Music: Eric Bogle

Eric Bogle is a folk singer-songwriter. He was born in Peebles, Scotland in 1944 and emigrated to Australia in 1969. He currently resides near Adelaide, South Australia.

Bogle's songs cover a wide range of subjects and themes, including comedic songs (e.g. "The Aussie Bar-B-Q"), satires (e.g. "I Hate Wogs"), protest songs and serious songs about the human condition such as "Now I'm Easy". His most famous songs are "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda", written in 1971, which tells of the ANZAC experience fighting in the Battle of Gallipoli, and "No Man's Land", which is also World War I-themed. "No Man's Land" is commonly known as "The Green Fields of France", a title it was first given by The Fureys, and which has subsequently been used in many further cover versions.

Many of Bogle's songs have been covered by other artists; including John Schumann, June Tabor, The Men They Couldn't Hang, The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, John McDermott, Liam Clancy, Mike Harding, The Pogues, Robert Lawrence, De Dannan, Dropkick Murphys, The Corries, Billy Bragg, The Bushwackers, Slim Dusty and John Williamson.

Tropes used in Eric Bogle's work include:

  • The Alleged Car: The kombi van in "Eric and the Informers"
  • Anti-Christmas Song: "Santa Bloody Claus"
  • An Arm and a Leg: In "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda", the narrator loses his legs in World War I.
    For I'll go no more waltzing Matilda,
    All around the green bush far and free
    To hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs
    No more waltzing Matilda for me.
  • Berserk Button: "Do You Sing Any Dylan?"
  • Crapsack Only by Comparison: "Beam Me Up, Scotty" declares "I'm stuck here in a place I do not care for" and "There must be intelligent life out there, I hope so, there's not much down here."
  • Dear Negative Reader: Parodied in "Bloody Rotten Audience"
  • Department of Child Disservices: "Daniel Smiling"
  • Embarrassing Nickname: According to "Introduction Song", the members of the band's nicknames are 'Wee Short-Arse' (Eric), 'Garbage Guts' (Brent) and 'Old Dogs Balls' (Andy).
  • Fate Worse Than Death: In "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda", the narrator regards losing his leg as this.
    Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head,
    And when I woke up in my hospital bed,
    And saw what it had done, well I wished I was dead.
    Never knew there was worse things than dyin'.
  • Filk Song: "Beam Me Up, Scotty!"
  • Food Songs Are Funny: "Aussie Bar-B-Q" and "Great Aussie Take-Away"
  • Friendly Address Privileges: Bogle traditionally introduces himself in song at the start of a concert. One of the introduction songs goes:
    My name is Eric, some folk call me Eck,
    Call me Ricky and I'll break your neck,
    If you're feeling formal, Mr Bogle will do,
    But to my friends it's Eric, and I hope that means you.
  • Gratuitous French / Gratuitous German: "Flying Finger Filler"
  • Heavy Meta:
    • "Do You Sing Any Dylan?", about the request a singer-songwriter doesn't want to hear.
    • "Plastic Paddy" about mock-Irish folk songs, done in the style of a mock-Irish folk song.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: "Goodbye Lucky Country":
    The beer still tastes like glue
    • "The Aussie Bar-B-Q"
    Where the snagsnote  all taste like fried toothpaste
  • Kill the Poor: "Mirrors" is about death squads of policemen being paid by businessmen to kill the street kids of Rio's slums.
  • Mystery Meat: "The Great Aussie Takeaway"
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: "Do You Know Any Dylan?" has him react to the titular question
    And I usually reply
    In my own quiet way
    With a totally indecent suggestion
  • No Intelligent Life Here: Bogle uses the joke in his song "Beam Me Up Scotty":
    There must be intelligent life out there, I hope so, there’s not much down here
  • Nostalgic Narrator:
    • "Eric and the Informers" is Eric musically reminiscing about his first ever band (and how bad they were).
    • "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" is told from the point of view of a World War One veteran looking back on their service.
  • Out with a Bang: "Little Gomez" is about a randy Chihuahua that is crushed to death while attempting to consumate a liaison with a Saint Bernard.
  • The Real Heroes: "Our National Pride" was written after a group of volunteer firefighters were killed battling a bushfire in Victoria. It is all about how these people, and not athletes, deserve to be called heroes.
  • Refrain from Assuming: "No Man's Land" is sometimes known as (and has been recorded under) the alternate title "Green Fields of France". Some people, however, refer to the song as "Willie McBride" (the name of the dead soldier to whom the song is addressed).
  • Right Wing Militia Fanatic: "Keeper of the Flame"
  • Roguish Poacher: "Poachers Moon" is about the traditional Scottish pastime of poaching salmon from the laird's stream.
  • Singer Name Drop: Eric introduces himself in song at the start of his concerts. One version goes:
    My name is Eric, some folk call me Eck,
    If you're feeling formal, Mr Bogle will do,
    But to my friends it's Eric, and I hope that means you.
  • Something Blues: "Short White Blues"
  • Sophisticated as Hell: "Introduction Song"
    Well I wrote all the songs for tonight's extravaganza,
    So there's a touch of class in every line of every stanza.
    When I'm not writing songs, I hang around doing bugger all
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion
    • "Plastic Paddy":
    "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" and "The Mountains of Mourne"
    In his search for Celtic chiché, the man has left no stone unturned
    'Til he embarks upon the harp that once through terraced halls
    Accompanying himself on the Bodhrán, which takes a lot of... courage.
    • "World Cup Fever":
    And when some stupid damn committee gave the match to Melbourne City
    Though it made us all feel quite... annoyed, we didn't cause a fuss.
  • Thrifty Scot: Eric often uses this stereotype about himself, usually at the expense of other band members.
  • Troubled Abuser: Discussed in "Daniel Smiling".
  • The Troubles: "My Youngest Son Came Home Today"
  • The Unintelligible: "Do You Sing Any Dylan?"
  • Uranus Is Showing: "Eric and the Informers"
    "She looked like she came from outer space; from Mars, or maybe Uranus"
  • Violent Glaswegian: Eric, who was born in Peebles, does not shy away from his Scottish heritage, and has used this stereoyoe for songs both comic (e.g. "English Arse Kissing Blues") and serious (e.g. "Glasgow Lullaby").
  • War Is Hell: The theme of "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" and "No Man's Land".
  • Was It Really Worth It?: "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda", "No Man's Land"
  • World War One: "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", "No Man's Land"