Music: Now Is the Hour

Everybody else was singing it before Americans even heard of it. It began 35 years ago as the Swiss Cradle Song, written by an Australian. Then a Maori woman who liked the tune made up some words to go with it, sang it at a Maori festival. The natives picked it up; so did white New Zealanders who mistakenly thought it an old Maori folksong.

Then England's Gracie Fields got hold of it. By now it had new lyrics and a new title: Now Is the Hour. Her brassy-voiced music-hall record of the catchy, draggy tune has been No. 1 on England's...

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