Rum and Coca-Cola

"Rum and Coca-Cola" is a popular calypso song composed by Lionel Belasco with lyrics by Lord Invader.


Rum and Coca-Cola (WORD)
Rum and Coca-Cola (PDF)

To play along with the first video in GCEA tuning, put your capo on the 3rd fret!

The song became a local hit and was at the peak of its popularity when comedian Morey Amsterdam visited the island in September 1943 as part of a U.S.O. tour. Although he subsequently claimed never to have heard the song during the month he spent on the island, the lyrics to his version are clearly based on the Lord Invader version, with the music and chorus being virtually identical. The song was copyrighted in the United States by Amsterdam. However, Amsterdam's version strips the song of its social commentary. The Lord Invader version laments that U.S. soldiers are debauching local women, who "saw that the Yankees treat them nice / and they give them a better price." Its final stanza describes a newlywed couple whose marriage is ruined when "the bride run away with a soldier lad / and the stupid husband went staring mad." The Amsterdam version also hints that women are prostituting themselves, preserving the Lord Invader chorus which says, "Both mother and daughter / Working for the Yankee dollar."In 1948, after years of litigation, both plaintiffs won their cases, with Lord Invader receiving an award of $150,000 in owed royalties. However, Morey Amsterdam was allowed to retain copyright to the song.

The song became a hit in 1945 for the Andrews Sisters, spending ten weeks at the top the Billboard Pop Singles chart. Lots of interesting history to be found about this song on the internet. Despite the song's popularity, it was controversial and was banned by network radio stations because it mentioned an alcoholic beverage. The fact that it mentioned a commercial product by name also meant that it could be construed as free advertising when broadcast. In the "Songs That Won The War Vol. 8 Swing Again, Yes Indeed!" CD program notes, Edward Habib writes that "'Rum And Coca Cola' has naughty lyrics but not quite naughty enough to deny its hit status...."

After the release of the Andrews Sisters' version of "Rum and Coca-Cola", Belasco and Lord Invader sued for copyright infringement of the song's music and lyrics, respectively.

****REVISED December 24, 2020 - SR****

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