EVERY UK NUMBER ONE SONG: ‘Lay Down Your Arms’ – Anne Shelton

What was the number one song in the UK on 21st September 1956?

By Hayley Beasley Dye

English singer, Anne Shelton was at the number one slot for four weeks with Lay Down Your Arms.

A song with a heavy military theme, it gives you the image of soldiers marching home to their sweethearts. It’s very much of its time. I quite like the steady, rhythmic beat, but I’m not sure I have much of a desire to hear it again.


“Lay Down Your Arms” is a 1956 popular music song with music by Åke Gerhard and Leon Landgren and lyrics by Gerhard (original “Anne-Caroline” Swedish) and Paddy Roberts (English).

In the United States, the biggest hit version was recorded by The Chordettes, reaching No. 16 on the Billboard chart. In the United Kingdom, Forces sweetheart Anne Shelton had the major hit, reaching No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, and stayed in the Top Twenty for 14 weeks. Initially the BBC took a dim view of the song as it might have encouraged British troops to ‘lay down their guns’, at a difficult time of the post-Suez crisis and the conflict in Cyprus with EOKA. The ban was soon lifted when many requested it on “Two-Way Family Favourites”, a popular Sunday lunchtime radio show.[citation needed] Another UK version was recorded by Billie Anthony.


“Come to the station
Jump from the train
March at the double
Down lover’s lane
Then in the glen
Where the roses entwine
Lay down your arms
(Lay down your arms)
Lay down your arms
And surrender to mine
My sweetheart is a soldier
As handsome as can be
But suddenly they sent him
Away across the sea
So patiently I waited
Until his leave was due
Then wrote and said, my darling
I’ll tell you what to do
A soldier is a soldier
And when he’s on parade
An order is an order
And has to be obeyed
You’ve got to do your duty
Wherever you may be
And now you’re under orders
To hurry home to me
The girl who loves a soldier
Is either sad or gay
‘Cause first of all he’s with her
And then he’s far away
But soldiers have their duty
To answer to the call
And that is why I’m calling
The loudest of them all
Lay down your arms
And surrender to mine
Lay down your arms
And surrender to mine
Lay down your arms
And surrender to mine
Lay down your arms
And surrender to mine”

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Every UK Number One Song

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