“The Belle of Chicago” (1892)
Sousa was soundly criticized for this march, which he composed as a salute to the ladies of Chicago. Among the protests made by Chicago newsmen were these:
“Mr. Sousa evidently regards the Chicago belle as a powerful creature, with the swinging stride of a giant, a voice like a foghorn, and feet like sugar-cured hams.”
“The maiden who inspired it would seem to be...a giantess...whose motto...might have been ‘I will make a noise.’” “Mr. Sousa has made his Chicago belle a strappling kitchen wench....”
The march outlived its criticism and is probably more popular overseas than it is in the United States.
Paul E. Bierley, The Works of John Philip Sousa (Westerville, Ohio: Integrity Press, 1984), 43. Used by permission.