Philippines in American Popular Music

American popular music is no stranger to war propaganda and to political influence, so when political forces started consolidating around anti-Spanish sentiment in the 1880s and 1890s, popular music composers and publishers joined in. The Spanish American War began in 1898, and at issue was first Cuba and then eventually (with the Philippine Revolution), the Philippines. Music publishers didn’t miss a beat and popular music about the Philippines from this era reveals the kind of romanticism that works to shore up interventionist efforts. Two songs, both published in San Francisco, are representative of this moment: “The Belle of Manila” (1898), which is below, and “My Philippino Lady” (1899), which was published by the San Francisco Examiner and included in the paper’s special Sunday Supplement. Miss Georgia Cooper at the Tivoli Opera House in San Francisco sang it.

The full musical score is available at the San Francisco Public Library, in the Sheet Music Collection.