Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Over There

When I was 12 or so, my father picked up a newly released album of World War One music entitled, after the most famous American song of the war, Over There. It is now long out of print (though still occasionally available used). As is sometimes the case with highly singable songs one heard as a youth, several of these songs had been on my mind lately, and so when the breakdown of the dishwasher the other night set everyone to washing and drying dishes, I put it on and we sang along to the oddly cheerful songs inspired by one of the world's darker interludes.

"Over There", written in 1917 by George M. Cohan (I didn't like the historical versions I found on YouTube as much, so I made my own with the Feinstein rendition of the song.)

The original lyrics are as follows:

Verse 1

Johnny, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun.
Take it on the run, on the run, on the run.
Hear them calling you and me,
Every Son of Liberty.
Hurry right away, no delay, go today.
Make your Daddy glad to have had such a lad.
Tell your sweetheart not to pine,
To be proud her boy's in line.

Verse 2

Johnny, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun,
Johnny, show the "Hun" you're a son-of-a-gun.
Hoist the flag and let her fly.
Yankee Doodle do or die.
Pack your little kit, show your grit, do your bit.
Yankee to the ranks from the towns and the tanks.
Make your Mother proud of you
And the old red-white-and-blue


Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming
The drums rum-tumming everywhere.
So prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word to beware -
We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back till it's over, over there.


Anonymous said...

My family used to take part in a song and dance summer camp when we were younger. One year the theme for the whole camp was "America" and my sister's group, the 3-6 year olds, did old patriotic and war-era songs, like "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree", "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy", and "Over There". Ever since it's been a favorite of ours to sing alone with!


Anonymous said...


bearing said...

Are you familiar with Smithsonian Folkways music? It's the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution. They have a number of collections of historical popular and folk music. We have the "Revolutionary War Songs and Colonial Sea Chanties" and a Civil War collection (as well as two albums of children's songs by Woody Guthrie).

Here is a link to the historical collection: Historical Song

bearing said...

correction to title above: Colonial and Revolutionary War Sea Songs and Chanteys. This is, btw, a fantastic album.

Enbrethiliel said...


I was reading too fast, Darwin, and when I got to the line "I made my own," I clicked the play button immediately because I fancied I'd hear you singing for once. And Mrs. Darwin on the piano, of course.

Darwin said...

Heh, no. There will be no videos featuring my singing, since we try to abide by the Geneva Conventions around here.

It was just that I made by own slideshow video with the track I liked.

ACSU said...

Fantastic! Thanks for posting!