectuant ensuite une tournée en Angleterre (11 villes de province), en Irlande et au Pays de Galles. Elle fut présentée à l'Hippodrome de Londres (1er février-7 avril 1945, dont une représentation commandée par le souverain le 28 février). Des représentations suivirent au théâtre Marigny à Paris, au Music-Hall à Bruxelles et au théâtre Carré d'Amsterdam. Meet the Navy prit fin le 12 septembre à Oldenbourg, en Allemagne occupée. L'ONF réalisa le film Meet the Navy On Tour (1945). Bien que le projet d'une série de représentations à Broadway ait échoué, le spectacle lui-même fut filmé en novembre en Grande-Bretagne.

Meet the Navy incluait des sketches satiriques, des numéros de danse et de nombreuses chansons : « In Your Little Chapeau », « Rockettes and the Wrens », « Brothers-in-Arms », « Meet the Navy » et « Beauty on Duty », toutes de R.W. Harwood pour les paroles et P.E. Quinn pour la musique; « The Boys in the Bellbottom Trousers » de Quinn; « Shore Leave » de Noel Langley et Henry Sherman (paroles) et Quinn; et le plus grand succès (chanté par John Pratt), « You'll Get Used to It », paroles de Pratt et musique de Freddy Grant. Eric Wild (qui dirigeait l'orchestre) et Robert Russell Bennett étaient les auteurs des arrangements. Les rôles principaux étaient tenus par Pratt, Robert Goodier, Cameron Grant et Lionel Merton. D'autres participants importants furent Dixie Dean, Ivan Romanoff (qui dirigeait un orchestre de balalaïkas et un choeur dans « Scena Russki »), Carl Tapscott (qui fit les arrangements des choeurs), la basse Oscar Natzke et le couple de danseurs Alan et Blanche Lund. Les violonistes Victor Feldbrill, Bill Richards et Joseph Sera, le tromboniste Ted Elfstrom et le saxophoniste et clarinettiste Howard « Cokie » Campbell se trouvaient au nombre des 25 instrumentistes composant l'orchestre. Après la première à Londres de Meet the Navy, Beverley Baxter écrivit dans le London Evening Standard : « Pourquoi ce spectacle est-il si vivifiant, si totalement satisfaisant, et, puisque la grande qualité soulève toujours les émotions, pourquoi était-ce si prenant? La réponse est peut-être qu'en plus de l'habileté tout à fait professionnelle et le rythme vertigineux du spectacle entier, nous voyions l'histoire même du Canada se dérouler sous nos yeux sans que nous nous en rendions compte. » En 1980, le gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Écosse fit revivre Meet the Navy avec plusieurs membres de la distribution originale, afin de célébrer les 70 ans de la Marine canadienne.

Meet the Navy. Royal Canadian Navy musical revue produced during World War II under the supervision of Capt Joseph P. Connolly, director of Special Services for the RCN. Rehearsals began in June 1943 at Hart House in Toronto. The production staff and company were recognized officially, though somewhat after the fact, by a Government of Canada Treasury Board order-in-council, 13 Aug 1943, as 'an Establishment to be known as "The Navy Show" for the... Entertainment of Naval, Army and Air Force personnel on Active Service; Promotion of recruiting; [and] Maintenance of public morale and goodwill'.

The show itself, called Meet the Navy and directed by Louis Silver (a Hollywood producer) and Larry Ceballos (a Broadway choreographer), was premiered for servicemen 2 September at Toronto's Victoria Theatre and opened to the public 4 September. It opened in Ottawa 15 September at the Capitol Theatre (Ottawa). During a year-long national tour, which covered some 10,000 miles by train, Meet the Navy entertained about a half-million Canadians. It travelled in 1944 to Britain, opening 23 October in Glasgow and touring England (11 cities in the provinces), Ireland, and Wales and playing at the Hippodrome in London (1 Feb-7 Apr 1945, including a command performance 28 February). Performances followed in Paris' Théâtre Marigny, the Brussels Music Hall, and Amsterdam's Carré Theatre. Meet the Navy closed 12 September in Oldenburg in occupied Germany. In 1945 the NFB produced the film Meet the Navy on Tour. Though plans for a Broadway run fell through, the show itself was filmed in November in Britain.

Meet the Navy included skits, dance routines, and several songs: 'In Your Little Chapeau,' 'Rockettes and the Wrens,' 'Brothers-in-Arms,' 'Meet the Navy,' and 'Beauty on Duty,' all by R.W. Harwood (words) and P.E. Quinn (music); 'The Boys in the Bellbottom Trousers' by Quinn; 'Shore Leave' by Noel Langley and Henry Sherman (words) and Quinn; and the showstopper (sung by John Pratt) 'You'll Get Used to It', with words by Pratt to music by Freddy Grant. Eric Wild (who conducted the pit orchestra) and Robert Russell Bennett arranged the music.

Leading roles were taken by Pratt, Robert Goodier, Cameron Grant, and Lionel Merton. Other featured performers included Dixie Dean, Ivan Romanoff (who conducted a balalaika orchestra and a chorus in 'Scena Russki'), Carl Tapscott (who did choral arrangements), the bass Oscar Natzke, and the dance team Alan and Blanche Lund. Members of the 25-piece orchestra included the violinists Victor Feldbrill, Bill Richards, and Joseph Sera, the trombonist Ted Elfstrom, and the saxophonist-clarinetist Howard 'Cokie' Campbell.

After the London debut of Meet the Navy, Beverley Baxter wrote in the London Evening Standard: 'Why is this piece so exhilarating, so completely satisfying and, since the first class always touches the emotions, why was it so stirring? Perhaps the answer is that quite outside the professional slickness and the terrific pace of the whole thing, we were seeing the story of Canada unconsciously unfolding itself to our eyes'.

In 1980, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Canadian navy, the Nova Scotia government revived Meet the Navy with several members of the original cast.