Our country needs a pick-me-up song right now, and I think I’ve found it. It’s Judy Garland‘s version of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” done on her 1960s TV variety show in order to inspire a distraught nation after the assassination of JFK. We’ve been shot in the groin lately by economics and other crises and we need to hear the ultimate gay icon elevate us with her stirring song of survival once more.
According to Mel Torme‘s book, The Other Side of the Rainbow With Judy Garland on the Dawn Patrol, Judy insisted on doing the song in the wake of the devastation caused by her Presidential pal’s cold-blooded murder. Mel said her performance was “uneven musically, imperfect technically,” but it didn’t matter in the least because Judy nailed the song’s passion with her radioactive genius. As he wrote, “The emotion in the studio was purer than Ivory soap. The audience rose in a body and gave her the most genuine standing ovation I have ever witnessed.”
Her truth is marching on.