According to Wikipedia, Anchors Aweigh was first played during the Army–Navy football game on December 1, 1906, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Before a crowd in excess of 30,000 Navy won the game 10–0, their first win in the match up since 1900.
The song was gradually adopted as the song of the U.S. Navy; although there is a pending proposal to make it the official song, and to incorporate protocol into Navy regulations for its performance, its status remains unofficial.
As part of the date of the first playing, we pay recognition to the Band aboard the NORTH CAROLINA. This is part 2 of 2 of the Band Series.
“The Crinoline Lady has a band that is already receiving favorable mention in service music circles. Almost complete now the 20 piece organization gives out several times a day and is well received. The applause is accepted with a gracious bow by Bandmaster Raymond A. Ruther, who came in the service in 1923 as a musician 2/c. His instrument is the trumpet. As usual in navy bands, the lads double as an orchestra, which is really getting good. While not setting themselves us as composers, they have written a little dish which is tentatively called “Bounce in B Flat” for want of a better name. Your reporter listened to it and it really sizzles. They are also working on a “North Carolina March.” Right now they need a theme song which will serve to identify the orchestra at dances, also a suitable name for that organization.”
Tarheel, May 31, 1941
“Dinner in the wardroom would become by our standards then a rather festive occasion. A combo from the ship’s band comprising four or five men, a bass fiddle, a pianist etc. would come up and play dinner music. Popular music of the day was played all through the dinner, so it was kind of like a nightclub.”
Capt. Ben Blee, USN (Ret)
“Congratulations to the entire band for the splendid work they’ve done in making these long periods at sea more pleasant with the daily concerts. We are for them all the way, and by the crowd that gathers on the main deck aft every afternoon one can measure our appreciation of their efforts.”
Tarheel, August 1, 1942
“A vote of appreciation from the F Division to the swinging, jumping jive section of the Ship’s Band, which has done so much to keep the crew happy during our long days at sea. It’s worth the price of admission just to sit by “Hep Cat” Roberts, and to watch “Curley” Martineau go into his trance when “Smitty” of the band takes off on his horn; or to see such an artist as the man who so fleetingly interpreted the Dance of the Wilted Rag in the shade of Turret #3 one evening.”
Tarheel, October 10, 1942
“Today peace was declared. Band played “Star Spangled Banner” from the boat deck as Old Glory was raised.”
Lloyd Glick, Musician 1/c
“Band #101 was organized at the Navy School of Music, Washington DC in June 1945, and assigned to BB55. The band originally consisted of 23 bandsmen under the direction of CPO Lakin. We reached BB55 in mid August 1945. When not at General Quarters or taking classes for damage control, the band played noon concerts in the mess halls, did some singing for church services, broke into small combos to play for the officers in their wardroom. When the refueling went on, the band played top side. The Brits were always cheered when we played the “Beer Barrel Polka.” In the middle of 1946, the ship was moved to Bayonne, NJ, and on February 15 Band #101 was broken up.”