From the musical Best Foot Forward
Lucile Ball, Andrews Sisters, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman
Buckle down, Winsocki, Buckle down You can win, Winsocki if you knuckle down If you break their necks, If you make
them wrecks You can break the hex, So buckle down,
Make 'em yell Winsocki, make 'em yell.
You can win, Winsocki, If you give 'em
hell It you don't give in take it on the chin You are bound to win, it you will only
If you fight you'll chuckle at defeat. If you fight your luck'll not retreat
(Shout) Knuckle down Winsocki, Knuckle down. You can win, Winsocki If you buckle down If you mow them down If you go to town You can wear the crown If you will only buckle down.
By Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin,
who also wrote The Boy Next Door,
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,
Meet Me In St. Louis, My Blue Heaven and The Trolley Song.
Songwriters Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane's first work, the Broadway musical
+Best Foot Forward, opened on October 1, 1941, and ran a successful 326 performances.
The show concerned a prep school called Winsocki where a student invites a
Hollywood movie star to be his prom date, and she surprisingly accepts. The
score featured the hit "Buckle Down, Winsocki," and the cast included soon-to-be
stars June Allyson and Nancy Walker, both of whom re-created their performances
in the 1943 film version starring Lucille Ball. The 1963 off-Broadway revival
heard on this recording probably wouldn't have made it onto wax if the producers
had not cast a teenage Liza Minnelli in a featured role, making her professional
debut. Martin and Blane had written the songs for Meet Me in St. Louis, the
film starring Minnelli's mother, Judy Garland, and directed by her father,
Vincente Minnelli, and Martin had worked for Garland thereafter, so the casting
was no surprise. The surprise was that young Minnelli was so good. She was
heard in ensembles in "The Three B's," "What Do You Think I Am?," and "Just
a Little Joint With a Juke Box," and had a solo on "You Are for Loving,"
and her voice was already as distinctive as her engaging comic personality.
Nominally speaking, Paula Wayne, playing Hollywood star Joy Gale, had the
leading role, but she was outshone by Minnelli, who remains the reason to
listen to this barebones version of the score, played on only two pianos
(though a certain Ronald -- later known as Christopher Walken, is also featured
in "Buckle Down Winsocki"). The 2001 CD reissue on Varèse Sarabande
adds both sides of Minnelli's debut Cadence Records single containing pop
versions of "You Are for Loving" and "What Do You Think I Am?," the start
of her recording career. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide
Trivia note: ever wonder how they came up with "Winsocki" as the name for
the prep school featured in "Best Foot Forward"? Legend has it that when the
Broadway version of the musical was being prepared in 1941, the school was
given the working name, "Tioga." But co-producers George Abbott and Richard
Rodgers knew that would never work. "What we need," said Abbott, "is a name
that has something to do with winning and has a lot of sock in it." "That's
it!" replied Rodgers. "Winsocki." "Buckle Down Winsocki," the school's fight
song, quickly became a stand-alone pop hit.
Lucille Ball starred in the college movie musical Best Foot Forward, but her singing was
dubbed by Gloria Grafton.
The song was first used in Presidential Campaigns in the 1948 Truman/Dewey
race when a third party candidate, Henry Wallace, used the song as "We Can
Win With Wallace". Twelve years later, Richard Nixon used it while running
against John F Kennedy as "Buckle Down With Nixon".